Stage & Dance

The arts community says 'help yourself' to the free samples at its annual 'buffet of events'

If you're looking to discover the Lexington arts scene for the first time or delve into some unfamiliar areas of the arts, this weekend is a prime opportunity.

LexArts will present Arts Showcase Weekend, spotlighting more than 30 events from a majority of the arts organizations in Lexington.

And it's all free.

In its fifth year, the event is a "buffet of events that you can pick and choose from," says Nathan Zamarron, community arts manager for LexArts. The weekend's purpose is "to introduce the community to the various arts programs that go on throughout the year," he says.

Expect to see performances, demonstrations, hands-on activities for kids and behind-the-scenes-type events. With most events, you can just drop in, not necessarily at the appointed start time.

Arts Showcase officially runs from 6 p.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Sunday, but most of the events are Saturday.

Among Saturday's highlights, Zamarron says, are:

■ A University of Kentucky Opera Theatre dress rehearsal of A Shirt-Tail Boy Named Abe. The piece is a children's opera based on The River of Time, the Abraham Lincoln opera by James Rodgers and Joseph Baber from which selections were performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington on Monday. 1:30 to 2 p.m., ArtsPlace Performance Hall, 161 North Mill Street.

■ Paragon Music Theatre's cabaret and preview of The King and I, a production that won't be performed in full until April. 2. 2:30 p.m., Downtown Arts Center Rehearsal Hall, 141 East Main Street.

■ A printmaking demonstration by the Bluegrass Printmakers' Co-op. Zamarron says the technical side of printmaking will appeal to adults in particular. 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., ArtsPlace basement.

In addition to showcasing the arts, the weekend also has a social appeal.

"It's a great event for families," Zamarron says, and because events are purposefully scheduled back to back, it will be "similar to Gallery Hop, with people walking around and mingling."