‘Arts In the Park’ brings culture curbside
Bicentennial Park came alive Saturday, July 7, with art and music during Marion Art Center’s annual “Arts in the Park” outdoor arts festival that brought dozens of local and regional artists, artisans and craftsmen to the village park to showcase their works for perusal and purchase.
More than 40 artists, artisans and crafts people participated in the 11th annual event that is part community art celebration and part fundraiser for Marion Art Center, according to MAC Interim Director Jenny Costa.
“The day went really well,” Costa said the day after the event. “I’m so glad the weather was what it was. It was nice and cool in the morning for set up.”
Costa said the weather mattered because depending on conditions, it affects crowd turnout.
“It is one of our biggest fundraisers,” she said. “Our ‘Cocktails by the Sea’ which will be held this Friday (July 13) is also one of our biggest fundraisers, but ‘Arts in the Park’ is definitely one of our top fundraisers.”
Funding from these two events helps the privately-run art center offer community art, theater, dance and music programs throughout the year, Costa said.
People attending the event saw a variety of unique oil, pastel and watercolor paintings, glass and sculpted creations, photography, carved and turned wood art, artisan-built and decoratively painted furniture, handmade jewelry, handwoven textiles, handmade soaps, and ceramic creations.
The event also featured the “Dixie Diehards,” a Dixieland-style band that has been bringing happy tunes to the festival almost since the event was launched more than a decade ago. Mahoney’s Food Cart provided some quick offerings to the many festival-goers attending the event.
But the event was not just about highlighting the festival participants’ works, it was also about bringing art to the community. The New Bedford Art Museum’s “NBAM ArtMobile” was curbside to allow children to make their own creations.
“It was great to watch them,” Costa said of the children at the ArtMobile. “They were all so happy. I saw a couple of patriotic flyers they made that they could take with them. They were kind of twirling them around so it was really cool.”
Art festival-goers seemed pleased with the near-perfect weather on the day of event, considering the day before it rained torrentially at times and the heat leading up to the rain was oppressive. Organizers and participants appeared grateful for Saturday’s sunny sky and much cooler breeze.
Dartmouth-based artisan Allison Brum sat relaxed in the shade near her wares listening to the Dixieland band play and described the atmosphere at the outdoor art festival as simply “happy.”
“I’m all about good vibes, which I’m feeling today, by the way,” Brum said with a smile.
While the artists, artisans and craftsmen hoped to sell their works, several mentioned they also enjoy socializing with other artists and shoppers they meet on the art show circuit.
Colleen Peck, creator of Moonfaerie Designs, travelled from Willington, Connecticut for a second year to participate in MAC’s outdoor art festival. Peck’s works include aprons and pillows made from vintage linens, and handmade jewelry. She said she believes people go to art festivals to find something not readily found in conventional stores.
She told of a woman who had been to her booth looking for a unique gift for her sister who is “crazy” about goats. Peck picked the perfect gift for the woman to give her sister – an apron with a goat design on it.
“The goat’s name is “Crazypants”, Peck said, pointing to the apron’s design.
The fun wasn’t just for humans. Debra Malone, a Marion resident, used the outdoor event as an opportunity for her two golden retrievers, Lucy and Emmett, to get some face time with other people and pets. They were not disappointed.
“We run into friends, and (Lucy and Emmett) run into people that they know,” Malone said. “It’s been really good for them.”
Indeed, the pets came in all sizes and shapes. Some were even ceramic.
Judi Goudreau, a ceramics artist from Providence, Rhode Island, sold a trove of her handmade ceramic dogs and cats at the festival last year and this year. She said the MAC’s “Arts in the Park” festival was one of her best- selling events.
Over the years, Goudreau has had to increase the varieties of dogs and cats she makes to keep up with all the emerging breeds. But, occasionally something will still be unavailable.
“I’m a little low on cats now,” she told one group of potential customers.
Costa said it was a good day for everyone involved and she expressed her gratitude for all the support the community gave the art center and her during her time running the event.
“It was just a really successful day and we’re all happy with the way it turned out. Me, the [MAC] board, and the [organizing] committee. I want to thank everybody. There were so many volunteers that were a big help, especially to me.”