Next month from July 6-8 the Astra Arts Festival will take over the streets of Independence. The Astra Arts Festival is held every two years and embraces music, literature, theatre and the visual arts for all ages.


Beginning Friday, July 6 at 9:30 a.m. will be a youth event called "Let's Put on a Play," a three-hour intensive workshop for children grades third through eighth that features instruction on all aspects of putting on a play. They go over improvisations, stage performance techniques, costuming, make-up and more. 

Also on Friday, at 1:30 p.m. Magnolia Scents by Design will hold a candle-making workshop. At 4 p.m. noted landscape artist and portraitist Steve Greenwall will conduct a workshop until 6 p.m. at the Independence Historical Museum and Art Center (IHMAC).

Those interested in writing can check out a workshop on "Social Media Marketing" at 10:30 a.m. at the Independence Public Library with speaker Brandon West. A lesson on podcasting will be held at the library at 1:30 p.m. Also at the library, Independence-native New York-based filmmaker Daniel Shepard will speak about cartooning and the process of writing short and long-form scripts as well as producing on a budget and pitching projects. Shepard's event is designed for high school ages and older. 

For the first time this year there will be the "Music in the Storefronts" series. Musicians will perform in the stores of downtown Independence. Throughout the afternoon from noon to 3 p.m. Friday musicians such as vocalist Terri Barbera, harpist Rachel Unruh and more will be playing. Later Friday evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. pianist Barron Ryan will be holding a concert at the Presbyterian Church, 201 S. 5th St. Find Brian Leedy at Uncle Jack's Bar and Grill, 104 N. Penn Ave. after the Ryan concert or enjoy karaoke at Turbo's, 103 W. Main St.


Find Astra Arts Festival activities bright and early Saturday during the Independence Farmer's Market starting at 7:30 a.m. Children will perform art ensembles and there will be story-time and costumed characters. There will be more for the youth to do at the library starting at noon with an improvisation workshop. 

Music in the Storefronts will continue Saturday with musicians Sarah Scovel and The Jones Trio. Eclectix Art Gallery will host specialized workshops Saturday including jewelry-making and an ink workshop. 

Starting at 6:30 p.m., Saturday Night with the Arts event will begin in front of the VFW Hall in the 100 block of E. Myrtle St. Concert-goers will find an array of local and regional talent. The Community National Bank and Trust parking lot will host vendors, including 2B Smokin' BBQ and the Knights of Columbus homemade ice cream. There will be art on display and for sale all around.


Sunday concludes the Astra Arts Festival and will be the final day for the Verdigris Valley Art Exhibit featured at the IHMAC from 1 to 4 p.m. as well as the Community Art Assemblage from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Jim Hayward Fine Art Gallery. The Community Art Assemblage will be a community work of art under the guidance of Jim Hayward. People of all ages are encouraged to come out and contribute. This event is free and will take place several times throughout the weekend. 

The First Presbyterian Church will host a showing of a silent film in conjunction with a concert by a professional organist. 

At 6:30 p.m. Magic by Pete will take place at the William Inge Theatre for admission of $5 per person. See all of these events and more during the Astra Arts Festival from July 6-8. For more information visit