Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival
Jo Ryman Scott  PO Box 82510 
Fairbanks,  AK,  99708
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Jo Ryman Scott, Fairbanks, and Edward J. Madden, Boston, founded the Festival in April 1980 with the one-week Jazz Festival ’80. It was funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (proposal written by Dr. Theodore DeCorso, Professor of Music, UAF; Jean Mackin and Jo Scott) and a Guarantorship from the Kiwanis Club of Fairbanks. After that Festival, classical musicians asked to be included. So, in 1981, Scott and Madden successfully produced Jazz to Classics, the first two-week summer Festival. In 1982, the name was changed to the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival because dance, opera, theatre, musical theatre and visual arts enthusiasts asked that those areas of study be added. Then, in 1990—in response to requests—ice skating was added. Since that time, storytelling, creative writing, healing arts, accordion and harmonica have been added, based on requests from registrants. The Festival had been a dream of Jo’s since about 1958—her inspiration being Mary Hale of Anchorage who had founded a Festival there in the late ’50s. Jo established the Festival’s nonprofit corporation in 1979 when she was 50 years old. The original purpose of the Festival was to provide study opportunities for local people who gave their time to be in performing arts groups. Now that the Festival is becoming recognized nationally, people from literally all over the world are coming as registrants or attendees to Festival events.
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