This year’s Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival, which kicks off June 1, will feature a collaboration of not only international entities but national, state and local as well, and will include activities for children.
Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation board member Karen Foster has been busy the last several months organizing opening day events at the Stauffacher Center for the Fine Arts at State Fair Community College. This year will feature not only free ragtime entertainment in the Parkhurst Commons, but a joining of different agencies that will provide a treasure hunt, children’s crafts and a noon children’s lunch through the Summer Food Program.
Karen Foster said she approached the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art at SFCC about a treasure hunt featuring art and ragtime music titles. Daum Director Tom Piché steered her to the Sedalia Visual Art Association, which is scheduled to open an exhibit in the Goddard Gallery in May. SVAA members agreed to focus their exhibit this year around a ragtime music theme.
Then, taking Karen Foster in a new and additional direction, was a chance meeting with Sue Foster (no relation), the coordinator of the Summer Food Program for Open Door Service Center.
“We found we were kindred souls on doing things out-of-the-box,” Sue Foster said.
“When we met it was like energy going back and forth,” Karen Foster added. “I said well, ‘would you like to bring lunches out to State Fair (College)?’”
Sue Foster said she acquired the services of the OATS bus to pick up children from various points to bring them to SFCC for the day’s activities and lunch.
“I met with my youth director (Melissa Stockwill) Monday and she’s going to start early on the 24th and go out to some of our feeding sites and get out information and get the permission,” she said.
She estimated they would bring 20 to 30 children for the event.
Karen Foster added that she expected additional children to attend the event because she was approaching home-school students and Sedalia School District 200 about the day’s activities.
“It’s a win-win all the way around,” Sue Foster said. “Anytime anybody can partner together and make something bigger and better — we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We already have things in place going on, so if we can work together and put our little pieces together, we can get a lot accomplished.
“We like this because this gets us out onto a different venue,” she added. “USDA from Kansas City is actually sending someone from the Summer Food Program to come and check this out. So, we’re excited about that, they are the ones who reimburse us for our meals.”
“We have a collaboration here,” Karen Foster noted. “We have a federal government food program, we have a state college, we have a local art association, in the Goddard Gallery, and we have Scott Joplin who is international, and it’s all free.”
She added that there are ticketed ragtime concerts at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. inside the Stauffacher Theatre.
Along with complementary performances from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Karen will offer the treasure/art hunt for children and adults from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and art and crafts for children from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Summer Food Program lunches will be served from noon to 1 p.m.
For the treasure hunt aspect, Karen Foster will offer several interactive points for children to learn about art and ragtime. She came up with a list of of 11 ragtime tunes and 15 SVAA artists will have pieces in the exhibit to match those tunes.
“The 15 (pieces) will be identified and the kids will go around and find one and try to figure which of the 11 ragtime tunes it goes with, by the title or by the picture,” she noted. “They will come back and I have a key and I’ll give them a sucker.
“It was just a neat idea that the Daum did way-back-when, and now that I was on the board, I thought I’d like to reinstate it,” she added. “It’s very interdisciplinary …”
Karen Foster said she approached her friend Karren Gebhart about craft ideas for the day and they came up with ragtime-period hat-decorating.
“We’re making little boy top hats out of cardboard, and I bought straw hats for the girls,” she noted. “They will decorate them with music notes or initials.”
She added that she welcomes donations of ribbons, feathers, fabric notions and flowers for the hats.
The Summer Food Program lunches are offered to all children 18 and under, featuring a chicken wrap, sliced oranges, carrot sticks with ranch dressing and chocolate, white or strawberry milk.
“We’re going to set it up as a picnic (next to Parkhurst Commons) with picnic table clothes and make it festive,” Sue Foster said.
Both women are excited about bringing Scott Joplin events and the food program together.
“We like this too, because we’ve got the food thing down,” Sue Foster said. “But we are trying to advance our program and do more activities in the summer time — what a perfect activity, art and music. How are you going to beat that?”
For more information or to donate craft items for the event, email Karen Foster at email@example.com.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.