Looking Back: Open Arts Fest

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Hi my name is Johnathan Williams, I am a visual artist, beatmaker, DJ, and I was on the Open Arts Fest planning team this year. I had a lot of fun this summer planning Open Arts Fest, and I also learned a lot and gained more experience for a career.

Open Arts Fest is important to me because it gives me and others a place to see performances and take part in fun art activities in the community. I think that an event like this is important to have because it exposes people to different forms of art and fun activities, but it is also a great way for me to connect with other teens around our creativity and expressing ourselves. Also, the event is based on our open studio model, so people can go at their own pace with the activities and performances that are happening. 


The planning team for Open Arts Fest met three times a week to plan and make decisions around different parts of the event, such as the schedule, activities, decorations, community partners, evaluation, and marketing plan. One of the three weekly meetings was a training for Grow Detroit’s Young Talent. In these trainings we talked about things such as banking, how non-profit work, communication and professionalism, job searching and resumes, and self-awareness and personal growth. 

Open Arts Fest 2019 this year was really fun, and there was a lot to do! I wish the event had been a little longer so we could have had time to have more fun getting into the arts activities after the performances, but I still had a great time.The performances by Mosaic, Living Arts dancers, and really all of them were great. I could see everyone was enjoying the event.

For next year, I hope that we can invite more people, and have more activities and performances during the event. We are also already working on bringing in some live art and more activities for outside. Lastly, I would like the event to be later in the evening so that we can have more teens there and so it will be less hot outside for the activities and performances. Overall I think that the Open Arts Fest was fun and important for the community and we hope to get a wider audience of teens next year.