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DardenFest scheduled to raise money for ArtsBank

ELKINS — An upcoming benefit concert is set to raise money for arts education in Randolph County public schools.

The fourth annual DardenFest is set for Saturday and will raise funds for ArtsBank, Inc., a local non-profit that has funded educational arts experiences in area schools since the early 2000s.

“The event is designed to benefit the community by supporting local artists in a couple ways,” said Ben Duvall-Irwin, one of the event’s organizers.

“First of all, we’re supporting local musicians by giving them a venue to perform and get themselves out there, and we’re also supporting local arts long-term supporting ArtsBank,” he said, adding that the non-profit supports the community by investing in arts education in public schools — usually in situations where children don’t have access to it otherwise.

Duvall-Irwin said he believes arts education and creative expression are both beneficial to personal development and long-term growth.

“I think communities with strong traditions are healthier communities, stronger communities,” he said.

Featuring several local musicians, the concert will include performances by Emay, Gracie Metheny, Tucker Riggleman, Josh Wanstreet and Kevin Chesser.

Taking place upstairs at the Darden Mill, located on the corner of First Street and Railroad Avenue in Elkins, doors to the event will open at 6:30 p.m., with music beginning at 7 p.m. Admission will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. The event will also feature items to be raffled or auctioned, including tickets for the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad.

The event has been organized by AmeriCorps members with The Appalachian National Heritage Area and is meant to coincide with the Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service, which took place earlier this week.

“Our AmeriCorps members are doing all kinds of service projects all over the state, and this is one of those designed to get us involved in our communities and to give back,” Duvall-Irwin said.

For more information about the event, contact Ben Duvall-Irwin at 304-704-1422 or ben.duvall.irwin@gmail.com, or Hannah Wroton at 303-748-3116 or hannah.wroton@usda.gov. Learn more about ArtsBank and the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area at http://www.artsbankwv.com/ and appalachianforest.us.

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