The "New World Arts Festival" in Ventura this weekend celebrates North and South American art, music and poetry, and offers activities as diverse as a puppet show and a tour of artists' homes and studios.
The Ventura Arts Council is tying the celebration, which focuses on culture in the Americas, with Columbus Day on Monday.
The weekend begins with the Magical Moonshine Puppet Theatre using giant puppets, masks and music to present "Animal Folktales of the Americas." The performance will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Sheridan Way School, 573 Sheridan Way, Ventura. Advance tickets are $3 for children and $5 for adults; at the door, they are $4 for children and $5.50 for adults.
Local Chumash legends will be told by storytellers Michael Ward and Vincent Tutaimait--who is of Chumash descent--accompanied by flute music from several Indian tribes by Renee Janton. The program "Corn Songs and Coyote Stories" will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday in the courtyard of the Old Livery, 34 N. Palm St.
Saturday evening will be highlighted with a poetry reading in English and Spanish. Chicano poets Luzma Espinosa; Armando Garcia and Jesus Perez, both of Los Angeles; Armando Vallejo of Santa Barbara, and Diane Wyman of Ventura will read from their works. The "Poema" reading will be from 7 to 9 p.m. at the City Bakery, 2358-C E. Main St.
Stone lithographs by Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo, who is celebrating his 90th birthday, will be on display along with hand-colored copper etchings by engraver Carazo Rosales. Acrylic and gesso paintings by Mexican artists Mario Romero Mauricio and Fernando Robles will be featured in an exhibition titled "Mexican Masters," opening Sunday with a reception from 2 to 5 p.m.
Guitarist Ben Medrano will perform pieces by South American composers at a reception at the Momentum Gallery in the Old Livery, 34 N. Palm St. The exhibition, which will continue to Nov. 18, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends.
Also Sunday afternoon, a guided tour of historic buildings and artists' studios and galleries on or just off Ventura Avenue will be given. Minibuses depart Westpark, 450 W. Harrison Ave., at 11 and 11:45 a.m., and 12:45 and 1:30 p.m. Tours are free and reservations are suggested.
The diversity of Latino music and dance with Latin jazz, fusion, salsa, cumbias, rock 'n' roll and protest songs will be presented in a concert at the Ventura Theatre, 26 S. Chestnut St. " Cantos por Las Americas ," will include the Ventura County band Nuestro; a Latin jazz group called the Casey Jones Quartet and El Ballet Folklorico Regional de Oxnard. It will be held Sunday at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15.
For information on all events, contact the Ventura Arts Council at (805) 653-0828.