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Smorgasbord of fun available for area residents

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In perhaps one of more colorful duets presented in south central Indiana, hip hop will merge with classical music this year.

So it will be June 27 in Columbus with the Florida-based Black Violin, a duo with a mix of cool street cred and concert-hall polish.

Ken Marcus plays the violin, and Wil B. performs on the viola.

The musicians are known for their ability to meld highbrow and pop culture, according to Arthur Smith, marketing and media director for the Columbus Area Arts Council.

The act, whose music has been on Showtime and other outlets, is among local arts entertainment on tap in the new year.

While the two will make their first appearance here, other acts will make return appearances after popular shows in the past.

That includes nationally touring spoken-word poet Buddy Wakefield, who has drawn large crowds on several occasions to YES Cinema.

But amid area arts events ranging from concerts to children’s drama, Smith noted residents here ask for one thing almost more than any other.

“We always get the community asking us to provide more hands-on arts experiences in Columbus,” he said.

That includes annual downtown glass-blowing workshops and other offerings, such as Art Break Day, in which residents could create art on their lunch hour downtown last fall.

Here is a quick look at what’s ahead:

Living Voices presenting the drama “The Right to Dream” for Martin Luther King Day, 2 p.m. Jan. 20 at The Commons, 300 Washington St., Columbus. Free.

YES Cinema Comedy Showcase, Bob Zany, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Jan. 25; and Nick Griffin, 8 p.m. Feb. 15, Fourth and Jackson streets. $20 in advance and $25 day of show.

Classical Mystery Tour (Beatles tribute band) performing with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1, Judson Erne Auditorium, 1400 25th St., Columbus. Tickets: $5 (for students) and more.

Spoken-word poet Buddy Wakefield, March 30, time and ticket prices to be determined, The Harlequin Theatre, FairOaks Mall, 2380 25th St.

Very Special Arts Festival for physically and mentally challenged students to participate in a range of arts, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 23, The Commons, 300 Washington St., Columbus.

Noon Kids Concerts, June (specific dates to be determined) with Silly Safaris Live Animal Show and Doug Jave’s Amazing Magic and Fun.

Black Violin, June 27, Bartholomew County Public Library Plaza, 536 Fifth St., Columbus. Free. Youngsters from the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic strings camp will perform with the duo.

Biggest Block Party Ever, 5:30 p.m. to midnight July 26, Fourth and Washington streets, Columbus. Headliner will be the Dane Clark Band; local acts will include favorites such as rock’s Brown 25, Oddz-R, the pop-rock-country of Ransomed and the jazz of guitarist Barney Quick.

Artfest, Aug. 23 to 24, featuring dozens of artists displaying and demonstrating work, downtown Columbus. Free admission.

Art Break Day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 5, in front of The Commons, 300 Washington St. Free.

Ethnic Expo, Oct. 10 to 11, downtown international festival with food, music, fireworks, children’s activities.

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