By JAMES BELL
The Spring Art Walk will return this weekend as a one-day event on Saturday.
The event will be anchored by the 53rd Annual Smokey Hill Art Exhibition at the Hays Arts Center, but with opportunities to see all types of art through locations in downtown Hays and beyond. Art Walk, concerts will be given by Fort Hays State University. sets.
“So it’s an amazing day because our Smokie is quite spectacular,” said Hays Arts Council chief executive Brenda Meder. “And it’s going to be quite spectacular again this year.”
And with the all-day Saturday event, a feature brought back for this year’s Art Walk by popular demand, allows attendees to not only enjoy the window displays, but also explore Hays town centre.
“We found a lot of people really enjoyed their more leisurely pace,” Meder said. “They had more time to see everything including going down to college, they enjoyed being able to also hang out and frequent the retail establishments, restaurants, cafes and breweries in downtown Hays.”
While the Art Walk itself will take place on Saturday, the downtown weekend events kick off on Friday, with a concert by FHSU jazz bands beginning at 7 p.m. in the downtown pavilion. The concert will be the band’s last under the direction of longtime producer Brad Dawson.
Additionally, on Friday, the FHSU Encore series will feature the ballet, Anne of Green Gables
at the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.
The Hays Community Theater will also present A radical summer night Dream at 7:30 p.m.
During Saturday’s festivities, 19 locations will be available for touring, featuring a variety of media.
Many exhibits feature work by FHSU students.
“There are at least two exhibitions of MFA theses,” Meder said. “Great important shows, with wonderful bodies of rich contemporary artwork.”
“And I think I counted four or five BFA shows,” she said. “So students who are finishing their undergraduate studies, their BFA programs, visual artists, they have to put on exhibitions, or at least should do so to meet all of their requirements.”
In addition to the many downtown locations, three exhibitions will take place on the FHSU campus.
“I want to remind everyone that I mentioned campus exhibits, they’re only 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” Meder said. “But otherwise, everything else is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.”
A full calendar of events is available on the Hays Art Council website, haysartscouncil.org.
“And it’s just a nice, easy-to-print, 8.5″ by 11″ information sheet,” Meder said. “So you can plan your attack and not miss a thing. But it’s going to be a really, really amazing event.
The Smoky Hill exhibit will run until June 4 and will also be available online.
“So if you have to miss Artwalk weekend, still make time to come see the Smoky because there will be amazing artwork in so many different styles, genres and sizes from artists from all over Kansas” , Meder said.
To wrap up the weekend, the Hays Symphony will present a concert in conjunction with the FHSU Choirs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center as they wrap up their seasons.
“And the concert is called Voyage en France because of Hector Berlioz for the orchestra and Francis Poulenc for the choirs,” said FHSU choir director Terry Crull.
The free concert will undoubtedly present Berlioz’s most famous work, the Fantastic Symphony.
“Great piece, very scenic,” Crull said, noting that the work was early programmatic music that attempts to tell a story with music.
“When they first played Fantastic Symphony it caused a riot,” he said. “I mean, they had to bring in the police because they’re really not used to that kind of freakish music in your face.”
For more information about FHSU’s music department, visit their website, fhsu.edu.