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First annual Westgate Arts Festival to happen May 12-13
This year the Westgate community has become the first stop for seasonal arts festivals.
The first annual Westgate Arts Festival will be on May 12-13 at the Hoge Memorial Presbyterian Church, 2930 W. Broad St.
Around 30 artists will be featured in the festival, including individuals from Lima, Toledo, Chillicothe and internationally known painter Philip Sugden.
Strung throughout the festival will also be live musical performances by Jim Volk on the ecstatic acoustic guitar, the Pink Flamingos and various folk revival groups.
Nicholas Gonzalez, festival coordinator and co-owner of the NRG Gallery, said visitors will be entertained by stilt walkers dressed in costumes and they plan to bring in local special effects artist Mallory Thokey to create zombie makeup.
Gonzalez, who opened NRG Gallery last October, came up with the idea for the festival in January. He eagerly awaited the arts festival season to begin, but thought the Westside could benefit from one of its own.
Gonzalez originally planned to host the festival in the parking lot behind his gallery. However, the event was threatened to be canceled when the building owner informed Gonzalez a month ago he was selling the building.
With no space for either the gallery or the festival, Gonzalez began talks with the elders of Hoge Memorial Presbyterian Church, who were suffering financial problems and an impending closure themselves.
Gonzalez, along with several neighborhood artists and members from Bread and Circus Theatre, came to a mutually benefiting agreement.
The NRG Gallery and the Bread and Circus Theatre will operate out of the church’s facilities – allowing all three entities to keep the doors open.
The proceeds raised from the Westgate Arts Festival will go toward keeping the Hoge Memorial Presbyterian Church open, Gonzalez said. Church staffers will also be running a cookout during the festival as a fundraiser.
According to Gonzalez, he is eager to continue advocating an arts initiative for the Westside and hopes to see more local artists come out and showcase their work.
The Westgate Arts Festival will be on May 12 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and May 13 from noon to 6 p.m.
There is still room for artists, crafters and organizations to secure a spot in the festival. The fee to showcase work is $50 for the two days and no tents are required. For information contact Gonzalez at 707-2024.
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