Yoga, ‘upcycled music’, selfie competitions and circus workshops are just some of the eclectic mix of events organised for children as part of the ‘Big Kids, Little Kids Art Zone’ over the Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival weekend in May.
Catering for ages from five through to teens, the Festival program presents more than twelve workshops, performances, and competitions – many of them free – ranging from photography to dance, and sculpture to an Open Mic session, over the four day event.
According to Children’s Program Co-ordinator Nicole Lear, this year’s 25th Festival children’s program fulfills a long held vision of the Committee.
“Over the past five years of the Festival in particular, the Committee has made a concerted effort to grow its range of offerings for children, both in variety and accessibility, ” Ms Lear said.
“We were particularly keen to source performances and workshops tailored for early teens, a market that can be often overlooked in arts based events,” she said.
With a loose theme of ‘anyone can be an artist’, many of the events have been designed to show how art is accessible and can be created from a low cost base, with a particular emphasis on recycling and reuse.
The ‘Upcycled Music’ workshop will give children the opportunity to create, build and play musical instruments out of recycled materials. Similarly Adelaide-based artist James Parker’s collage session will use techniques developed through the 2015 International Cardboard Challenge and inspired by outsider artist James Castle by constructing their favorite bird using recycled cardboard – but no tape or glue.
In keeping with this theme, the ‘Anyone can be a photographer’ workshop will see South East photographer Louise Agnew bring her experience to youth to learn about positive self-esteem, mindfulness and how to exist online in a healthy way.
A new addition to the Festival is ‘Kids Open Mic’, giving young musicians, singers, writers and poets a chance to share their talents in the heart of the Festival.
Another first will see Country Arts SA bringing its unique ‘Dance Jungle Gym’ to Penola’s Memorial Park, allowing children of all ages to be led through a maze-like structure with audio directions from a downloadable app. Once through, they are able to recreate the same moves, discovering they have just learnt a contemporary dance piece.
The creative, vibrant and highly skilled ‘Pants Down Circus Rock’ ensemble headlines this year’s Festival, with its exciting performance to be held in Penola’s Rymill Hall on Sunday May 22. The ensemble will also be doing street performances over the weekend, and will host two workshops, each with a focus on either juggling or circus skills.
“We are particularly excited to be hosting ‘Pants Down Circus Rock’ over the weekend – with their production being part circus/part rock it will appeal to the whole family and is sure to be a Festival highlight,” said Ms Lear.
“We encourage everyone to come along and get involved in all these amazing arts opportunities over the weekend,” said Ms Lear. “The ‘Big Kids Little Kids Art Zone’ in Penola’s Memorial Park will be the place to be over the Festival,” she adds.
The full program and tickets are available through www.artsfestival.com.au, or at the Penola Visitor Information Centre on 08 8737 2855.
Further information: Nicole Lear on 0407 727 165 or Katie Moorhouse 0419 821 689.