RIDGE NIGHTLIFE AND DINING: Bay Ridge Festival of the Arts

Spring has arrived and slowly, our parks and gardens are painted with subtle signs of its arrival. Early spring buds bloom out of formerly dead soil, allowing us to imagine a near future in which Mother Nature will paint the landscape with every color in the rainbow.

Already, locals are taking inspiration from the scene, as parks fill with sketch book-toting artists, in the mood to capture a bit of our hometown beauty. Just in time for the arrival of such inspiration, the Bay Ridge Festival of the Arts will kick off on April 12 with an opening night celebration.

Since 1968, the annual, week-long celebration has raised awareness for the Brooklyn arts scene by showcasing local artists, craftspersons and musicians, free of charge. This year, the festival’s schedule is packed with exciting events from craft fairs to musical performances, art exhibitions to demonstrations, sure to spark inspiration in all of us.

As in previous years, the festival will feature many charitable organizations. Last year, the festival awarded over $1,000 in grant money to young local artists and will be accepting scholarship applications for the current season until June.

On April 13 at 7 p.m., the festival will team up with BRUCA for the Empty Bowls Project. Attendees will have the hands on opportunity to decorate and glaze bowls created by BRUCA potters. The bowls will later be sold at auction to benefit Bay Ridge food charities.

April 15 will mark the Bay Ridge Festival of the Arts Children’s Day, with a schedule packed full of kid-friendly events. For a suggested donation of $5, kids will be treated to meet-and-greets with famous children’s authors and illustrators, and a sing-along led by BrooklynONE Theater.

Throughout the day, they will also be able to participate in several open arts stations where artists from local organizations will lead them in hands-on demonstrations in painting, sculpture, drawing and experiments. The day is the perfect way to help your kids get in touch with their artistic sides, and an even better way to ring in the new season with a bit of family fun.

Whether you are eight or 80, visit the Bay Ridge Festival of the Arts for a day or two of arts appreciation. The festival will be held at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at 7420 Fourth Avenue. Artists and art enthusiasts are encouraged to bring sketchbooks, as there will be a different still life set up each day for those who are interested in taking advantage. For more information on the Bay Ridge Festival of the Arts, visit www.bayridgeartsfestival.org.

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