2021 Pittsburg Festival of the Arts kicks off on Sunday

It’s Morning Edition on KRPS; I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro. Music and the arts will fill the city of Pittsburg this (upcoming) week, as the Pittsburg Festival of the Arts got underway on Sunday. Seven days and nights of jazz, Latin music, painters and even an acoustic country artist this year. On Friday, I spoke with Director of Orchestras at Pittsburg State University, Dr. Raul Munguia and he says this year the festival incorporates a wider view of the arts. Including two films and painters.

(Raul and his wife Denissa to the left)

“Oh my goodness, yes. And probably in the four years that you’ve been here at Pitt State, you’ve seen the festival morph into different things. We started as a chamber music festival, strictly music. Then we went into cabaret with dancers. And now we call this the Festival of the Arts. And the reason is because we have included the fine arts. We have included theater and music, so it’s a great collaboration and we are trying to do as much as possible within the week. So, we start on Sunday, and it goes from Sunday until Saturday. And people have opportunities to go to outdoor as well as indoor events, in the Bicknell Center as well as McCray Hall.”

Raul Munguia

Like nearly all performing arts events last year, the 2020 Pittsburg Festival of the Arts was performed virtually. This year’s event will be performed across five venues and will include 45 performers in at least 10 different genres of music.

“Well, we try to include music for everybody, something that people will be attracted to depending on their taste in music and the arts. On Monday, at 6 pm we have the exhibit opening, Paula Giltner art is going to be displayed in the gallery. At 7 pm we have Duo Capriccioso. On Tuesday, we have violin and piano recital. I’m playing with Bob Ensor, a full recital, which is going to be really interesting. Wednesday, we have small groups and solos at the Bicknell. On Friday, we have something completely new for the Pittsburg area. We are showing two classic movies. Road to Bali and A Royal Wedding are considered classic movies and they are people who love them, so they will be shown on the big screen at the Bicknell Center at 5:15 pm, and the other one at 7 pm. So people will have the opportunity to see that. And on Saturday, we are ending the festival with solos and small ensembles in McCray hall. So chamber music, and art and movies, and fine arts are going to be on display, all week in Pittsburg.”

Raul Munguia

The Pittsburg Festival of the Arts has evolved over the years and is influenced by what is taking place at other art festivals in the area and throughout the US. According to Raul, to have a true festival of the arts is to embrace as many art forms as possible and to open to change as the arts evolve.

“It’s a vision that we’ve had for several years already. We started with strictly classical music then we went to pop music, then we went to giving the opportunity for local bands to perform. So I think a true festival of the arts needs to have every type of art that people love. So fine arts, movies, music, dance and theater and everything is going to be displayed this week.”

Raul Munguia

While Covid-19 vaccines being widely available and the hospitalizations rate greatly reduced from this time last year the on-going pandemic was still a factor into the planning of this year’s Festival of the Arts. For instance, in past years, there were more indoor performances. This year there weekday performances at noon taking place at the Evergy Courtyard at Block 22 in downtown Pittsburg.

“This is an event that traditionally happens throughout the week, but because of Covid last year we were virtual. But this year, we were a little more cautious. We usually perform in churches, outdoor revenues and coffee shops, but because of Covid restrictions we cannot have that many people. Even our country (Crawford county) doing great with vaccinations, you never know. So we focused on the courtyard, this is the Evergy Courtyard at Block 22 and every performance at noon will happen there. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we will have something different at noon. So bring your lunch, bring a coffee and sit down and enjoy some music for an hour at lunchtime.”

Raul Munguia

Director of Orchestras at Pittsburg State University Dr. Raul Munguia speaking about the 2021 Pittsburg Festival of the Arts that got underway last night (Sunday June 13) and will run through this upcoming Saturday (June 19) . All of the performances and events are free and open to the public.

Including this today’s (Monday June 14) performance by the Ortolani Family Band at Block 22 at noon.


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