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7th Annual New Bo Arts Festival Spotlights Local Art

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The 7th Annual New Bo Arts Festival started up this morning, and ended this evening, bringing in the squinting crowds under the sunshine to meet with young artists from all over eastern Iowa. Event organizers hope more festivals like this will give Cedar Rapids a brighter spotlight on local art.

About thirty vendors were there, each bringing something unique to the Cedar Rapids art scene. Like Shannon Ellis, who works with students in Metro High School's outdoor education program.

"We took them for two weeks out to the national parks out west," Ellis said."With the photographs we were taking in the parks, we really like them, but we started making calendars and stationery sets and postcards, that kind of stuff."

Events like this give young people a chance to show what they've done and what they can do with their artistic talents.

But Gary Hootman, who specializes in pottery and sculptures, feels Cedar Rapids still has some work to do when it comes to supporting local artists.For many people , including Hootman, selling the things they create is their only source of income.

"It's a working class town, and it seems to have that kind of mentality with this kind of thing," Hootman said. "People walk through; they don't think artists need to be supported. And when they come through they've got to realize this is what we do to make a living."

Volunteer organizer Norah Hammond says the art scene is bound to expand, as festivals like this one continue to grow.

"That's why we want to do that, so that we can make the connection with our local artists, so that people can come out, see it, enjoy it, and also realize that it's very attainable to own a piece of artwork," Hammond said.

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