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50th annual Art-A-Fest will be Saturday, Aug. 19, in Charles City’s Central Park

50th annual Art-A-Fest will be Saturday, Aug. 19, in Charles City’s Central Park
Haley Nyberg, then almost 3, and her mother Meg Nyberg, who had recently moved to Charles City with her husband, Patrick, to be teachers, pick out an item to purchase from Meredith Hamm at the Hamm Arts booth, at the 2022 Art-a-Fest in Charles City’s Central Park. This year’s event will be Saturday, Aug. 19. Press file photo by Bob Steenson
By Bob Steenson,

The 50th annual Art-a-Fest will be held in Charles City on Saturday, Aug. 19, featuring more than 40 artists, live music, food vendors, interactive arts activities for kids and more in the city’s Central Park.

“This festival fulfills an important role in the community and surrounding areas by supporting and celebrating local artists,” said Ashley Koebrick-Schmidt, Art-A-Fest chair.

“Our goal is to make the arts accessible to all members of our community during this one-day, free event,” she said.

50th annual Art-A-Fest will be Saturday, Aug. 19, in Charles City’s Central Park
2023 Art-A-Fest logo

“Each year our committee works hard to make the event a success for exhibitors and shoppers. Area businesses and individuals interested in promoting and encouraging the arts help sponsor the event with financial contributions. Cash prizes are awarded to artists whose work is judged superior, and Art-a-Fest bucks are awarded to lucky shoppers to purchase artwork,” Koebrick-Schmidt said.

​The event is held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Central Park.

A unique attraction this year will be free immersive art sessions, examining “transforming stories through art.”

Angela Waseskuk, a studio artist and a member of the fine arts faculty at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, will lead three sessions with hands-on activities.

The session will be “The Self Portrait” from 10:30 to 11 a.m., “Collaborations and Participation,” from 1 to 1:20 p.m., and Everyday Materials,” from 3 to 3:30 p.m.

Waseskuk received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting in 2003 from the University of Northern Iowa and her master’s in sculpture and dimensional studies in 2007 from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. She also studied at the Yale Norfolk School of Art in Norfolk, Connecticut.

Registration is available for the sessions at

Planning to appear at this year’s event are 46 artists who work in a wide range of mediums, plus student artists from Charles City High School.

Expected artists are Bruce W. Litterer, Bill Haywood, James Kerns, Mickey Johnson, Brittany Wheeler, Cheryl DeBower, Kurt Wedeking, Brittnie, Annette Oleson, Mike Stevens, Douglas Cole, Troy Thomas, Alisa L. Engelhardt Smith, Shelby Levendusky, Amy and Lisa Chatfield, Judy Sebern Beachy, Cynthia Zelenak, Kathi Fehr, Darlene Shultz, Janiece Bergland, Mariah Piippo, Lori Nyburg, Madalyn Vorrie, Anne Boerschel, Ashley Koebrick Schmidt, Melissa Nelson, Shana Rainey, Meredith Hamm, Stephen Schiller, Ted Scheidel, Andreas Soemadi, Ann Bishop McGregor, Audrey Mae Schlei, Candida Deree, Ryan Halbur, Dale O’Connell, Deb Stockberger, Mike Hassig, Eddie Hesalroad, Dennis Helmers, Tracy Ingham, Yokido Johnson, Ruben Ruiz, Michelle Juhl, Julie A. Hughes, and high school students Addison Tracey and Ellie Gassman, sponsored by Prologue Books & Wine.

Kids free activities include yard games, sidewalk chalk art, spin art and bubble art, rock painting and handprint art.

Musicians appearing at this year’s Art-A-Fest are 17-year-old Clarksville instrumentalist James Aissen; music therapist and performer Emily Ann Bauer; and The Love Radishes, a ’60s to ’90s rock band formed by Charles City graduates Jerry Lee Funk and Dan Linde.

Vendors include Sweetmama Bakes decorated sugar cookies and open decorating, Tellurian Brewing, food trucks Island Grill, The Taco Shack, The Shiver N’ Squirrel, Black Sheep Express and Cedar Valley Express, and face-painting by Lela Haglund.

The regular Saturday morning farmer’s market will also be set up in Blunt Street next to the park from 9 a.m. to noon.

Judge for the art show for participating artists is Laura Gleissner, the gallery director at the University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art. She will award first, second and third-place prizes, honorable mentions and a special award in honor of Jean Semelhack.

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