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by Whitney Kenerly

17 Days, National Folk Fest announcements create buzz

whitney@yesweekly.com | @YesWeekWhitney

The official dates for the National Folk Festival have been announced. The free three-year residency festival will take place from September 11 to 13 in 2015, September 9 to 11 in 2016, and September 8 to 10 in 2017.

The City of Greensboro will be hosting the National Folk Festival for its 75 th anniversary in 2015. The three-day outdoor festival celebrates American culture through food, music, crafts, dance and other art forms. Greensboro will host the event using seven stages to feature over 30 performing groups. There will also be a North Carolina folklife area and a festival marketplace.

The National Folk festival was first presented in St. Louis, Missouri in 1934 and was the first nationally recognized event to celebrate art from a diverse group of cultures. The festival also claims to be the first forum to present Cajun music, the blues and polka.

ArtsGreensboro and The National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) are co-producing the event with expectations that it will draw 175,000 visitors to the area by 2017.

“Downtown Greensboro is in the midst of a renaissance, and presenting the National Folk Festival in this location adds to the momentum,” said NCTA Executive Director Julia Olin. “We like to be where the action is.”

The National Endowment of the Arts will present ArtsGreensboro with the $100,00 “Our Town” grant for its Fabric of Freedom project during the National Folk Festival.

NEA’s “Our Town” grant is designed to encourage projects that engage diverse groups within a community.

Fabric of Freedom will be a multidisciplinary arts festival within the larger National Folk Festival, showcasing Greensboro’s involvement in freedom campaigns from the Revolutionary War through the Civil Rights movement and into immigration rights in the 21 st century. The festival will highlight Greensboro’s Quaker roots, honor those who began the Sit-It movement, and examine how the city plunged into the 19 th century as a textile and furniture empire.

ArtsGreensboro will be working with NCTA, the City of Greensboro, Guilford County Courthouse National Military Park, the International Civil Rights Museum, NC A&T University and Guilford College to assemble performers for the festival.

ArtsGreensboro is also gearing up for its fourth annual 17DAYS Arts & Culture Festival this year. From September 19 through October 5, the organization will host over 100 events around the city.

This year the festival will showcase an interactive public art showcase from an artist collective from Austria called The Tagtool Crew. The group will be creating an iPad app with which users can create artwork to be displayed through high-powered projectors on the sides of buildings and in other public spaces across town.

Potential “projection painters” will be invited to download the app for free.

Mayor Vaughan has expressed enthusiasm and support for the project.

“The City of Greensboro is proud to host this unique interactive art experience,” said Vaughan. “Tagtool is an exciting new way to showcase public art and Greensboro’s infrastructure and architecture will serve as the perfect backdrop. I think this is something that the residents of Greensboro will enjoy and adds another layer of entertainment to the ArtsGreensboro 17DAYS Festival.”

The kickoff for the public workshops will be held on September 18. Festival organizers are excited to host a group that has conducted similar sessions in cities across Europe.

“These public workshops will be unlike anything that has ever occurred in Greensboro,” said Cheryl Stewart of Greensboro, public art consultant for The Public Art Endowment. “These artists are phenomenal and very cuttingedge. People are going to be dazzled when they see local structures light up at night with artwork by the participating public. This is a fun, great activity for individuals and families of all ages, something truly special. The Public Art Endowment is very excited to provide this for the people of Greensboro.”

Tagtool workshops take place downtown, with art projected onto buildings such as Cheesecakes by Alex and the Carolina Theatre, as well as at CityView Apartments, from which artwork will be projected onto the water tower at Bennett College. In addition, public opportunities will be offered at N.C. A&T University and at Elsewhere Collaborative.

The Tagtool Crew also will work with area school children through pro- grams at the Greensboro Children’s Museum. !

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