My very favorite "kids" activity at an art fair happened yesterday in State College, PA, at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, the Children and Youth Sidewalk Sale. At the CPFA 150 young people, from 8 to 18, compete, jury in and sell their own artwork, just like the big kids festival that runs the next four days.

I've heard executive director Rick Bryant's presentation on the event at a conference and it is such a model of involving children and a sense of "buying in" of the community to embrace the festival that it astounds me that more art fairs have not borrowed the concept.

Kirstin Floria who is now an exhibiting artist in the event had this to say of her seven year experience participating in the kids show: “I loved it,” she said. “Arts Fest is so important to my family. Instead of taking vacations, we would just go to Arts Fest every year. It was always a whole celebration for us.”

Here's the story from the Centre Daily Times:

Does anyone know of any other stellar programs to get kids and families involved in the arts at other festivals?

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  • Love it!

  • These are all nice activities, and, of course, we want it to be about the art, but this Youth Day at State College is such a useful learning experience for the youthful artists. Okay, I've decided. I'm going to the CPFA next year.

  • The Windsor, CO 2011 show had grade school kids' art worked played at the artists' reception and it was impressive. I think they also gave the kids awards. Nice to see that some schools are maintaining instead of cutting art classes.
  • The Stockley Gardens art shows, in Norfolk, VA, always have some type of childrens activity.  It is usually art related.  The Ocean View Art Show, also in Norfolk, has a student tent for high school and middle school students to display and sell their art.  There is some judging and awards given.  The proceeds from the Ocean View Art Show also go to an Artist Scholarship Fund, for high school students that have been accepted into college to study art. 

    Either the Neptune Festival or Boardwalk Art Show (or both), in Virginia Beach, has a student display.  They don't supply a tent so last year the student work was hung outside with clear plastic covering the work. 

    Having a special day at the Central PA show sounds great. 

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