David Luna, Tyler Greene and Veronica Villegas are promoting unity, art, live music and healthy eating and living at a festival at Bedford Park in Georgetown on May 23 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The festival is free, open to the public and especially welcomes families.
The three friends and their cohorts are local young people who are connected by Sussex Central High School, as well as their creativity, artistry, sense of community and passion for being positive in a world that tends to focus on the cynical and mundane. They are all active supporters of the Shauna Rose Kaufman Foundation, which is hosting the event.
Luna is a visual artist whose work includes graphic design, comics and video. He also has a regular column in The Annual magazine, in which he interviews nationally known comedians. He was a classmate of Shauna Kaufman at the time of her death in a car accident in June 2009.
“It was devastating for everyone who knew her,” said Luna. “But by working with the foundation and helping make a difference here, in Ecuador and in Nepal, I can see that some good has resulted.”
The idea for the festival came three months ago, long before the devastating earthquake in Nepal. One of the primary beneficiaries of the foundation is the funding of an art program at a school in the suburbs of Kathmandu. This school, called Samata, subsequently became a sister school for fourth-grade art classes at Lord Baltimore Elementary School in Ocean View.
By coincidence, Shauna Kaufman’s mother, Amy, and sister, Holly, were not far away, in India, when the earthquake shattered Nepal. They have since traveled there and been working tirelessly to obtain and distribute rice, tents, medicine, and, yes, paper and crayons — all this from donations to the tax-deductible Shauna Rose Kaufman Foundation.
“Initially, we looked at the festival as a way to bring Sussex County residents together to share our art and music, learn about good nutrition and local farms, have fun activities like Zumba, a moon bounce, face painting and contests with prizes,” said Luna. “But, since the earthquake, we also want to share as much information as possible about what is going on in Nepal.”
Ian Kaufman, Shauna Kaufman’s dad, said, “David is a remarkable young man. He has a way of surrounding himself with talented people and is always getting involved in doing good things.”
Tyler Greene is responsible for organizing the music for the festival. Greene, a guitarist and singer-songwriter, is becoming well known in the area as plays with bands The Dug and Plot Twist and also performs solo at many local restaurants and music venues. The Sly Foxes, a Westchester, Pa., band, will be playing, too.
Veronica Villegas is an artist, a student and a mom. She said it was the birth of her son Julien that inspired her to become knowledgeable about healthy foods and eating well. She has arranged five different informational tables at the festival where families can learn more about how eating nutritional food can be fun, as well as good for the body and mind.
“Julien is 6 now, and he experiments with me to find the best-tasting smoothies,” Villegas said. “So far, his favorite is a blend of banana, spinach and almond milk!”
Villegas advocates home gardens, so you know exactly what you are eating with no danger of additives. Local gardening enthusiasts Itzel Aguilar and Edgar Lopez will be on hand to talk about how to get started with your own home garden.
The organizers have called the festival the Art of March for Change. To symbolize the importance of environmental awareness, a tree will be planted and then, at 2 p.m., festivalgoers will have the opportunity to celebrate the day of unity and positivity by walking the short distance from Bedford Park to the Georgetown Circle. Bedford Park is located just behind the Georgetown Presbyterian Church on N. Bedford Street.
Organizers said they are thankful for support from La Esperanza, HOY en Delaware, Food & Water Watch of Delaware, Delaware Hispano Magazine, Dr. Deb Laino, Flex World Fitness, Good Earth Market & Organic Farm, Funland Rehoboth Beach, Georgetown Presbyterian, Wesley United Methodist Church, TGIF and Harris Teeter.
To make a donation to help relief efforts in Nepal, go to www.shaunarosekaufmanfoundation.com.