Foo Fest Arts, Music, and Foo-Topia

The biggest draw for Foo Fest has to be the huge number of bands performing (see opposite page). But Foo-goers who head downtown on August 12 also can find plenty of food, art and more of the funky stuff that AS220 has been bringing to Rhode Islanders for 30 years.

For those who would like to stretch their artistic muscles, the fest will have family-friendly hands-on activities from AS220 Industries (Printshop, Media Arts, Labs) available, including activities like screen printing designs on a variety of mediums, mask-making, face painting and a learn to solder station.

Foo Fest also will see the return of the La Feria Latin-American Artisans Fair, where attendees can buy folk art, Spanish poetry, hand-made fabric and jewelry, and other creations from local artists. PVD’s Gather Glass studio will host a workshop and live glass blowing demos, and The Steel Yard also will be there, so maybe you can live out your “Game of Thrones” fantasies by smithing a giant broadsword.

One of the more intriguing projects that will be showcased at Foo Fest is Foo-Topia Now, put together by Greg Cook and Kerri Percival, a Malden, Massachusetts-based husband-and-wife duo who have been creating together for more than two decades.

Final details have yet to be ironed out, but I had a quick word with Greg for more on what attendees can expect from Foo-Topia.

Jake Bissaro: What is Foo-Topia?

Greg Cook: Our aim is to explore the theme of ‘how do we improve the world and make things better?’ And we’re also trying to explore the role of art in that effort. With all that’s going on right now, we’re ultimately trying to imagine a bit of utopia in the middle of downtown Providence.

JB: What are some of the details?

GC: We’re going to design the official Foo Fest photo booth and other similarly iconic spaces within the festival. It’s all going to culminate in a parade, and we’ll be doing a workshop in the afternoon helping people make masks and signs for the parade.

JB: Ever done anything like this before?

GC: Not exactly, but we have done similar events trying to deliver a message to broad audiences in catchy and funny ways. In Malden’s parade of annual holiday traditions, we put together “Santas Against Global Warming.” Kerri and I also helped develop the Fox Festival Parade in Arlington, Massachusetts, in June, on the theme of welcoming wildlife back into our communities and celebrating the city’s Fox Library.

JB: What else should people look forward to?

GC: We’re hoping to set up some free art workshops in the city’s community libraries and schedule speakers at the festival who will present on the subject of utopia and improving the world.

In other artsy pursuits, Foo Fest will feature installations by Corrine Wahlberg’s “P.O.P. Pixie of Poteniality,” Leslie Atik’s Weaving Project and Joe-Lou’s “The Phantom Hand.” Attendees also will see pieces from Jennifer Vinegar Avery’s arresting “The Fainting Room: A Period Piece.” For lovers of spoken word, Tina Cane (State Poet of Rhode Island) and Laura Moire Marciano will present “Poetry on Demand.”

You’ll be needing some nourishment to take in all this artsy stuff, so food will be provided by fine local purveyors like Dudleys’s hot dog cart, Tina’s Jamaican, Julians Omnibus, Poco Loco Tacos, Like No Udder and more.

AS220’s Foo Fest takes place on Aug 12 from 1pm until 1am on Empire St in PVD. For more information, go to foofest.as220.org.

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