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Grab N Go Youth Jam coming to Idaho Falls this weekend

Idaho Falls

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IDAHO FALLS — The 2020 edition of the Idaho Falls Arts Council’s Roaring Youth Jam is set for this weekend but will look a bit different than it has in the past.

Now in its 18th year, Youth Jam has always served as a celebration of the visual arts and as a way to spark artistic passions in young people. While COVID-19 has forced the festival to become a grab-and-go event, the mission is still the same.

“Youth Jam is a three-day free festival down on the river,” Arts Council spokesperson Georgina Goodlander told EastIdahoNews.com. “It is our way of sharing visual arts with the community and providing free experiences for families in the region.”

Typically, Youth Jam features booths providing art projects for children, as well as vendors and live musical performances. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a kink in plans to hold the festival in the usual way, but with some creative thinking, the council decided to hold the festival in a way that conforms to Eastern Idaho Public Health guidelines.

“This year, with Bonneville County being in the moderate risk for COVID-19, we have shifted Youth Jam to be a grab-and-go event,” said Goodlander. “We did not want to cancel it. It is a very important event for the Arts Council. We really wanted to figure a way we could share all the hard work we’ve been doing and planning, and also give kids the opportunity to do fun stuff.”

To morph Youth Jam into an experience that families can have at home, the Arts Council has repackaged the art projects they were planning for this year’s event into take-home kits.

“Families can come down to the river, where we’ll be on the Green Belt stage,” Goodlander said. “People can grab as many packets as they need for as many children as they have to be able to do all eight Youth Jam art projects at home. We’ll give them everything they need.”

The vendors who signed up for Youth Jam and the sponsors of the festival were also invited to contribute items to this year’s event. Goodlander said they’ve come through with flying colors.

“They’ve really done a great job with that,” she said. “There’s going to be a vast array of wonderful goodies for people to pick up. They’ve got games, more art projects, all kinds of great swag.”

Youth Jam won’t feature any musical performances this year, as there was no way to do those safely. But the Arts Council invited the artists who were scheduled to appear to share links to their digital content and they’ll be sharing those links through their social media.

Goodlander said that the Youth Jam grab-and-go event is providing an outlet for creativity and expression that is sorely needed during these uncertain times.

“(The arts) are always important, but I think a lot of families are struggling right now,” she said. “There’s a lot of anxiety around what’s going to happen. You can’t really plan for the future. Are your kids going to school? Should they go to school? All of these big questions and I think art has always been a wonderful way for kids, and adults, to express themselves. And especially kids, since they may not have the language to express themselves.”

“I’m hoping (the Arts Council) can continue to provide the tools for kids to do that, whether they’re coming in to see us or doing it at home,” she concluded.

The Idaho Falls Arts Council’s Youth Jam Grab N Go event is happening this weekend, August 6, 7 and 8 at the Green Belt stage on the Idaho Falls Green Belt. The hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. all three days. You can find more information about this, as well as future, events on the Arts Council’s website or its Facebook page.

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