Across My Desk and My Table
with Brenda Durant


All day today, I have been staring at the Arts in the Heart menu from the Philippines booth. It is driving me crazy. Every year I make my festival food plan to ensure I line up for my festival favorites. In order to get some Lumpia Shanghai (skinny egg rolls) before they run out, I go to the Filipino-American booth when the festival opens on Saturday. I believe there are two kinds of food people in this world: the “I am always hungry” people like me, and then there is everyone else. Let me be real here – I think about dinner over breakfast. I even plan my lunches based on leftovers each night. Food is way at the top of my daily list of VERY important things. I thought everyone was like this until I married my husband. He does not think about food in advance. He does not think about cooking until it is so late that there is not time to prepare a meal. If I want to irritate him, all I have to do is talk about pork chops during breakfast. A few years ago, we produced a shirt for Arts in the Heart that said, “Always Hungry” and it fit me to a T… (or would that be Tee?)


In preparation for all the delicious food that will be available next month, you can visit the festival website to see some of our featured food for this year. That includes vegetarian specials, kid-friendly foods and new global sampling food page that shows photos of some of the mouth-watering dishes from various countries! You can also get Festival ticket information, stage schedules and the list of participating artists at 

It’s back to school time already. I love back to school for two reasons: 1. I don’t have to go and 2. I love the school supply aisle. I want glue sticks, spiral notebooks with clever covers, gel pens, all of it. My mother loved stationary stores as well, so I think of Mommy as I peruse the aisle looking for items I don’t need, but really, really love. Along with school, be sure your kids take in a show this year- many organizations offer field trips; if your child’s school does not participate grab that little hand and take them! Visit our calendar to check out lot of great events in our region. 

I recently looked up the expression “a finger in every pie”. At the Arts Council, we do have a finger in many pies in our community. Heather Dunaway is working on programming for the two galleries we manage, as well as producing all social media posts and recruiting the 600 volunteers for the Festival. Pax Bobrow is juggling many Public Art projects including a new installation in the Golden Blocks and a new sculpture installation in Twiggs Circle. Saundra Plunkett is organizing our annual City Grant review panel, and our new Calendar coordinator, Cameron Bentley, is filling our Arts Calendar with events of all shapes and sizes. This week we toured the new HUB for Community Innovation building and will be brainstorming ways to collaborate in the future. And then of course, there is Festival preparation going on. The Arts in the Heart Festival takes hours and hours and hours of care to ensure all the moving pieces are covered. We all have lists and deadlines—today I order wristbands and grease mats –another thing to check off my list.

Photo provided by the Lebanon Group of their tabbouleh salad to be on their menu for this years Arts in the Heart Festival

I am so very thankful for our community, our volunteers, our sponsors, our Board Members and my dedicated staff. I might not be standing at the bus stop in new sparkly sneakers and an empty book bag, but I am ready for the journey ahead. Hope I will see you at First Friday downtown!