By Alicia Doyle

The Writer
Specializing in Good News
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Event to focus on Simi Valley arts community


Musicians, local artists and youth performers will provide entertainment Saturday during the Simi Valley Festival of the Arts.

“This event is a fundraiser that will support the arts in Simi Valley,” said Alexandra Lastort, executive director of the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center Foundation and festival leader.

The event will be at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, with a youth art exhibit in the main gallery space and a youth showcase featuring dancers, singers and musicians.

Free children’s activities will include face painting, henna art and crafts provided by community groups.

There also will be food trucks, beer and wine, and performances by local reggae-rock band Kounterfeit Change.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 per person and free for children 5 and younger.

A silent auction will help raise funds for the center, said Lastort, of Simi Valley. Also, arts programs in schools may sell festival tickets and keep some of the proceeds, she said.

The goal is to provide a low-cost family event that offers opportunities to get children involved in the arts, said Fred Helsel, of Simi Valley, assistant manager at the center.

“The arts help students to learn teamwork skills, to think outside the box and to become more socialized by interaction with others,” Helsel said. “The Festival of the Arts gives kids the opportunity to expand their horizons while offering families an affordable event to participate in together.”

The idea for the festival was inspired by Lastort, who wanted to create an event to bring all of the local arts programs and organizations together.

“We have so many great programs in this community, and they just don’t get enough attention,” Lastort said.

She hopes this year’s festival will lead people to raise awareness of the arts community in Simi Valley.

“I would also like to see the young talent in our area have the opportunity to showcase their gifts and get the recognition they deserve,” she said.

The arts are important to the community for many reasons, Lastort said, “but I think they have the greatest impact on our youth.”

If you go

What: Simi Valley Festival of the Arts

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, 3050 Los Angeles Ave.

Cost: $5 per person; free for children 5 and younger


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