The festival celebrates the community's cultural diversity.
By MARALINE KUBIK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The third annual Youngstown State University Summer Festival of the Arts will promote understanding, respect and appreciation of the diversity among people of the Mahoning Valley through a vast array of performances and exhibits that showcase various cultures, lifestyles and customs.
The Festival of Nations, an integral part of the arts festival, will showcase exhibits from 28 countries from throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. It will also offer a variety of ethnic cuisine and performances of ethnic dances and music -- everything from Native American dancers to Chinese sword dancers; Irish step dancers to Tai Chi; Hungarian Flamenco dancers to Harambee drumming; Scottish bagpipe music to blue grass; rhythm and blues, jazz, classical, Latin, Croatian and Caribbean.
Kids' stuff: Children's activities will also promote respect and appreciation for others. Short puppet plays will address topics such as gender equality, conflict resolution, sharing, teamwork, cooperation and acceptance of those who are different.
Blossoms and Buds, a group of area students between the ages of 7 and 15, will present musical dramatizations that stress the importance of ethics, integrity and character. The message behind their performances is think first, then act responsibly.
Give the Children a Chance Choir, founded in 1995 to provide a safe haven and positive opportunities for children seeking to escape black-on-black violence in their neighborhoods, will also perform.
Wide variety: There is something everyone will enjoy, said Sandra Elser Ciminero, coordinator of the festival. This year's festival will also feature an artists' marketplace, a juried show and sale, a children's hands-on art festival, theatrical performances, cultural enrichment activities, an antique show and sale downtown, horse-drawn carriage rides and a film and video festival.
Food vendors will offer a wide selection of ethnic and festival foods. Galleries and museums will feature special exhibits including the first Tri-County Young Artists' Expo.
The Young Artists Expo will showcase the work of artists in kindergarten through 12th grade from Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties. Their work will be exhibited in the Bliss Hall Gallery until July 27. An opening reception will be at noon July 7.
Mahoning County commissioners and the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring the event. It is endorsed by the Trumbull County and Columbiana County commissioners.
YSU Festival of the Arts will run from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. July 7 and noon to 7 p.m. July 8 on the campus grounds.
XFor more information call (330) 742-2307 or visit the festival web site at www.ysu.edu/sfa.