KEARNEY — The annual Family Arts Festival brings together interested patrons, experienced facilitators, fun performers — along with many art supplies — to give children a taste of the arts.
“The festival introduces children to new art activities,” said Jackie Abell, director of education at the Museum of Nebraska Art. “One new project this year is cross stitch.”
Organizers of the festival always search for new ideas but also understand that children enjoy familiar events — and faces. The String Beans, a children’s band from Lincoln, will take the stage twice during the festival.
“They are our resident house band,” Abell said of the quartet. “We invite them every year because people love them and because the band members promote education and Nebraska. Their songs are thoughtful and fun at the same time. People have come to expect them to be here for this event. I think this is their fifth year in a row at the festival.”
Kearney Cultural Partners present the Family Arts Festival, 1-4 p.m. Saturday at the Museum of Nebraska Art and The World Theatre in Downtown Kearney: The Bricks. Admission to the event is free.
Abell expects about 500 people to attend.
The String Beans will perform two 30 minute sets of music at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Events at the museum will highlight the exhibit, “A River Runs Through It,” with activities focusing on visual art. The World Theatre will host face painting stations, an event organized by Crane River Theater and an instrument petting zoo staffed by members of the Kearney Concert Association and Kearney High School students.
Patrons may drop in to any of the activities at any time.
“A lot of people will plan their art activities around the performances of the String Beans,” Abell said. “Between the sets they might do some more art and then stay for the next round of music. Each performance by the band will feature different music. They play different songs and activities during each performance. It’s worth coming back to see them twice.”
Brothers Randy and Curt Bright formed the band in 2004. They often perform at fairs, festivals, libraries, schools and museums. So far, The String Beans have released 10 albums of their songs.
A staff of volunteers will lead the activities at the Family Arts Festival.
“We’re lucky to have lots of very engaging volunteers who dedicate a lot of one-on-one time with the children and the families,” Abell said.
Some of the volunteers work and teach in the community and others are studying at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Abell said of the events at the festival, “We have a wide variety of things for the children to do. We’re quite sure they will leave happy.”