Fort Scott prepares for Arts and Ideas Festival

In just over a month, Fort Scott will provide a new opportunity to members of and visitors to the community as they host the inaugural 2nd Story Festival of Arts and Ideas event, April 8 and 9.

3-7 Arts Festival

Local pastor Jared Witt helped initiate the planning for the event after being inspired by similar opportunities his family saw available to the public when they went on vacation to New York last year.

“I’ve been thinking about community development for a long time,” Witt said during the March Young Professionals League meeting held Friday at Papa Don’s, promoting the event and encouraging young professionals to be involved.

Witt said he believes many Fort Scott residents either wish their city were a little bigger or that the community was a little more interesting. While that first thought is a negative one and not beneficial, Witt said he thinks people can help better the community by focusing on the latter idea.

With that goal in mind, Witt began working with Fort Scott Director of Economic Development Heather Smith to bring a festival combining both the arts and entrepreneurship to the community.

“It’s much bigger than what I thought it would be,” Witt said, saying a federal grant of $7,000 and matching grants from local groups such as the arts council, city of Fort Scott and the local community foundation has allowed it to include more than they originally had hoped.

Witt said they combined the arts and innovative entrepreneurship because both require a level of creativity and can inspire each other. Smith added the combination encourages people to think differently in both category to better their hobby or business.

“I think there’s a lot they have in common,” Witt said.

The Friday night of the event will focus on the innovative side of the weekend, including an entrepreneur panel of successful business people as well as artists available to answer questions, to be followed by a roundtable discussion focusing on business planning, sources of capital, marketing strategies and the legal structures of having a business. The first evening will end with a reception and opportunity for networking.

Saturday’s creative events will include sessions on book publishing and literature, culinary arts, watercolor, poetry, photography and fashion, pottery and a luncheon featuring Marc Willson discussing Art as a Business. The festival finale will include treats and an art sale and time to mingle with artists.

Friday’s event will cost goers $10 while access to Saturday’s events cost $10 per person but with added fees for those participating in hands-on events such as pottery, watercolor and the cooking demonstration.

“We hope that this becomes an annual event,” Smith said.

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