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Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival kicks off today

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Posted: Saturday, July 14, 2012 11:51 pm | Updated: 10:37 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, the biggest draw in the arts world of Interior Alaska, is off to a start today, ushering in two weeks of classes and performances at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and throughout the city.

Registration begins at

2 p.m., followed by an orientation session at 3, and auditions, placement and a reception at 4. Many of the events are centered in and around Davis Concert Hall on campus, but classes and performances will vary in their location. The festival runs through July 29.

Don’t let the concept of auditioning for placement scare you; the festival is open to participants regardless of skill level, said Terese Kaptur, festival director. This year’s festival includes more than 60 performances in Fairbanks and more than 40 outreach programs, where instructors, artists and performers take their classes and shows on the road to surrounding Interior cities and villages. Classes and performers will also take their expertise to local head start programs, the Denali Center and other non-traditional venues in Fairbanks.

“You can expect to have an adventure in the arts, a cultural experience infused with passion,” Kaptur said of this year’s offerings. “The artists are coming from all over the world, and they are bringing high-quality art and performances.”

It’s not just the instructors who are coming from all over the world, but some of the participants, too. Some of the attendees this year are from as far away as Tasmania, Kaptur said.

As far as classes, the festival offers everything from accordion, brass, cabaret and creative writing to healing arts, theater, voice, woodwinds and world music.

One of the expanded classes this year is the festival’s culinary offerings. The festival incorporated culinary classes last year, and because of the popularity, expanded the program this year. Participants can learn top techniques in Thai, Italian, Cajun, Mexican and others.

The festival has 184 classes planned this year, taught by 120 guest artists.

The festival started in 1980 under the guidance of Jo Ryman Scott as a one-week jazz festival. It’s since grown into one of the most prominent arts events in Alaska. For complete registration information, including times, dates and locations of performances, instructors and their bios, check the festival’s website at

Tickets to performances can also be purchased on the website.

Contact features editor Gary Black at 459-7537.

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