Olney Arts Council President Keegan Tucker recently reflected on a successful 2018 fall festival.
The council strives to foster an appreciation and education in the fine arts, which includes providing outlets for local artists to share and showcase their work with the public and to provide a platform for them to make money from their labor and art.
Tucker said, “This also means finding ways to include education in our events, such as the bee-keeping demonstration from this year. We want people to know that art is important, whether it is visual or performance related, vital to our existence as humans in terms of expression and communication, and alive and well in Olney.”
The fall festival features artists and craftsmen from local and surrounding communities and nearby states. This year approximately fifteen cities were represented by artisans and performers.
Tucker oversees the council committees and festival board.
He said, “I make sure that our Performing Arts Committee and Entertainment Chairman, Neita Lenear, are working to get entertainment lined up ... I also keep in close contact with our Secretary, Rhoda Slichenmeyer, as she handles all Fall Festival applications and coordinates the setup … I make sure the board knows I am available to help assist them in anyway I can to make the event as successful as possible.”
For the 2018 event, the board followed tradition to exclusively feature the original and hand-made work of artists and craftsmen. The success of the event is the result of one entire year of dedicated planning.
When each festival comes to an end, the council and festival board meets to evaluate and discuss the strengths of the event and what they can improve for the following year. Tucker reported that the board begins making those improvements immediately.  
Tucker was overall very pleased with the 2018 festival. He said, “As a board, we felt that the Festival in its entirety went extremely well! Of course, there are always things can be made better, so those things are in discussion and planning now!” he said.
The president was grateful for pleasant weather, many returning vendors, and David Dhom, the bee keeper showcased at the demonstration booth.
Dhom provided education on bee-keeping, the significance of bees and their honey, and the health benefits of locally made honey.
Tucker was happy with a crowd pleasing entertainment line-up this year and watching the children enjoy themselves.
He said, “The children really seemed to enjoy the balloon art and face-painting booth as that booth was busy all day! We also saw several children walking around proudly strutting their face-paint and balloon art to their friends and family.”
Tucker was impressed with the board and festival volunteers setting up in record time this year. He said, “We have had nights where we are in the park until dark setting up for the next day’s festivities. This year was not the case! Everyone on the board, and those volunteers who assisted us, had everything so organized prior to setup that we were done in under 2 hours! That is what I call teamwork making the dreamwork!”
Tucker foresees new entertainment in celebration of the 45th festival anniversary in 2019.
Tucker said, “We hope to have a few special treats for everyone next year as we celebrate our 45th anniversary!”
The council hopes the festival will continue to grow, allowing them to feature more artists, painters, photographers, iron-molders, woodworkers, and more.
Tucker is has been involved with the OAC for over three years. He has been president for two years. He brings inspiration, enthusiasm, and dedication to the role in the spirit of service.
He said, “Olney has been very gracious in encouraging young people like myself in our pursuits of the arts, whether it be performing or visual.”
“Being a part of the OAC Board allows me the opportunity to continue that mindset for future generations, providing outlets for them to learn about and further develop their craft.”
OAC is always looking for new members as membership is the lifeline that provides the funding which enables the council to bring arts related experiences to the community.
Parties interested in membership can visit the website, https://www.olneyartscouncil.com/membership.html, to find out how and learn about the perks of being a member!
Student memberships are available for $10 for individuals between the ages of 16-21.
For more information or to inquire contact info@olneyartscouncil.com.