Ready to unleash your artistic side?

The 15th annual Ogden Arts Festival returns downtown this weekend, bringing with it local and regional artists, entertainers and other creative types.

“Our overall goal with the art festival is to celebrate the artistic community within Ogden and Weber County, but also to expand what is art, and how we view art,” said festival director Amir Jackson.

In striving to make sure the festival is inclusive, Jackson said they try to add another element of art each year. This time around, a short-film festival will be offered.

Two entertainment stages will be included at the arts festival — one outside on the Union Station Plaza and the other indoors in the Browning Theater.

“We’ll also have some buskers this year, sprinkled throughout the festival,” Jackson said.

There will also be an interactive digital art wall inside the station.

“You’ll be able to paint in the air and see it on the wall,” Jackson said.

More than a dozen graffiti muralists will be painting live both days.

And as they’ve done for the last three years, organizers will also offer a skateboard competition.

The hours for the kids activity area have been expanded this year to run the length of the festival. Thirteen free kids activities will be offered throughout the two-day event.

This year’s festival will feature close to 100 artist vendors, which is about 30 more vendors than in past years, according to Jackson.

Music ranging from jazz trios to folk bands, dance performances, Shakespearean pieces and more will be included in the price of admission.

“All the music and performances are going to be diverse and artistically creative,” Jackson said. “That’s the idea and the thought process — not to focus on one genre or type, but be as inclusive as we can.”

The festival will also include an Emerging Artist area, live statue gallery, and a Quick Draw Competition. The $5 admission (free for ages 18 and younger) also allows access to Union Station museums.

Jackson’s Nurture the Creative Mind puts on the festival each year. It’s a fundraiser for the organization.

The arts festival itself has gone through something of a transition again. The event was originally held on 25th Street, but over the years it has ping-ponged — from Union Station to the Ogden Amphitheater. This year it’s back at Union Station.

Jackson says the frequent venue changes, coupled with inconsistencies in the committees that put on the event in the past, have combined to keep attendance numbers below where organizers expected them to be. Now, with the festival being anchored at Union Station going forward, Jackson believes the festival will begin gaining momentum from year to year.

“Being at the Union Station is ideal for us,” Jackson said. “Now that we have a home that has indoor and outdoor accessibility, we plan to expand the festival even more in future years. Basically, the idea is for the festival to take over the entire Union Station grounds at some point.

The festival has two slogans, according to Jackson: “We grow art,” and “Join the art.”

“We want to grow how people view art and what is an artist and who is creative, and how people see themselves as artists and creative,” Jackson explained. “Maybe you’re not a visual artist, but you are a gardener, or have a nice car you want to work on. We want to expand the umbrella of how people see art. We want you to join the art. Don’t be a bystander of creativity, be a participant.”

Several other events and activities are being held in the days leading up to the festival, including Sidewalk Karaoke today and a Patio Paint Party on Friday.

For more information, visit ogdenartsfestival.com.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/MarkSaal.

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