Southeast River Campus Announces 2019 Summer Arts Festival Event Lineup

Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus announces the event lineup for its sixth annual Summer Arts Festival offering a full day of visual and performing arts exhibitions and activities June 15.


The day’s events are scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature live music, dance and theatrical performances, magic, visual arts displays, hands-on family-friendly art experiential activities, museum exhibitions, musical instruments and animal petting zoos, creative writing workshops, an art walk, and other hands-on activities throughout the River Campus. The event is free and open to all ages in the entire region. The full River Campus Summer Arts Festival lineup is available here.

“We are very excited to host another great festival showcasing the work of artists from across our region, and giving the community an opportunity to celebrate the arts and visit the River Campus, enjoying all it has to offer,” said Rhonda Weller-Stilson, dean of Southeast’s Earl and Margie Holland College of Arts and Media. “There is something for everyone of all ages. From engaging live performances to hands-on art activities and competitions, families and art lovers can be a part of this special day.”

She said the River Campus Summer Arts Festival is the most popular event offered at the River Campus.

“Every year, we have people who attend for the first time and others that have been with us from the beginning,” she said.

“The River Campus Summer Arts Festival means so much to those of us that work on it throughout the year.  We are very passionate about celebrating all the arts,” she added. “We have activities running all day for everyone. Our greatest joy is seeing the smiling faces of everyone from toddlers to senior citizens.”

A free River Campus Summer Arts Festival Shuttle, sponsored by the University and the Rotary Club of Cape Girardeau, will transport visitors to the festival from multiple locations throughout downtown Cape Girardeau. A map indicating the shuttle route is available here.

This year’s festival will include two free performances of “The Aristocats KIDS” on the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall stage at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Both performances are open to the public and will not require ticket purchases. Based on the beloved Disney animated film, and featuring a jazzy, upbeat score, Disney’s “The Aristocats KIDS” is a non-stop thrill ride of feline fun, complete with unbelievable twists and turns. In the heart of Paris, a kind and eccentric millionaire wills her entire estate to Duchess, her high-society cat, and her three little kittens. Laughs and adventure ensue as the greedy, bumbling butler pulls off the ultimate catnap caper. Now it’s up to the rough-and-tumble alley cat, Thomas O’Malley, and his band of swingin’ jazz cats to save the day.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the young talent of children in the Cape Girardeau area,” Weller-Stilson said. “The cast of 9-14 year-olds have spent three weeks as part of Southeast’s summer youth theatre workshop honing their skills and experiencing costume fittings, music and dance rehearsals, acting lessons, and working with props and microphones. These performances are a culmination of their hard work and dedication. Festival patrons and families are sure to be proud and delighted by their performances. This year’s show is a hit you don’t want to miss.”

Other ticketed performances of “The Aristocats KIDS” are scheduled for June 14 at 7:30 p.m. and June 16 at 2 p.m.

Also on the Bedell stage at 12:30 p.m. will be dance performances by the Dance Consortium and Dance Intensive Camp.

Timothy Mooney

The River Campus is proud to welcome for the first time at the festival professional actor Timothy Mooney, who will perform his one-man Shakespeare productions. Mooney is the former founder and editor of “The Script Review” and also the former Artistic Director of Chicago’s Stage Two Theatre. Mooney will perform “A Little Bit o’Shakespeare” at 11:15 a.m. and “Shakespeare-On-Demand” at 4 p.m., both in the Wendy Kurka Rust Flexible Theatre.

A free sneak preview of the festival production of Disney’s “Newsies” will take place at 11 a.m. on the outdoor entertainment stage on the lawn behind the River Campus Main Complex. The “Newsies” cast, comprised of local high school students, University students and professional actors, will showcase music and dance numbers from the musical, which will be performed in its entirety at 7:30 p.m. in the Wendy Kurka Rust Flexible Theatre. Based on a Disney movie from 1992 and inspired by a true story, “Newsies” is about a newsboy Jack Kelly, who convinces fellow newsies from across New York City to strike against the rich publishers about unfair conditions against teenage newsboys. The story takes place at the turn of the century and is appropriate for family audiences.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. performance are $20 for adults and $18 for senior citizens. Tickets are on sale now and 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 Other performances of “Newsies” are scheduled for June 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. This show will also run two matinee performances on June 16 and June 23 at 2 p.m.

Additional outdoor entertainment will be provided by the Southeast Missouri Music Academy’s Suzuki Players, Chestnut Mountain Gang, Violin Dragoness Lydia Gentry, Steve Schaffner and the Jumper Cables, and the Jerry Ford Combo. Performances by the Southeast Steel Drum Alumni Band will take place in the Seminary Quad.

Food and drinks will be available all day from Chartwells in St. Vincent’s Commons in the Kenneth and Jeanine Dobbins River Campus Center, and from The Corner Store and the Kona Ice, Sugar Chic Creamery and Straight Line Swine food trucks. Attendees are also welcome to bring their own food and picnics.

Art studios and booths will offer demonstrations, art for sale from local artists, mask making and a photo booth multimedia center. Faculty members Louise Bodenheimer will demonstrate her artwork, and Benjie Heu will create ceramic pieces using a live pottery wheel, both in the Art Studio.

Local artist Craig Thomas will coordinate an “Avenue of Art” competition where participants of all ages may create chalk drawings for cash prizes. Thomas will also create his own chalk drawing for the festival. A magician will perform, and a tent for art activities, including face painting, mask making and rub-on-tattoos for kids will be available all day.

The Southeast Explorer, the University’s mobile museum, will be on display with its “Man on the Moon” exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing in 1969, and the Lazy L Safari petting zoo will be on hand for animal lovers to enjoy. Outdoor play areas will be available in the seminary quad, including bouncy houses and an art and geometry activity.

In the Dobbins Center, visitors are invited to Acting Laboratory Camp performances; stage combat exhibitions; a musical instrument petting zoo; forensic science, agriculture and Southeast Missouri Music Academy exhibits; Center for Regional History stations; and the Southern Graphic Council International Members Traveling Expo.

The Cultural Arts Center will have community theatre performances, including Jackie Carriera’s “Changing Rooms” by the River City Players and “Beauty and the Beast” by Between the Scenes Studios.

The “Biennial Faculty Exhibition,” an exhibition featuring a sampling of media created by Southeast’s Department of Art and Design faculty members, will be on display in the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum. The Museum also will host plein air and street painting art competitions. For more information and to register, visit

The Museum will also play short 10-minute films from the 2018 Fault Line Film Festival.

“Kids Yoga,” sponsored by the City of Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation department, will take place at 11 a.m. on the east patio behind the Cultural Arts Center.

Participants in the Studio of Visual Art Camp will have their work exhibited in the River Campus Art Gallery, where artists of all ages are also invited to learn how to make buttons and keychains.

Students in the Vocal Arts Boot Camp will perform “Sing Out!” twice during the day at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the Robert F. and Gertrude L. Shuck Music Recital Hall.

Those interested in dance are invited to visit the dance studios in both the Cultural Arts Center and the Dobbins Center where a variety of styles will be performed, including Aerial Arts, Ballet, Country Western, East Coast Swing, Hip-Hop, Tribal Vinyasa Yoga and Contemporary. Visitors may also enjoy a Dance Intensive Studio performance.

Other activities will include bookmark making, story time and a writing workshop by Dr. James Brubaker, assistant professor of English, and Dr. Dan Crocker, associate professor of English, in the Arts Resource Center.

Festival sponsors include Drury Hotels, the Earl and Margie Holland College of Arts and Media, Southeast Missouri State University, Rust Communications, City of Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation, KGMO, KBSI, River Radio, Pure Country C106.1, KRCU, SoutheastHEALTH, Isle Casino Cape Girardeau, Missouri Department of Conservation, US Bank, Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, Mary Jane’s Bourbon and Smokehouse, Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum, Rotary Club-Downtown Cape Girardeau Club, Ameren Missouri, the Becking Clinic, Cape Noon Optimist Club,  Jimmy John’s, Sugar Chic, Minglewood Brewery, Ford and Sons, and the University’s departments of art and design, music, English, and The Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance.  Partners include the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri, Old Town Cape, and the United Way of Southeast Missouri.

The full River Campus Summer Arts Festival lineup is available here.

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