Bellevue Festival of the Arts co-coordinator Charlie Russell faced a tough loss when his best friend recently died of breast cancer.
But as a way to honor the memory of his friend, Aubrey Morgan, the 33rd annual festival will feature a new activity this year — Aubrey’s Art Corner.
The 10-foot by 10-foot art tent will be a place for children and families to make art projects throughout the weekend.
Before Morgan passed away in 2016, she was a “passionate supporter of inspiring children to make and explore art and creativity.”
“She was such an artist herself,” coordinator Ann Sutherland said of Russell’s friend, who lived in the south.
After Morgan’s parents learned of the way Russell would honor his friend, Sutherland said they sent a very touching letter.
“It was the most perfect way to honor her with the things she loved — children, art,” she said. “They thought it was perfect so I feel really happy Charlie can do that for his friend.”
Some of Morgan’s art will also hang in the art booth where Aubrey’s Art Corner is set up.
“Parents can come as a family and make art, take something with you,” Sutherland said, adding there will also be a community collage canvas that can be added to throughout the weekend. “[Projects include] little things like pool-noodle spiders, stencils and tissue flowers.”
And from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, the first day of the Bellevue Festival of the Arts, Aubrey’s Art Corner will host representatives from Pratt Fine Art Center to teach a fun arts activity.
Sutherland, who’s helped organize the festival for 21 years with Craft Cooperative of the Northwest, said the Bellevue Festival of the Arts will also host a nonprofit booth, food court, live music and Tibetan dance performances in addition to its award-winning art display.
What makes the event unique, however, is that proceeds are donated to local and global charities, Sutherland said. Education Elevation, L’Arche Noah Sealth of Seattle, CERF-Craft Emergency Relief Fund, American Indian College Fund, Standing Rock Sioux Nation and Teen Feed will benefit from those charitable donations.
Sutherland said the festival formed after a group of people in the 1980s “wanted to have their own flavor” from the already-established Bellevue Arts Museum’s fair.
“They wanted to have it more equitable to artists,” she said. “… So, we’ve grown up next door with three art shows together. It’s incredible how much we’re supported by the community.”
The festival will feature 200 artists and craftspeople that will be with their art and tell stories, giving the art multiple dimensions, Sutherland added.
To learn more about the artists featured at the Bellevue Festival of the Arts, visit www.bellevuefest.org. The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 28-29 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 30 along Bellevue Way and Northeast Eighth Street, just north of Bellevue Square.