River Campus Launching Summer Arts Festival



Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus is launching its first ever full-day Community Summer Arts Festival June 21 that will feature live music, dance, theatrical performances, magic, visual arts displays, hands-on family-friendly art expression activities and much more.

This community festival is free and open to all ages in the entire region, said Rhonda Weller-Stilson, director of the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is sponsored by Drury Hotels, the Isle Casino, the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts, Southeast Missouri State University, City of Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation, 573 Magazine, KRCU, Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, KBSI, the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum, and the University’s Departments of Art, Music and Theatre and Dance. The Missouri Arts Council has provided the festival with a grant. Partners include the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri and Old Town Cape.

“It’s going to be a celebration of all of the arts – visual and performing,” Weller-Stilson said. “It’s a representation of all we do all year long at the River Campus and a showcase of the work of professional artists from our region. We are excited to have this opportunity to reach out to a diverse population including kids of all ages.”

She says the festival will help fill a void since Cape Girardeau does not offer a summer arts festival joining the performing and visual arts.

The majority of the art studio patios on the Mississippi River side of the River Campus will be open for visitors to view art students’ work and the Department of Art’s studios. Local artist Craig Thomas will coordinate a chalk walk in this area. In addition, Weller-Stilson says artist booths displaying the work of faculty, students and community members will be set up, and a tent will be available under which children may create art.

Dance performances from both University and community studio members will be held in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall. Dance workshops will be held in the dance studio throughout the day.

The Department of Music will hold a vocal boot camp concert with high school students performing in the Robert F. and Gertrude L Shuck Music Recital Hall. High school theatre performances will take place in the Wendy Kurka Rust Flexible Theatre, and a variety of musicians, coordinated by Jerry Ford, will play in a music tent throughout the day. Visitors will hear steel drums and jazz performed, and Southeast Missouri Music Academy students will play.

The Southeast Missouri Regional Museum and the River Campus Art Gallery both will be open for visitors. An exhibit of work created during the University’s Summer Art Academy will be displayed in the art gallery.

Weller-Stilson says KRCU 90.9 FM will be present, and food will be available by Chartwells. A face painting booth, a magician and booths sponsored by community members and the Holland School of Visual and Performing arts will be among the festival’s offerings.

Capping the day’s events will be a performance of “Nunsense” at 7:30 p.m. in the Wendy Kurka Rust Flexible Theatre. Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265 or by visiting

“Nunsense” is a musical comedy in which the Order of the Little Sisters of Hoboken takes over a high school auditorium to hold a fund-raising variety show to raise money to bury several sisters who were accidentally poisoned by their cook. They must inter the nuns before the health inspector comes and finds the dead nuns in the freezer. Fraught with hilarity, both Catholic and otherwise, five nuns try to perform their planned performance amidst chaos and calamity.

The musical will run for eight days at the River Campus. Other performances of “Nunsense” are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. June 19, 20, 26-28 and at 2 p.m. 22 and 29.

VIA - Southeast Missouri University News Bureau

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