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Celebrate the arts and Alaska Grown produce at the Chena River State Recreation Area on Aug. 25-26

(Fairbanks, AK) – The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation and the Division of Agriculture invite the public to attend an Arts in the Parks celebration at the Chena River State Recreation Area this Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25-26.

This event will feature plein air painting, group art projects for children, a Dutch oven cook-off with Alaska Grown vegetables, and camping at the scenic and newly renovated Red Squirrel Campground at Mile 43 on the Chena Hot Springs Road.

“The outdoors has a way of inspiring the inner artist in everyone,” said Brooks Ludwig, superintendent for Alaska State Parks, Northern Region. “Participating in our Arts in the Parks event is one more way to enjoy the outdoors this summer,” he said.

The Arts in the Parks program encourages the public to enjoy their state parks through art activities and outdoor recreation. Launched by Alaska State Parks in 2011, the program featured five events around the state this summer. This is the final event of the year and planning is underway for next summer’s events. Plein air painting – in which artists paint outdoor scenes – is a major component of the program. Alaskan artists who plan to attend this event include Helen Howard, Jim Leach, Dawn Aumann, Vladimir Zhikhartsev, Jeanne Cannon, and Anne Aleshire.

“The Arts in the Parks program provides a unique opportunity for citizens and visitors alike to explore their creative side while witnessing the grandeur of our state parks,” said Shannon Daut, executive director of the Alaska State Council on the Arts. The council this year provided a community arts development grant to the program.

The Aug. 25-26 event also offers an opportunity for the public to learn about the state’s Alaska Grown program while participating in a Dutch oven cook-off.  A variety of locally-grown vegetables grown by Tanana Valley farmers will be provided for event participants to cook and share on Saturday night, which will culminate with a potluck dinner and art show.

“Alaska Grown produce is closer, fresher, and better than food that has been grown elsewhere,” said Amy Pettit, marketing specialist with the Division of Agriculture. “Like the scenic beauty of our State Parks, Alaska Grown produce nourishes the mind, body, and soul,” she said.

The event is free, family-friendly and will be held rain or shine. Dutch ovens and firewood will be provided for the cook-off and overnight camping fees will be waived.

“Whether you paint or draw, simply appreciate the beauty of nature captured in art, or enjoy cooking delicious veggies over an open fire, please invite your family and friends and plan to join us,” said David Griffin, the Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation’s Arts in the Parks coordinator.

Schedule of activities:

Friday, August 24

·        Campers arrive

Saturday, August 25

·        11 a.m. - Event kickoff at main tent

·        12 p.m. – Kids’ group art project

·        2 p.m. - Guided nature hike

·        3 p.m. - Kids’ abstract painting

·        5 p.m. - Dutch oven 101

·        7 p.m. - Potluck dinner and art show

Sunday, August 26

·        12 p.m. - Art show

To learn more about this event, or for information on the Arts in the Parks program, please contact Alaska State Parks Project Coordinator David Griffin at (907) 269-8696, or by email at david.griffin@alaska.gov, or visit www.alaskastateparks.org.

Red Squirrel Campground is located at Mile Post 43 of the Chena Hot Springs Road. For more information about the campground, go to http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/aspunits/northern/rdsqrlcamp.htm.

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