3rd annual Huss Future Festival to feature art, food, family activities

Categories:Details, Main
Rob Vander Giessen-Reitsma

Here’s a riddle for you: what’s old and new at the same time? The Huss Future Festival is! The third annual Huss Future Festival will return this summer on July 21 from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. with an array of creative activities for all ages at the historic Huss School property at 1008 8th Street in Three Rivers.

In addition to many of the favorite features from past festivals, this year’s event will include an art installation exhibit in which local artists make use of the school’s unique features to create temporary displays. “Installation art describes an artistic genre of three-dimensional works that are often site-specific and designed to transform the perception of a space,” said exhibit coordinator Elizabeth Brouwer, who volunteers for *culture is not optional (*cino), the organization that owns the Huss property. According to Brouwer, the Glen Oaks Community College art club is working on an exhibit on the theme of transition and other local artists are claiming both indoor and outdoor spaces to create innovative works that challenge viewers to imagine the possibilities for Huss School. The installation exhibit will officially open during this year’s Future Festival and continue through mid-August.

Another new event at Future Festival 2012 will be a media sale, featuring gently used books, CDs, DVDs and records. “Almost everyone has good stuff lying around that they’ve already read or listened to,” said sale coordinator and *cino summer intern Jay Howard. “The media sale will provide an opportunity to share those items, clean out the shelves and help raise money for an amazing cause.” All proceeds from the media sale and other activities at Future Festival will go toward the renovation of the historic property as a community center and an off-campus program for college students.

In addition to the art installation exhibit and the media sale, this summer’s Future Festival will also feature a variety of delicious treats, including a bake sale, a farmer’s market and free gourmet coffee and tea. The Three Rivers Area Faith community will be on hand to conduct their popular fish fry to raise funds for the Back to School Celebration, which provides hundreds of local students with the supplies they need for their education.

The art extravaganza doesn’t end with the installation exhibit. Live music will be available throughout the day in an improvised coffeehouse setting and kids of all ages will be able to engage in creative, hands-on activities. In addition, local artists are invited to reserve space to sell their wares.

The Huss gym will also be made available for community members to reserve space for a huge community garage sale. “Our rummage sales have been one of the most popular features of our past festivals,” said chairperson Julie Keefer. “We love creating space for people to reduce and recycle. The community garage sale will open up a way for our neighbors to recycle their treasures while earning money themselves and supporting the Huss Project.” Art vendor and community garage sale spaces are available for $10 each and include the benefit of promotion for the whole event, which in the past has drawn around 350 people.

*culture is not optional, a local non-profit organization with a mission of modeling and encouraging creative communities, purchased the Huss School property in 2009. The vision is to collaborate with local organizations to create a community center focused on art, agriculture and social justice. The center will include residential space to house college students for an off-campus semester and church groups who want to learn more about community development. Since 2009, the organization has hosted over a dozen service groups and attracted 18 college students and recent graduates to the Three Rivers area to serve as volunteer staff. A group of dedicated volunteers has also launched Tripple Ripple Community Gardens on the property, which has donated around 2,000 pounds of organic vegetables to families in need over the past two years.

“The Huss Project continues to blossom in amazing ways,” said *cino co-director Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma. “Even though the building currently has no heat and running water, we’ve seen so many people rally around the property to imagine the possibilities for creating art, growing food and connecting to one another in positive relationships.” With the help of a team of dedicated volunteers and summer interns, Vander Giessen-Reitsma sees tremendous potential for the historic property. In addition the community garden and Future Festival, the *cino staff has added Family Fun Nights to the summer schedule every Thursday evening in June, July and August from 5:00-7:00 p.m. “Family Fun Nights became a natural extension this summer of the all-ages activities we’ve been sponsoring at Future Fest for the past two years,” said Vander Giessen-Reitsma, adding that all are welcome to attend both Family Fun Nights and the Huss Future Festival.
“Just like the Huss Project can’t realize its potential without community support, Future Festival needs the talents and participation of the community to thrive,” said Keefer. “We’re excited to offer an open invitation to participate in such a wonderful community event. It’s very much in the spirit of what we hope Huss is becoming as a place of welcome and care for all people.” Those who are interested in supporting the Huss Future Festival 2012 can participate by:

  • Donating items to the media sale (gently used books, CDs, DVDs and records–please no textbooks, encyclopedias, cassettes or Reader’s Digest condensed books)
  • Donating baked goods or extra garden produce
  • Reserving a vendor space for handmade art or the community garage sale
  • Creating a piece for the art installation exhibit
  • Volunteering on an open work day (every Friday, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.) or on the day of the event
  • Attending in person and bringing friends

Interested participants can contact us!