Published on July 19th, 2018 | by Jessica Williams


Small Town Love: Poetry & Cultural Arts Festival

For years, we have seen various advertisements and marketing campaigns focused on the importance of keeping the arts in our schools across the country. But many people aren’t aware of the importance of bringing poetry and the cultural arts to small towns across the country. There are still a large number of small towns throughout the country that lack diversity, inclusion, and the ability that allows its residents to really show off multiple levels of creativity and artistry. Once city in particular that is slowly starting to change this is the city of Arcadia, a small city with a little over 7,000 residents based near the center of DeSoto County, FL.

Arcadia is a city that is rich in heritage, architecture, and agriculture. It is the birthplace of NFL’s Chris Clemons, MLB’s Bitsy Mott, and the co-founder of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, John Paul Riddle. It is also listed in the US’s National Register of Historic Places as a town rich in history. But with all of this “richness”, this town still lacks large cultural arts and poetry festivals that showcase various arts on a multitude of levels. But that is all about to change due to the Art of Community, a non-profit organization focused on its initiative to bring awareness to cultural arts.

The organizations was created to introduce, cultivate, and bring forth the important benefits of the arts throughout the southwest region of Florida. Their mission is to utilize the arts as a means to revamp, redevelop, and cultivate thriving communities that foster creativity, diversity, and inclusion with economic growth.

“I began producing poetry and cultural arts events in Arcadia with the intention of creating mutually beneficial platforms that were inclusive to the individuals and their surrounding communities. While the Small Towns Need Poetry Too initiative is still in its infancy stage, the progress has consistently surpassed our expectations. Attendance figures for our last event were at 200 plus,” says organization’s founder, Sarahca Peterson. “Much like Arcadia, there are so many small towns throughout the country with little to no access to the culturally significant arts. We have an opportunity to ensure equal accessibility to the arts as well as economic development through this initiative and festivals whose primary focus is on Black Cultural Tourism.”

After several years of hosting successful small monthly arts and poetry events in Arcadia, The Art of Community organization has developed a comprehensive plan to produce the “1st Annual Small Town Poetry and Cultural Festival,” Arcadia’s first ever cultural arts fest taking place this fall. The intent of this event is to integrate the organization’s cultural arts initiative into improvements in the city’s education system, job creation, and tourism.

This festival will include performances by Miami and Atlanta’s own Hip Hop powerhouses, Ice Berg and Field Mob. This event will also feature popular spoken word artists, Michael J McCain and Byrd. With such a diverse platform, this festival is set to unite all ages and demographics of people while indulging them in diverse forms of art.

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