Monday, May 7, 2012

20 Performance Groups Scheduled for 2012 Waco Cultural Arts Fest

The music line-up for the 2012 Waco Cultural Arts Fest to be held Sept. 22-23 is filled with 20 outstanding performing groups ranging from local students to nationally known professionals. 

On Sat. Sept. 22, the Indian Spring Park Amphitheatre will provide live entertainment from 11 am to 11 pm.  Concert goers will hear several orchestras, a Mariachi band, a Renaissance group, plus several bands playing original music in the genres of country, rock, bluegrass, and more. Several dance groups will dazzle the audience with colorful costumes, precision dancing, and expressive movements.  

Sunday from noon to 5 pm the main stage will include performances of children’s theatre, world music, percussion ensembles, a vocalist, and a Latin traditional band.

There are almost 5 months left to get ready for this year’s festival.  During this time, I’ll be writing blogs about most of the 20 music groups scheduled for the event so you’ll be anticipating the performances even more.  The names of the performers will be revealed gradually. I’m very excited about every group that has agreed to perform!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

$15,000 NEA Grant Awarded for Doris Miller Memorial

The National Endowment for the Arts recently awarded the Waco Cultural Arts Fest (aka Cultural Arts of Waco) a $15,000.00 grant to support the commissioning and installation of a public art sculpture of Doris Miller in Bledsoe-Miller Park in Waco. 

The NEA reviews thousands of grant applications every year in all areas of art.  A giant thank you goes to WCAF president Doreen Ravenscroft who spends hours researching and writing grant applications such as this NEA Grant that promotes art in Waco.  About 50 visual arts grants have been awarded by NEA in 2012.  WCAF is honored to have received one.

The Doris Miller Memorial sculpture will honor Waco resident and World War II serviceman Doris Miller (1919-43), the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross for heroism. The figurative bronze sculpture and historical reliefs will be created by sculptor Eddie Dixon (b. 1950) and the site design will be developed by architect Stan Carroll. The site overlooks the Brazos River across the river from Indian Spring Park where the annual Waco Cultural Arts Fest is held.

What is the NEA?
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

$25K Grant Awarded to WCAF

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 was a joyful day for the Waco Cultural Arts Fest (WCAF)!  The Waco City Council agreed to provide $25,000 in funding to WCAF.  Each year $150,000 hotel/motel tax is set aside for Waco arts organizations. This is WCAF's first time to receive part of the money from the hotel/motel tax monies thanks to the persistent work of the festival's founder and president Doreen Ravenscroft and her volunteers.

The City funding has stipulations for its use.  WCAF will use the money to help advertize the festival to a wider area including the Dallas and Austin markets.  It will also be used  to help bring in top quality musical acts.

The Waco Cultural Arts Fest provided free entertainment and art experiences for all ages for about 18,000 people last Sept. 2011. Visitors were also able to buy quality art work from juried professional art vendors.

Dates for the 2012 Festival in Indian Spring Park are September 21-23.

Future blogs will tell about new events and activities in 2012.

Friday, November 11, 2011

WCAF Seeks Donations for Doris Miller Memorial

Today is Veteran’s Day:  11-11-11.  America is celebrating those who currently serve and have served previously in the United States Military.

In Waco, TX we especially honor our hometown hero, Doris Miller. On December 7, 1941 Doris Miller earned the Navy Cross with acts of bravery and heroism at Pearl Harbor.  He was the nation's first celebrated hero of World War II.

The Cultural Arts of Waco is preparing to build a lasting memorial commemorating Doris Miller on the east bank of the Brazos River in his home town of Waco, TX.

The Doris Miller Memorial project is a community effort.   Contributions towards this project sponsored by the Cultural Arts of Waco are greatly appreciated. 

We would like as many people as possible to take pride and ownership in the beautiful sculpture that will add to the beauty of Waco’s landscape on a two acre memorial site on the Brazos River.  Your contribution will enable the construction of a monument of national significance and historical importance. 

For credit card donations, please visit our website at On Dec. 7, 2011, all donors will be recognized in the Waco Tribune Herald.

Fund-raising Chairs Ambassador:  Lyndon Olson and Kay Olsen
Memorial Committee Chair:   Professor Gerald Powell
Cultural Arts of Waco  Chair:    Doreen Ravenscroft 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Drum Ceremony to Honor ‘Stickworks’ Sculpture Finale

Master drum maker Rich Spirit of Cincinnati, Ohio along with Wacoans Isabel Torres and Sandi Horton are assembling local drummers to provide a ceremony honoring the finale of the Stickworks sculpture located in Cameron Park’s Pecan Bottoms beginning at 5 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2011.  Cultural Arts of Waco President Doreen Ravenscroft is sharing a few words about the process and significance of the event. Marc Mormino is organizing A Cappella singers from Stonhenj to present a few selections before the ceremony concludes at 6 pm. The event is open to the public.

The impressive ‘Stickworks’ structure was completed last October by internationally acclaimed artist Patrick Dougherty assisted by dozens of local volunteers using willow saplings found in the Waco wetlands.  The project was funded by the Waco Cultural Arts Fest and a matching grant from the National Endowment of the Arts.

Unfortunately, the severely hot weather in Waco this summer followed by a recent wind and rain storm has destroyed the integrity of the art work.  Tens of thousands of Central Texans and tourists have enjoyed this amazing art work during its year long life. The temporary sculpture was planned to be disassembled when the natural materials naturally decomposed.  The damaged structure will be removed this week.

After the ceremony concludes at 6 pm, community members are invited to join the drum circle.  Rich Spirit will provide handmade Ashiko drums for all who wish to participate.  Drumming experience is not necessary to attend the free drum circle/workshop.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Three Waco Dance Companies to Perform at Cultural Arts Fest on Sat. Sept. 17, 2011

The FREE Waco Cultural Arts Fest 2011 starts in just 9 days at Indian Spring Park.

Three Waco dance studios will bring their best performers to the Indian Spring Amphitheater on Sat. Sept. 17 between 2 – 4 pm.
All That Jazz Dance Academy will kick off the dance performances at 2 pm with 18 dancers, ages 9-25.  They will perform jazz, modern, and hip hop dances for the festival using the music of artists Alanis Morisette, Aerosmith, Frou Frou, Johnny Kemp, and more.
Regina Nix is the owner, director and the main instructor for the All That Jazz dancers.  They compete at Starbound National Talent Competition, Dance Educators of America, Cathy Roe Productions, and  I Love Dance. They also perform at local events such as the HOT Fair, Race for the Cure, Hip Hop to Health, local nursing homes, Deck The Halls, and weddings. 
Dancers from All That Jazz Dance Academy have also performed on several Carnival Cruise ships, at Walt Disney World, in New York on Fuse TV, at New York Visitors Center, and in Hawaii at the Ala Moana Mall and the Polynesian Cultural Center. 
Regina Nix is assisted by teachers Stacia Barrett, Christi Holt, Casey Jessup, Cassie Commerford and Blaine Peters at All That Jazz.
At 2:30 pm, Joy’s School of Dance students will take the stage with their 26 member dance company of dancers ages 12 – 18.  They will perform pieces from their 2011 spring recital with a theme of ‘Circus’ using ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop dances.
JSOD performs at many community events throughout the year including HOT Fair and Rodeo, Deck the Halls, JSOD Holiday Show, Waco Children's Symphony, Zoo Tunes, Hooray for Families Expo, Various School Carnivals, National Night Out, National Dance Day, Movies in the Park, JSOD Spring Recital, and TATD Floor Show.
Natalie George is the owner and artistic director of JSOD assisted by Lydia Spano and Sam Adair.
The Expressions Dance Company from the Jenni Holley Dance Studio will perform at 3:00 pm.  Approximately 20 dancers between the ages of 12-18 will perform ballet, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop using world music, pop, and rock selections.
The Expressions Dance Company competes at New York City Dance Alliance, Co. Dance, The Pulse by Broadway Dance Center, Tremaine, Cathy Roe Ultimate Dance, Starlight, Showstoppers, Celebrity, Starpower, and Artists Simply Human.
In addition to the WCAF, the EDC has also performed at the Heart of Texas Fair, State Fair of Texas, Deck the Halls, Junior League Mother-Daughter Tea, and Waco Kidz Expo. 
Jenni Holley is the director and lead instructor of the Dance Company assisted by Shiree King.  Other instructors at the Jenni Holley Dance Studio are Liz Rogers, Michelle Godin, and Molly McGrew.

More information about the WCAF can be found at:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Drum Workshops Led By Rich Spirit Borthwick

The Waco Cultural Arts Fest 2011 starts in just 10 days at Indian Spring Park. Admission is FREE for all ages.

Rich Spirit Borthwick will be returning to lead his Ashiko drum construction workshops.  Rich has been making drums for 13 years and teaching workshops for 10 years.

An Ashiko is an African drum that originated in Nigeria.  It is also popular in Central and South America and Cuba especially in drum circles, parades or during carnivals.  The Ashiko is characterized by a truncated cone shape.  It is usually played with bare hands in a slapping manner.

Workshops to make an Ashiko drum will be located near the suspension bridge on Sat. and Sun. Sept. 17-18.  Be prepared to use ‘hands on’ craft skills such as gluing, using wood working tools, and knot tying.  You’ll also need some strength to tighten your drum head to achieve the quality of sound you like.  This workshop will develop a love of drumming and appreciation for the drum you build.

Borthwick will also give instructions to help participants play the Ashiko drums.

More information about the WCAF can be found at: