FestForAll ... Come have a ball

Art, music and soccer combine for annual Arts Council of Baton Rouge event

“It is a chance for families to come downtown and eat, play, dance and shop. It’s been a Baton Rouge tradition since 1974.” Kathy Scherer, deputy director of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge

FestForAll’s 2014 recipe calls for a pinch of soccer, guaranteed to add an extra kick of flavor to its full plate of art and musical events.

Interestingly, art and soccer mix well, so much that this combination will take center stage at FestForAll this weekend.

FestForAll is known as Baton Rouge’s premier art and music festival presented by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge.

With the 2014 U.S. Youth Soccer Region III Championships coming to BREC’s Burbank Soccer Complex in June, the arts council is commemorating the event with the exhibit, “Get a Kick Out of Art.”

“We asked 25 area artists to paint soccer balls that will be unveiled at FestForAll,” says Kathy Scherer, the art council’s deputy director. “We asked them to use a Baton Rouge or a Louisiana theme. The soccer balls will be on display on the grounds of the Old State Capitol during the festival.”

The arts council partnered with Visit Baton Rouge, the Louisiana Office of Tourism, the Baton Rouge Soccer Association, U.S. Youth Soccer, and the Louisiana Soccer Association in this project. The soccer balls will be installed in local restaurants after the festival.

“People will have the chance to register to win one of 20 of the balls in a raffle,” Scherer says. “It will be a great souvenir to commemorate the soccer championships.”

It also will be a chance to own a piece of original artwork. The festival offers plenty of chances to purchase artwork by 100 visual artists from more than a dozen states.

“And this year, we have artists coming from outside the southern region of the United States,” Scherer says.

Artwork will include pottery, woodwork, stained glass and jewelry. The arts council will award prizes for “Best of Show,” “Award of Excellence,” “Awards of Distinction,” “Awards of Achievement” and “Awards of Merit.” Michaelene “Mikey” Walsh, an associate professor of art at LSU and artist member at Baton Rouge Gallery – Center for Contemporary Art will judge the artworks.

“People who spend $30 with the artists can register to win a prize package of art items,” Scherer says. “If they spend $60, they can register to win two and so on.”

Shopping may be fun for adults but something that quickly bores children. FestForAll has a solution to that. Each year, the Junior League of Baton Rouge coordinates a Children’s Village on the lower grounds of the Old State Capitol. The village features hands-on activities, allowing children to create their own art pieces.

The Children’s Village Stage offers a mix of musicians, puppeteers, storytellers, jugglers, magicians, stilt walkers and stage performances.

“We always have a lot going on at the Children’s Village,” Scherer says. “We have a lot going on throughout the festival.”

Take the Velo des Artes Bicycle Ride, for instance. This is a bike tour of public art in downtown Baton Rouge and surrounding neighborhoods coordinated by Bike Baton Rouge from 9:30 a.m. to noon Sunday.

The downtown museums, including the LSU Museum of Art, the Louisiana Art & Science Museum and U.S.S. Kidd & Veterans Memorial also will join the festivities on Sunday with their monthly Free First Sunday program, offering free admission.

“So, FestForAll will be inside and well as outside on that day,” Scherer says.

The LASM also will offer reduced admission to planetarium shows on that day, and the Manship Theatre in the Shaw Center will show the newly released French animated children’s film, “Le Tableau” at 2 p.m. Saturday. This movie will feature English subtitles and is presented by the Alliance Francaise de la Nouvelle Orleans.

Also, at 2 p.m. Sunday, the Manship Theatre will show “A.K.A. Doc Pomus,” which tells the story of Jerome Felder, also known as Doc Pomus, who was paralyzed with polio as a child, but became one of the biggest early rock and roll icons.

Meanwhile, art demonstrations, from pottery to painting to wood sculpture, will take place throughout the festival, and food and beverages will be for sale.

Finally, live music on two stages will pump a constant flow of energy in the downtown area. The genres will be varied, including blues by The Blues Project, big band jazz by the LSU Jazz Ensemble, folk rock by River City Rovers, swamp blues by Carol Fran & Friends, New Orleans roots rock by Dash Rip Rock, folk by Minos The Saint, western swing by Washboard Rodeo, Cajun zydeco by Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe, funk soul by T Bird & The Breaks, country by David Oakleaf and the Open Road, folk rock by The Rakers, funk, soul and rhythm and blues by John Gray’s SOUL JUKEBOXX, funk by Rue De Funk, Americana by Denton Hatcher, funk by The Caesar Brothers’ Funk Box, soulful blues by Rusty Yates, African Dance by N’Fungola Sibo Dance & Drum Co. and pop, dance and funk by Souled Out.

“It is a chance for families to come downtown and eat, play, dance and shop. It’s been a Baton Rouge tradition since 1974,” Scherer says.

And this year, it starts off with an artistic kick.