Fort Scott holds first annual Festival of Arts and Ideas

After months of planning and promotions, Fort Scott hosted the first 2nd Story Festival of Arts and Ideas over the weekend, encouraging members of the community to be involved in arts in conjunction with entrepreneurship.

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Leaders of the city, the area Chamber of Commerce, Bourbon County Arts Council members and other members of the community worked together to bring local and out-of-state artists and entrepreneurs to the event for discussions as well as hands-on activities for participants.

“Every town needs a little Bohemian,” said Denise Duncan, owner of the Beaux Arts Centre, where many of the events were held. “I think everybody’s had a good time.”

Jared Witt helped initiate the planning for the event and said their goal was to bring creative people together to spark new ideas as well as provide a fun time, adding he was pleased with the number of participants who attended.

“It was awesome,” Witt said. “It exceeded my expectations.”

The event kicked off Friday evening with a panel discussion with local business owners Amy Labbe, Bill Michaud, Jacki Prettyman and Trenton Banwart on how they started their separate businesses and continue to increase their reach through numerous avenues.

Experts in areas of watercolors, photography, fashion, pottery and poetry as well as published authors attended the Saturday event, which drew a number of community members to learn about those fields as well as participate in them. Visiting artists included Debbie Reed, Jane Campbell, Veretta Cobbler and Daria Claiborne and authors Casie Hermansson and Stephen Johnson with local author Don Miller.

Chef Jasper Mirabile of Jasper’s restaurant in Kansas City also held a culinary demonstration Saturday, an event which sold out in just one day.

Tom Byler of Pittsburg State University hosted a luncheon discussion Saturday on the topic of Art as a Business on behalf of speaker Marc Willson, who was unable to come after being injured in a home accident earlier that week.

The event ended with a fundraiser event Saturday evening with visitors able to view and purchase items provided by the visiting artists.

Witt said the event went smoothly but they still learned enough along the way to know how to improve the festival for future years.


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