by Susan Oâ€™Neill
KANELANDâ€”More than 3,000 people attended Kanelandâ€™s Fine Arts Festival this year, an event that has expanded and become more popular since it began almost 10 years ago.
Building on its success, the Fine Arts Committee plans to expand the festival into a series of performing arts events, and will hire Maria Dripps-Paulson to direct the series.
Paulson is the former Kaneland School band director, who left her full-time position several years ago to raise her family.
â€œWe are very excited to have Mariaâ€™s continued involvement,â€ School Board President Lisa Wiet said.
Funding for the series will not involve district money, but will come from donations from businesses and organizations and from sales. The budget for this yearâ€™s festival was $36,000. The Kaneland Foundation has increased its funding this year from $5,000 to $7,000.
Wiet said she looks forward to offering more opportunities for the arts to the community as well as opening up the schoolâ€™s auditorium for the communityâ€™s use.
The series will begin as a pilot project and will include the following events:
Fall: State Street Dance Ensemble (professional Chicago-based troupe)
Winter: Lee Murdock concert
Spring: Fine Arts Festival
Summer: A locally-produced summer theatre performance