As Covington gets ready for Thursday’s launch of its October-long Full Spectrum — a celebration of the arts intended to attract 10,000 or more visitors — it’s positioning itself as a major regional cultural force. This is a move to bring overdue attention to the arts in a city traditionally overshadowed by its larger neighbor, Cincinnati, says Natalie Bowers, Covington Arts District director (pictured).
According to a mission statement on the Full Spectrum Web site, “the broader aim of the event is to align itself with the regional economic goals of Covington and the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region: to attract new artists to live, work and shop in Covington, help artists sell and showcase their work, and help create a mutually supportive environment for artists as well as a platform upon which all artists can stand upon and cross-pollinate. This is Full Spectrum’s first year and we already have over 300 artists, 150 individuals and organizations and 40 venues committed.”
The Covington Arts District was recently established as a part of the Economic Development Department in order to develop the city’s cultural reputation. “A thriving arts community is an excellent indicator of a healthy, vibrant community,” the city’s Web site says. “The arts contribute to the creation of more livable cities. The arts animate and beautify our cities. As an arts destination, cultural tourists will be attracted to spend more time in our city.”
Each October weekend showcases a Full Spectrum event. By the time the month is over, the visual arts, performance, film and other participatory activities will all have had a place in the spotlight.
Kicking things off is Sub-Urban Sprawl Weekend, beginning with the expanded Hyper Gallery Hop 6-10 p.m. Friday.
“It’s the biggest and best yet,” says Karen Rentz, Encore! Design owner and creative lead for the Hop. “Hyper Gallery Hop will make people aware of the variety of thriving Covington businesses interested in supporting the arts.”
Starting point is the Artisans Enterprise Center at Seventh and Washington streets, where information on the various tours is available.
On Saturday afternoon from noon to 6:30 p.m., Fantasy Fest will fill MainStrasse with “fairies and magical beings,” winding up at Leapin’ Lizard Gallery in the evening for the Razzmatazz Gala. Sword swallowers and musicians are among the entertainers for these events. Sunday concludes the first weekend with local contemporary praise musicians gathering for “Ascent of Praise,” an outdoor Christian music festival on the parking lot bordering The Ascent at Roebling Bridge 3-8 p.m.
Activities the second weekend start on Oct. 10 with the city’s fifth annual street arts fair, Art Off Pike. More than 80 regional artists will show sculpture, jewelry, paintings and more in booths lining Pike and West Seventh streets between Madison and Russell. Artwork prices range from $10 to $400.
Next up is a weekend of international music at seven venues, with dance, storytelling, art, food and other attractions beginning Oct. 16-18. More than 40 acts with 150 performers will take part in the World Music Fest. Proceeds benefit Play It Forward, the non-profit organization aiding local musicians.
Oct. 25 brings a new element to Covington arts with the city’s first Film Festival at the Carnegie Visual Performing Arts Center. It will feature films with a Covington theme.
Halloween brings Full Spectrum to a close on Oct. 31 with a Zombie Crawl (costumes advised) beginning at 6 p.m. at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub.
FULL SPECTRUM happens every weekend in October in various venues across Covington. Get details on this weekend's Sub-Urban Sprawl events here.