Waco Art Festival - young musicians

Young string players show their talents at last year’s MusicFest.

Waco Cultural Arts Fest organizers call the public/children’s art portion of the festival Arts For All, but the term could describe the festival and its component subfestivals held each year at Indian Spring Park and the Waco Convention Center.

There’s visual art, both amateur and professional, in Arts For All and the Artists Market with its 19 exhibiting, and selling, artists. There’s live music and dance from local and regional performers in MusicFest. There’s poetry and writing in WordFest, contemporary and children’s dance in {254} Dance-Fest, African film in FilmFest and an emphasis on science and its applications in ScienceFest.

Arts for all. And free of charge outside of admission to several dance workshops.

WCAF founder and director Doreen Ravenscroft anticipates that, given fair weather this weekend, some 15,000 people may turn out during the three-day event held in downtown Waco. It’s not just locals who are drawn to the arts celebration; arts leaders and performers from across the state and beyond will take part.

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Waco Art Festival - painting

The Waco Cultural Arts Fest’s Arts For All activities bring a splash of color and creativity to Indian Spring Park.

This year’s WordFest, for instance, will feature poet Nathan Brown, the 2013-14 Oklahoma Poet Laureate, who will lead a 2 p.m. Saturday workshop and a reading from this year’s WordFest anthology at 7 p.m. Saturday, then participate in a writers’ panel with Tyler’s Anne McCrady and Grand Prairie-based Michael Guinn at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Guinn, a regular participant with the WCAF over the years, will host open mic sessions at noon and 3 p.m. Sunday while Waco’s Kay Bell will head a 7 p.m. Friday open mic.

MusicFest will bring Austin electronic percussion group Rattletree and Austin rhythm-and-blue/soul/jazz duo The Peterson Brothers to perform Friday, at 7 and 8 p.m. respectively, while contemporary soul/R&B/gospel singer and Waco native D-Soul Davis, a 2016 SxSW headliner, returns to his hometown to perform at 9 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday.

As they have for previous {254} Dance-Fests, dance companies and performers from across the state will perform in the festival’s public performances at 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The 7 p.m. Saturday concert is suggested for mature audiences due to themes and subject matter while the 2 p.m. Sunday one is geared to families.

Houston dancer and choreographer Jennifer Mabus will hold a workshop on contemporary dance at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Festival workshops on Saturday and Sunday also will feature Dallas-Fort Worth’s Big Rig Dance Collective, Austin gaga dance instructor and choreographer Amy Morrow and Latin dance choreographer Brittany Lopez from San Antonio. Workshop admission, payable at the door, is $5, $10 for the Mabus workshop.

FilmFest continues its celebration of African film with three movies showing in its two-day run, including an advance showing of the animated feature “Liyana” before its national release.

“Queen of Katwe,” about a Ugandan girl whose life changes when she starts to play chess, will be screened at 7 p.m. Friday. Saturday’s FilmFest offerings are “Liyana,” about five children in Swaziland who collaborate to create a fairytale, at 2 p.m. and “Burkinabe Rising,” a documentary about artists and citizens in Burkina Faso uniting for change, at 6:30 p.m.

Tribune-Herald entertainment editor