Performance, demonstrations of the visual arts, poetry and pantomime are all part of KidzArtz on Saturday1 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. throughout Balboa Park.
The free event will provide kindergarteners through ninth-graders and their parents with a cultural experience and help to offset cutbacks in school art programs, said Elaine Krieger, who created the program.
Artists-in-residence from the San Diego Unified School District will assist children with mural painting, dancing and singing. Professionals such as concert pianist Gustavo Romero; folk singer Sam Hinton; Friz Freleng, the creator of Bugs Bunny and the Pink Panther, and international concert pianist Ada Kopetz-Korf will appear. Local artist and founder of the Ilan-Lael Foundation, James Hubbell, will demonstrate and lead participants through stained-glass techniques. African troupe Diamano Coura will perform.
The festival is co-sponsored by the San Diego Unified School District, the San Diego County Office of Education and the Ilan-Lael Foundation. It has been endorsed by the San Diego Parent-Teacher Assn. and Mayor Maureen O'Connor. Donations were made by local businesses.
"We're hoping for 20,000 to 30,000 people to attend," Krieger said. "We feel the festival will draw children and their parents from all over the county. This will be a wonderful opportunity for them to get close to the artists and performers, talk to them and get a real feel for what the arts are all about."
There will be a free shuttle service from the County Administration Building parking lots on Pacific Highway to Balboa Park when lots fill up in the park.
Howard Qvarnstrom, coordinator for the Arts of the San Diego County Office of Education, said that quality programs such as KidzArtz are greatly welcomed.
"Events like this make a big impression on kids," he said. "It not only raises art consciousness in children but in their parents as well, and as a result there is a larger interest in keeping art programs going in schools."
According to Qvarnstrom, the arts in elementary through high school are slowly diminishing due to lack of funds.
"We have the toughest time providing specialists to teach the arts in the elementary schools," he said. "We don't have the money to hire them and we don't have the budget to incorporate the classes into the day."
Krieger said she wants San Diego to take the event seriously and hopes to make it an annual happening.
"This is not a carnival or circus," she said. "We're not selling anything, and there will be no clowns during the program. This is a quality art event filled with educational value. The arts have enriched my life and now I would like to give something back."