Arts in the Heart of Augusta is back on a smaller scale

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Augusta, GA (WJBF)- As some festivals are getting cancelled because of the pandemic, a popular Augusta one is still on, but with a twist.

This year the Augusta Greater Arts Council is hosting, the temporarily re-branded, ArtsCity Festival– a mini version of Arts in the Heart of Augusta. The concept is the same but as we found out some changes are being made for COVID safety.

“Everyone’s favorite portions of the festival in the same foot print. It’s just a few things were eliminated due to the pandemic,” said Brenda Durant, Director of the Greater Augusta Arts Council.

Durant told us they originally planned to have a traditional Arts in the Heart festival, but in January they decided to make some changes.

“And then vaccine came and we thought, we still thought oh should we open it back up and thank goodness we made the right decision to keep it at a little smaller, safer festival.”

Changes to festivals last year made a huge impact, locally. Bennish Brown, president and CEO of Destination Augusta, said the city lost nearly $19 million dollars.

“Some of them were just postponed until a later date, but certainly a huge loss to us, not to mention the loss in jobs that we had,” Brown said.

“Well festival artists took a giant hit. If you make your livelihood selling your artwork at festivals, it’s like your company closed,” Durant said.

Brown explained that the return of concerts and festivals, even on a smaller scale like ArtsCity is a big deal for local business.

“We get excited when we are able to see some of these events come back and we’re able to see our restaurants able to increase capacity,” he said.

Durant is excited, because Westabou is donating a fun new attraction this year– people will get to ride a Ferris wheel.

There are also some exciting performances to look forward to. There will be lots of performers on the two stages including the Evans High School musical theater students and former Broadway actor Russell Joel Brown.

The festival from from 5:00 tonight to 7:00 on Sunday night. Wrist bands at $15 at the gate to get in.

CLICK HERE for more information on the ArtsCity Festival.

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