'Arti Gras' planned for McDonough Square

Art, music and food — with a New Orleans twist — will be featured at this year's Art in the Park "Arti Gras" event in McDonough.

The fifth annual Arti Gras, sponsored by the McDonough Arts Council, is scheduled for Sunday, April 18. The free event will be held from 12 to 5 p.m., on the McDonough Square, according to Faye Meyer, the event chairperson.

Arti Gras serves to promote the arts in Henry County, said Nan Lee, founder of the McDonough Arts Council.

"What the council is providing in McDonough and Henry County is an opportunity to come out and have an enjoyable, family oriented cultural opportunity," said Lee. "It's all kinds of genres we are promoting. It introduces people to art."

The event helps local artists by providing them a venue to showcase their work, Lee said. One local artist who set up a booth at last year's festival sold 12 paintings as a result of the exposure, Lee said.

Support shown by the community each year for the arts festival is strong, said Henry Arts Alliance President Lynna Schmidt.

"What's really great is the fact that they [the McDonough Arts Council] have enough support for the event that they can do it again," said Schmidt. "That's a huge boon for the community."

The event can be seen as a "fun and festive" opportunity for the entire family, she added.

Artists will set up booths to sell arts and crafts in a wide variety of media, said Meyer, including oil painting, pottery, stained glass, wood turning, jewelry, acrylics and impressionism-style painting. There will also be a children's section, she said.

"What people like about this is the opportunity for people to see a really eclectic group of artists," Meyer added.

Entertainment will be provided by the Nate Bennett Band.

"The band has been featured in and around the metro-Atlanta area in clubs and restaurants, playing the music of blues and jazz greats," Meyer said.

Several area restaurants were requested to serve New Orleans-inspired food.

After five years, the event has become a tradition in the community, said Meyer. "It began with the arts, the music and the food, and has become a signature event in the park," she added.