Annual Festival of the Arts kicks off on Friday

Sonya Grenell (right), of Lighttouch Tattoo, begins work on a floral design she created during the 2018 Festival of the Arts. This year, the festival begins on Friday, Feb. 1. Booklets with the full schedule and registration information can be found at Artworks, the Big Rapids Community Library and various businesses in the downtown area. (Pioneer file photos)

BIG RAPIDS — Each year in February, the city of Big Rapids transforms into a hotspot of entertainment during the Festival of the Arts (FOTA). During this month-long event, Big Rapids community members and visitors can find daily activities, performances, workshops and more.

“The festival has really become a time when all the groups in town think about what they will do to participate and it gives us an opportunity to show off our downtown,” said Roxanne Cullen, FOTA board member. “It showcases the talent we have here in town in so many areas and gives us an opportunity to work with Ferris State University, and that has worked out beautifully.”

The festival originally began as a Ferris program and is now hosted by a board of volunteers who work to include a little something for everyone each year, Cullen said.

“We encourage people to go to things they normally wouldn’t go to,” she said. “Use this as an opportunity to explore new things.

“Some people see the calendar of events as a challenge and go to as many events as they can, even something they wouldn’t have gone to before.”

Cullen said this array of events can be found in the FOTA booklets, which are available at Artworks, the Big Rapids Community Library and many of the businesses located downtown. She also noted many of the events are free of charge, but may have specific registration information, which can be found in the booklets.

Along with the various events listed on the February calendar, there are five exhibits on display.

Merizon: A Mixed Metaphor will be part of the Artworks Painted Turtle Gallery from Jan. 25 through Feb. 28; Joyful Art: Globetrekkers will adorn the walls of the Artworks Chemical Bank Lower Gallery through Feb. 22; and after the Joyful Art exhibit will be Art Attack 2019, which will be on display Feb. 26 through March 21 in the lower gallery.

Also exhibited in town will be Hateful Things, from Feb. 1 to Feb. 28, at Ferris’ Fine Arts Gallery; and Pregnancy – A Photographic Exhibit will be on display, from Feb. 1 to Feb. 28, at Chemical Bank.

This year’s schedule includes:

Friday, Feb. 1

• World Read Aloud Day — 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Big Rapids Community Library, 426. S. Michigan Ave.

• Brown Bag Lunch: Muriel Zandstra: Merizon: A Mixed Metaphor — noon at Artworks, 106 N. Michigan Ave.

• An Evening of Ragtime Piano with Peter Bergin — 7 p.m. at Fellowship Christian Reformed Church, 407 Perry Ave.

• “Us and Them” — 7:30 p.m. at the Big Rapids High School auditorium, 21175 15 Mile Road. Tickets for this performance are $5 for adults and $3 for students at the door.

Saturday, Feb. 2

• Crossroads Charter Academy band presents pre-district concert and clinic — 9 a.m. at the CCA elementary auditorium, 215 W. Spruce St.

• Wee Wonders: Bountiful and Beautiful Books Abound — 10 a.m. at the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety building, 435 N. Michigan Ave.

• Artworks Kids: Play with Clay — 10 a.m. at Artworks’ pottery studio.

• Quilts of Valor National Sew Day — 10 a.m. at the Old Jail, 220 S. Stewart Ave.

A participant of a henna workshop draws a flower design on her hand during a previous Festival of the Arts. This year, festival-goers can expect a little something for everyone, from robots to musical and theater performances and more.

• Legos to Robots: Becoming a Master Builder — 1 p.m. at Ferris’ Granger Center Atrium, 605 S. Warren Ave.

• Motion Meditation — 1 p.m. at Red Fox Market, 112 S. Michigan Ave.

• “Us and Them” — 2:30 p.m. at the BRHS auditorium. Tickets for this performance are $5 for adults and $3 for students at the door.

• Western Michigan University’s Gold Company — 7 p.m. at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 408 W. Bellevue Ave.

Sunday, Feb. 3

• Music Therapy at End of Life — 1 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 726 Fuller Ave.

• An Afternoon with Edgar Allen Poe — 4 p.m. at the CCA elementary auditorium.

Monday, Feb. 4

• The Art of Pie Baking — 6:30 p.m. at Three Girls Bakery, 106 N. Michigan Ave. There is a $25 fee for this class.

• Michigan Rediscovered — 7 p.m. at the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety building.

Tuesday, Feb. 5

• Harmonicas in Class — 9 a.m. at Artworks.

• Knitting Workshop: Show and Tell — 2 p.m. at United Church of Big Rapids, 120 S. State St.

• Comic Workshops: Introduction to Manga — 3:30 p.m. at Big Rapids Community Library.

• Introductory Welding for Artists — 6 p.m. at Ferris’ Swann welding lab room 116, 915 Campus Drive. There is a $30 fee for this event.

• The Art of Radio Broadcasting — 7 p.m. at Three Girls Bakery.

Wednesday, Feb. 6

• Third Coast Conversations — noon at Artworks.

• Virtual Tour of the Uffizi Gallery — 7 p.m. at Big Rapids City Hall, 226 N. Michigan Ave.

Thursday, Feb. 7

• “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” — 7 p.m. at Three Girls Bakery.

• Big Rapids Foreign Film Festival presents “The 100 Year-Old Man” (R) — 7 p.m. at Big Rapids Community Library.

• Esera Tuaolo — 7 p.m. at Ferris’ University Center room 202ABC, 805 Campus Drive.

Friday, Feb. 8

• Brown Bag Lunch: Harry Dempsey: John Williams and the Leitmotif.

• “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” — 7 p.m. at Blue Cow Cafe, 119 N. Michigan Ave.

• Lunar Ticks — 9 p.m. at Cranker’s Restaurant and Brewery, 213 S. State St.

Saturday, Feb. 9

• Wee Wonders: Art and the Wonderful World.

• “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” — 7 p.m. at Red Fox Market.

• Russian Romance — 7 p.m. at Big Rapids First United Methodist Church, 304 Elm St.

Sunday, Feb. 10

• A Symphonic Celebration — 3 p.m. at the BRHS auditorium.

Monday, Feb. 11

 Lute Day — 9 a.m. meet and 5 p.m. concert at Artworks’ Chemical Bank Lower Gallery.

• A Journey in Writing and Music — 7 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Tuesday, Feb. 12

• Harmonicas in Class.

• Knitting Workshop: Let’s Talk About Short Rows.

• Comic Workshops: The Art of the Comic Strip.

Children play with clay during a previous Wee Wonders workshop. This year, Wee Wonders will be each Saturday at the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety building. There will be a different theme for each of the four workshops.

• The Art of Fermentation: Sauerkraut — 5:30 p.m. at Red Fox Market.

• Introductory Welding for Artists.

• Big Rapids Middle School presents pre-festival concert — 7 p.m. at the BRHS auditorium.

• The Mikado — 7 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Wednesday, Feb. 13

• “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” — 7 p.m. at Antlers, 10107 Buchanan Road, Stanwood.

• The Mikado.

Thursday, Feb. 14

• Serious Landscape Photography (part 2) — 6 p.m. at Big Rapids Community Library.

• Wine and Canvas Date Night — 6 p.m. at Artworks’ Creative Education Center. There is a $30 fee for individuals participating in this event and $50 for couples.

• Zentangle a “Valentine” with Heart! — 7 p.m. at Artworks’ Chemical Bank Lower Gallery. There is a $15 fee for this event.

Friday, Feb. 15

• Brown Bag Lunch: Grant Snider: The Art of the Good Life: Techniques for Happiness from Ancient Philosophy to Contemporary Psychotherapy.

• Guitar Concert — 7 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Saturday, Feb. 16

• Wee Wonders: Making Friends for Fabulous Fun.

• Festival of Banners 2019 — Artworks.

• Artist Demonstrations — 11 a.m. at Artworks’ Painted Turtle Gift Shop.

• Quilting Workshop: Half Square Triangles — 1 p.m. at the Old Jail.

• Wildlife Drawing Workshop — 1 p.m. at Ferris’ Card Wildlife Education Center, 820 Campus Drive.

• Guitar Concert Workshop — 4 p.m. at Galloup Guitar Studios, 10840 Northland Drive.

• Voices of Freedom — 7 p.m. at United Church of Big Rapids.

Sunday, Feb. 17

• Artworks Kids: Cookies and Canvas — noon at Three Girls Bakery, 106 N. Michigan Ave.

Children learn how to work with a potter’s wheel during a previous Artworks Kids class. Artworks Kids will be Saturday, Feb. 2, and Sunday, Feb. 17, this year.

• Hammered Dulcimer and Bazouki Concert — 3 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Monday, Feb. 18

• Festival of Banners 2019.

• Son of a Strum: Autoharp Workshop — 4 p.m. at Artworks’ Chemical Bank Lower Gallery.

• Creating a Wall Garden — 7 p.m. at Three Girls Bakery.

Tuesday, Feb. 19

• Harmonicas in Class.

• Pathways: Improving the Garden Journey — 1 p.m. at the Mecosta-Osceola Career Center’s Miller Wing, 15830 190th Ave.

• Knitting Workshop: Needle Felting. All supplies are provided.

• Comic Workshops: Work Day!

• Introductory Welding for Artists.

• An Evening with Judy Garland — 7 p.m. at the United Church of Big Rapids’ parlor.

Wednesday, Feb. 20

• “My Mother’s Daughter” — 5 p.m. at Artworks’ Painted Turtle Gallery.

• Design After Disaster — 7 p.m. at Ferris’ Granger Center room 102.

• Accessorizing Workshop — 7 p.m. at Serendipity, 102 S. Michigan Ave.

• “Spring Into Spring” Floral Workshop — 7 p.m. at Patterson’s Flowers, 216 Maple St. There is a $30 fee for this event.

Thursday, Feb. 21

• Third Coast Conversations — 5:30 p.m. at Artworks.

• Big Rapids Foreign Film Festival presents “The Salesman” (PG-13).

• Literature in Person — 7 p.m. at Ferris’ Fine Art Gallery in the University Center.

Friday, Feb. 22

• Festival of Banners 2019.

• Brown Bag Lunch: Lynette Vought: Artists’ Palettes: Color Theory and Creative Choices.

• “The Cheese Stands Alone” — 7 p.m. at the CCA elementary auditorium.

• “The Wizard of Oz, Jr.” — 7 p.m. at the BRHS auditorium. Tickets for this performance are $5 for adults and $3 for students at the door.

• Swing Dance and Big Band Jazz — 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center ballroom, 1005 Perry Ave.

Saturday, Feb. 23

• Wee Wonders: Bounce, Bubble, Rumble and Roll.

• Festival of Banners 2019.

• Stop-Motion Animation Workshop — 1 p.m. at Ferris’ Interdisciplinary Resource Center (IRC) room 120, 1301 S. State St.

• “The Wizard of Oz” — 2 p.m. at the BRHS auditorium. Tickets for this performance are $5 for adults and $3 for students at the door.

• Scrap Metal Sculpture — 2 p.m. at Ferris’ Heavy Equipment Building Auditorium, 220 Sports Drive.

• Dance and Music of India — 7 p.m. at Ferris’ University Center ballroom.

Sunday, Feb. 24

• Musical Instrument Petting Zoo — 2 p.m. at Ferris’ G. Mennen Williams Auditorium lobby, 701 S. State St.

• A Children’s Concert — 4 p.m. at Ferris’ G. Mennen Williams Auditorium.

Monday, Feb. 25

• Alpha Psi Omega (APO) Sketch Show — 7 p.m. at Ferris’ Business Building room 111, S. State St.

• Art of Moon Landing Stamps — 7 p.m. at Ferris’ Science Building room 120, 808 Campus Drive.

Tuesday, Feb. 26

• Harmonicas in Class.

• Knitting Workshop: Don’t Fear the Steek.

• Comic Workshops: Show Day!

• Big Rapids High School presents pre-festival concert — 7 p.m. at the BRHS auditorium.

• The Complete History of America — 7 p.m. at Big Rapids City Hall.

• Gourmet Cooking Workshop — 7 p.m. at Blue Cow Cafe.

Wednesday, Feb. 27

• MSBOA District 1 Band and Orchestra Festival — 1 to 9 p.m. at the BRHS auditorium.

• Introduction to Culinary Medicine — 6 p.m. at Ferris’ West Commons room WCO 108, 1319 Cramer Circle.

• The Complete History of America.

• Photographing Michigan — 7 p.m. at Ferris’ IRC room 120.

Thursday, Feb. 28

• MSBOA District 1 Band and Orchestra Festival.

• 2019 FOTA Sculpture Presentation — 5 p.m. at Artworks’ Painted Turtle Gallery.

• The Complete History of America.

•  Big Rapids Foreign Film Festival presents “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…And Spring” (R).

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Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at mhaas@pioneergroup.com.

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