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Communiversity will showcase a local feel in Princeton

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Visitors who attend the Communiversity ArtsFest will be able to experience not only art, but a local feel to the activities, food and performances that will take place during the annual festival.

Communiversity is a hands-on art festival with fun, art, music and food that represents the local communities in the Princeton area.

On April 28, the festival will be staged from 1-6 p.m. and occur in Princeton at Palmer Square, Nassau Street, Witherspoon Street and the Princeton University campus.

“The original name of Communiversity was the Art People Party,” said Jim Levine, Interim Executive Director of the Arts Council of Princeton. “Over the years we may have strayed a little bit from the origins and made it more of a town gown festival. For the past couple years, we have been trying to bring the festival back to its roots of being an arts festival.”

There is an emphasis by the Arts Council to make certain local organizations and artists are showcased at the annual event.

“We select and accept as many local businesses, organizations, vendors, artists, and performances. Over 85% of the 200 booths in the festival are of people and organizations within five miles of Princeton,” Levine said.

He said for 2019, 79 non-profits will have booths at the festival. And he reported that 78 of those non-profits are from Princeton.

“Our mission is to build community through the arts and non-profits are an important part of the community. This is a chance for them to come out and show the people of Princeton and the surrounding area, all the good things their non-profits are doing,” Levine said.

He said the Arts Council really wants to give attendees the flavor of all of the things that happen in Princeton.

There are 40 performance acts set to take the stages in downtown for live entertainment during the festival, most of whom are local acts, according to Melissa Kuscin, Program and Marketing Manager at the Arts Council of Princeton.

“This arts festival features a lot of local artists in addition to food and music. We have always had a presence with art projects for the public,” said Maria Evans, Artistic Director of the Arts Council of Princeton. “This year like many years in the past we will be on Palmer Square with some art-making booths.”

Levine said the festival is also a great opportunity for the Arts Council to showcase the variety of the things that they do.

“We will have children’s art making, adult art making, we will have artists, ceramics, and our doors at the Paul Robeson Center will be open to see exhibits,” he said. “People will get to see what the Arts Council does and in general will get to see the vibrancy of the art community in Princeton.”

Levine said he believes they are building back to the roots of the festival to focus on the arts.

“In the past when you see the variety of booths, vendors and art being created it achieves one of goals that people have a good time. We are working very hard on making sure people enjoy themselves on the day, but also have a chance to create some art,” Levine said. “Whether it is food vendors, merchants, artists or non-profits, this festival gives people a chance to learn about all that goes on in this community.”

He said people like to have a chance to make art.

“The interactive art demonstrations are fun for all ages and that is part of the enjoyment of coming to Communiversity. It is a chance to do some hands-on art and engage in the arts,” Levine said. “This festival is not just about looking at art being created or having been created, but about getting people’s hands dirty.”

He said there are two top things he wants people to takeaway from Communiversity.

“One is local. This event predominately features local artists, local vendors, local food, and local musicians,” Levine said. “Number two is that it is an arts festival. There is a lot of art to see being made, there is a lot of art to make yourself and lots of art to buy. You get to see artists showcase and sell their work.”

He said he also believes it is important that the Arts Council bring people together with their festival.

“This is a well run event that gets a lot of support from the municipal government, the students of Princeton and volunteers. It is gratifying when you have all these people coming together and creating a good time for 40,000 people.”

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