Alright so we have your weekend set out for you already. To kick start the First Friday festivities on March 4, ArtsinStark will begin their Annual Arts Campaign by throwing a free party at the Canton Palace Theatre (605 Market Avenue North). On hand for the event will be Ben Stansbury and his puppet players. To seize your hunger, free hot dogs, soda and popcorn will be available at the half hour event. The party will be a great lead-in to March’s First Friday in the Canton Arts District where more than 30 artist galleries and studios will be open to greet visitors along with more than 20 free activities for attendees to get involved in. For almost 40 years, ArtsinStark has coordinated the annual “united way of the arts” right here in Stark county. In the last five, the Annual Arts Campaign has made their yearly goal and have increased giving to the arts by 50%. The ArtsinStark awards yearly gives over $1.2 million in grants to 100 Stark County non-profits and artists whose programs reach 200,000 people. The first one million of the $1,555,000 being raised will go to the seven largest arts groups: Canton Ballet, Canton Museum of Art, Canton Palace Theatre, Canton Symphony, Massillon Museum, Players Guild Theater and Voices of Canton. The next $200,000 will be awarded to 100 county non-profits and artists to do special arts projects. The remaining dollars will be used to run the Cultural Center for the Arts, to do public art projects, and to support programs such as SmArts, First Fridays, and ArtSplash. In the last four years, ArtsinStark has put 77 SmArts projects in Stark County schools for 10,000 kids and helped transform 100,000 square feet of empty buildings in Stark County downtowns that nobody wanted into galleries, studios, apartments, and stores in Alliance, Canton, Louisville, Massillon and Minerva. “We keep succeeding,” says ArtsinStark board chair Susan Steiner, “because people know that 91 cents of every dollar they give us goes right into programs.” Next month, ArtsinStark will start work on a ten-year plan for arts, innovation, and economic development for Stark County called 20/20 Vision. For more information call ArtsinStark at 330-453 -1075 or visit www.ArtsinStark.com.