Festival in the Park gets a new sibling this spring

Organizers of the annual fall arts event Festival in the Park are adding a more streamlined outing for the spring.

Fine artists and local emerging artists are slated to arrive for Kings Drive Art Walk on April 16. They will have a two-day stay on a new stretch of Little Sugar Creek Greenway, on Kings Drive between East Morehead Street and Pearl Park Way.

For 46 years, Festival in the Park has set out to be a family-oriented arts event. Yet it happens only once a year and doesn't have space to grow.

Last year, about 150 artists participated in the four-day program that also included music, performers, food vendors and other attractions.

Opening a new section of Little Sugar Creek Greenway last year created another venue for a community event, said David Dalton, board chairman for Festival in the Park.

Organizers see Kings Drive Art Walk, a pilot project, as an opportunity to involve a different set of businesses and organizations and put another part of the city in the spotlight.

"The greenway is a much more visible location," Dalton said. "You have public transit on Kenilworth and Kings Drive. There are parking decks in and around CPCC and flat parking strips in and around the greenway."

Food vendors and performers will be mostly absent from this event, although Dalton says jazz on the greenway's lower plaza would be a good fit.

Instead, the goal is to showcase 35-100 artists as well as the restaurants and other businesses along Kings Drive.

Central Piedmont Community College's annual Sensoria arts celebration also will take place April 16, within walking distance of Kings Drive Art Walk.

"We can collaborate with our neighbors and food outlets," Dalton said. "We want to make sure it's a win-win for everyone."

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