Spring is Festival Time!
April is one of my favorite months for many reasons, but one reason is because it is time for being outside and enjoying festivals. 2020 and now 2021 are a little different, but I feel like we will be back at the outdoor gatherings soon. One of my favorite festivals is Art in the Park, our partnership with the McBeth Recreation Center at the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department. This event serves over a thousand children with disabilities from the Austin Independent School District and surrounding areas. It is a fun-filled day of arts, crafts, music, and entertainment. What started for a few hundred children at McBeth Recreation Center grew, and then moved to the Mexican American Cultural Center, and finally located again to Fiesta Gardens as the event has expanded over the years.
I was digging through some old notebooks and photos the other day, sneezing from the dust, and found the proclamation from the incarnation of this festival in 1978. Yes, I said 1978! Although the wording is a bit outdated, the intent is still the same. It was created for the purpose of children with disabilities “to learn in the arts, about the arts and through the arts.” That year, September 9th was proclaimed “’Very Special Arts Day” in Austin and the mayor urged, “All citizens to join me in supporting this worthwhile event and in recognizing the unselfish service of community volunteers whose time and talents will contribute much to each child’s new experience in music, art, drama, and the dance.
It is still true today that Art in the Park is a “community” event. When we hold the event in person, we rely on our local talented arts groups and entertainers to give their time to make this day special for the children who attend. Here are some photos from some of my favorite memories at Art in the Park.
In 2020, Art in the Park was canceled due to the pandemic. But this year, we are hosting it as an online event for teachers and their students to watch videos of art activities and entertainment. We still want this to be a community event and are soliciting videos from community organizations. Get your video featured by filling out this form!
Art in the “Virtual” Park goes live April 8, 2021, so watch for it!
—April Sullivan, Programs Director