art festival

Hands-on arts and face painting are two of the attractions at Waco Cultural Arts Fest.

“Arts For All” is the theme for the Arts Fest portion of the annual Waco Cultural Arts Festival, which returns to downtown Waco for its 14th year.

But the theme equally applies to the overall festival.

Under its umbrella are sub-festivals in music, dance, science, visual arts, African film and writing, all of which combine to pull more than 15,000 people to Indian Spring Park and the Waco Convention Center over its three-day run.

This weekend marks the second year for the festival at a different spot on the calendar, the first weekend in October rather than the last weekend. WCAF founder and organizer Doreen Ravenscroft said the shift, made to avoid Baylor home football games and their impact on motel room vacancies, didn’t seem to affect attendance.

While much of the festival’s public visibility comes with its open-air activities at Indian Spring Park — visual arts activities and an Artists’ Market in Arts Fest, community and touring artists performing for Music Fest — a good portion happens indoors at the Waco Convention center where {254} Dance Fest, Wordfest, ScienceFest and FilmFest hold their activities and performances.

The WCAF’s sub-festivals mix involvement from community groups and individual, youth arts ensembles and visiting artists and performers.

For FilmFest, that includes Nigerian artist Monsuru Alashe, winner of the Waco-Nigerian Competition for the Innovative Arts, who will speak at Friday’s sessions; and directors Jude Fokwang (“Something New In Old Town”) and Dapo Adeniyi (“Wole Solinka”), who will talk in Saturday’s FilmFest.

The {254} Dance Fest will feature approximately a dozen groups in its three-day run, including Austin’s Blue Lapis Light, whose members will demonstrate aerial dancing with dancers suspended from the ceiling by long lengths of fabric in a 12:30 p.m. Saturday workshop.

WordFest will feature readings by 2010 Texas Poet Laureate Karla K. Morton at 2 p.m. Saturday. Morton also will host readings from this year’s WordFest Anthology, which features poetry from 68 writers from across the country as well as Australia and Ireland, at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Highlighted performers for this year’s MusicFest include Austin electronica/marimba group Rattletree at 7:30 p.m. and Austin-based Latin/funk/cumbia band Grupo Fantasma, who previously performed at Waco’s Brazos Nights summer concert series, at 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Performers from the Trinity Star Arts Council will perform works by Texas country singer-songwriter Cindy Walker at 6 p.m. Saturday with Austin Americana band Harvest Thieves at 7 p.m. Saturday and Texas country singer-songwriter Ray Johnston at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Electric violinist Mark Wood returns to lead several student workshops and a 3 p.m. Sunday performance by Wood and the University High School orchestra and choir.

Tribune-Herald entertainment editor