35th Annual Artrageous Kids Art Festival on May 11

By on May 5, 2024

Local 4-H Club hosting a sewing booth at last year’s event. (Photo courtesy of Dare Arts)

By Mary Ellen Riddle | Outer Banks Voice

It is fun, free, and fantastically creative. The 35th Annual Artrageous Kids Art Festival opens at Dowdy Park in Nags Head on Saturday May 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a goal to kindle the artistic spirit in young folk. This year’s theme is “creativity stARTs here.”

Everything is about the kids and for the kids, says longtime Dare Arts Board Member and Artrageous volunteer Ginny Flowers. As a bead artist and jewelry maker for more than three decades, she is supportive of the arts organization that oversees the festival.

“I think to me, it’s one of the most important organizations in Dare County,” Flowers says of Dare Arts. “Because art gives people joy and hope, and it opens your heart.”

The event features free booths where kids get creative by trying their hand at crafts and bring home their creations. The youngsters experiment with stained glass, metal stamping, weaving, collaging, painting, culinary arts and making mushroom prints. Flowers says that when you color the underside of the mushroom cap and use it to make a print, it is beautiful. “They just look so delicate and it’s the part you don’t really see in the mushroom,” she says, likening the image to a sundial.

Flowers stays busy at the festival. You can usually find her at the stained-glass booth helping children by soldering the work of their own design that they pieced together. This partnership allows the kids to be guided through a multi part project while still exercising their own creativity.

The event also provides the opportunity for youths to sell their work at what is called the Young Artist Village. Kids will be showcasing their jewelry, paintings, fiber art and more. Twenty-five local adult artists also set up booths to sell their wares.

The art extravaganza spans creative genres beyond the visual arts, including music, dance and theater arts.

On tap is the musical act Nature Out Loud. Their website touts them as “an upbeat, fun, science-based interactive music program inspired by the wild world all around us.” Think positive, original and cover music about animals, the ocean and nature to make you “move” and “wonder.”

Donna Roark’s Shadow Players with Drama Mama, a children’s improv theatre, will be on hand. “I will be inviting children up on stage to join me in a fun, interactive program,” she said in a recent press release. A bevy of student performers from local studios and programs—Atlantic Dance, Hatteras Island Community Strings, Mustang Music Outreach Program, Dare2Care OBX Shredders and Ascencion Music—are also on the agenda.

Artrageous is an all-hands-on deck event that long has drawn a number of volunteers. Tatum Clements, the Dare Arts Media Director says there are between 50-60 volunteers helping to make the art endeavor happen. This includes a couple that have been travelling all the way from Williamsburg, Virginia, to host the popular stained-glass booth.

It has become quite an institution as the longest-running kids’ festival on the Outer Banks. Flowers has watched little kids who attended years ago grow up, have children, and bring them to Artrageous. She knows some of them by name. And grandparents enjoy the day with their grandkids.

The arts are a brick in the foundation of the community says Flowers. “But it’s a vital one,” she says. “It is for the community and the community puts into it.”

Along with Dare Arts staff and volunteers who coordinate and run the event, local entities and the state lend support.

Artrageous is presented by PNC Bank. It is sponsored by the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, the Don and Catharine Byran Cultural Series and is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Proceeds from Artrageous benefit the Dare Arts cultural arts programming and the Artrageous Youth Scholarship Fund, which awards a scholarship to a Dare County high school senior intending to study fine art or the performing arts in college.

(For more information about the event visit DareArts.org/artrageous or call (252) 473-5558. Additional parking is available at Nags Head Elementary School.)

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