Tag Archives: Westport Fine Arts Festival

Cool Weather For Very Hot Art Show And Book Sale

It’s a Westport rite of summer: Artists and art patrons bake on the blacktop at the annual Fine Arts Festival. Book lovers swelter in the Jesup Green tent, at the library book sale.

It’s a satisfying — if sweaty — search for gems.

This year is different. The temperature is in the mid-70s. There is no humidity. Clouds are keeping crowds away from the beach.

Compo’s loss is downtown’s gain.

Art show culptures frame the Saugatuck River.

Art show sculptures frame the Saugatuck River.

One of 130 artists shows off his work.

One of 130 artists shows off his work.

There is more artwork -- plus food and kids' activities -- on Gorham Island, adjacent to the Parker Harding lot.

There’s more art — plus food and kids’ activities — on Gorham Island, adjacent to the Parker Harding lot.

What's an arts festival without music. Bands play under a tent, next to the Saugatuck River.

What’s an arts festival without music? Bands play under a tent, next to the Saugatuck River.

Some book sale patrons can't wait to start reading what they've bought. Or maybe they're deciding whether  to buy.

Book sale patrons read up before deciding whether to buy.

The Westport Library book sale depends on the services of hundreds of volunteers.

The Westport Library book sale depends on the services of hundreds of volunteers.

Lots of people no longer needed their copies of this book. Lots of others were ready to buy them.

Lots of people no longer needed their copies of this book. Lots of others were ready to buy them.

The Downtown Merchants Association’s 41st annual Fine Arts Festival runs today — Saturday, July 19 — until 6 p.m., and tomorrow (Sunday, July 20) from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at Parker Harding Plaza and Gorham Island. Across the Post Road, the Westport Library book sale is on today until 6 p.m. It continues tomorrow from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Everything is half-price on Monday. On Tuesday, July 22 (9 a.m.-1 p.m.) it’s all free (donations are accepted).

 

 

Fine Arts Festival Works Out Just Fine

Up in Vermont, Edward Loedding heard the reputation of the Westport Fine Arts Festival: It was a great show, but if you were stuck on Gorham Island, you were dead. It was hot as hell, and very few people ventured over.

So for several years, Loedding did not apply for a spot. Two years ago, he gave it a try.

He was put on Gorham Island — and had a “wonderful” experience. Last year, on Parker Harding Plaza, was even better.

Westport is now a highly prized spot on Loedding’s calendar. And he’s happy wherever he’s assigned.

 

"Sunset Barn," by Edward Loedding.

“Sunset Barn,” by Edward Loedding.

Loedding — a very talent photographer and digital artist — will be in Westport this weekend, for the 41st annual Art Show. (He’s in booth #64-65, along the river.) He joins over 135 artists — 39 of them new — showing works in drawing, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, watercolor, glass, fiber, wood, jewelry and ceramics.

Plus music, food, street performers, face painters, a magician, a balloon artist and mime.

"Don't mime me," this guy said last year at the Westport Fine Arts Festival.

“Don’t mime me,” this guy said last year at the Westport Fine Arts Festival.

Loedding loves it all — especially the art-lovers.

“A high percentage know what they’re looking for, and appreciate it,” Loedding says. “I do 20 shows a year up and down the East Coast, and that’s not always the case.”

A photographer -- and potential customer -- takes a shot of some intriguing art along the river, in 2011.

A potential customer takes a shot of some intriguing art along the river, in 2011.

Westport’s Elizabeth Marks Juviler will be there too. She’s involved in many local activities — Girl Scout leader, PAL cheerleading coach, Young Women’s League president, Historical Society board member, Westport Country Playhouse staffer — but she is also a noted artist.

Juviler has participated in the Downtown Merchants Association’s “Art About Town” event, and sells in galleries and design stores, but this is her 1st time at the summer show. “As a Westport artist who has purchased art there, I wanted to be in the Fine Arts Festival,” she says. “It’s a goal I set for myself.”

Westport — its landscapes, nature and beach — inspire Juviler’s work. Three years ago, she began incorporating recycled newspapers and magazines onto her canvases. She combines headlines, words, pictures and layers of paint to create art that is “a moment in time.”

Scores of artists — and hundreds of art lovers — will have their time this weekend. And whether they’re on the river or Gorham Island matters not at all.

(The Westport Downtown Merchants Association’s 41st annual Fine Arts Festival is set for this Saturday, July 19 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday, July 20 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at Parker Harding Plaza and Gorham Island. Meanwhile, across the Post Road, the Westport Library hosts its “best ever” book sale, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. both days.)

Artists relax near the work on Gorham Island, in 2009.

Artists relax near their work on Gorham Island, in 2009.

Art From The Heart

Let it never be said that Miggs  Burroughs does not have a sense of humor.

The artist/graphic designer/obsessive pro bono logo contributor to Westport organizations sent out this email alert today:

This weekend (Saturday, July 20, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, July 21, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), I will be in the Westport Fine Arts Festival, administering free CPR for up to 1 minute, to anyone collapsing from heat stroke in my booth (#69).

If you already own a piece of my work, I will administer CPR for up to 3 minutes. It’s a win-win for everyone.

At least, I think he’s kidding.

Miggs Burroughs with his artwork, prior to saving lives.

Miggs Burroughs with his artwork, prior to saving lives.

Westport’s Hottest Outdoor Art Show Celebrates 40 Years

This weekend will be blazingly hot.

I know it because this Saturday and Sunday are the dates for the Westport Outdoor Art Show. (Formal name: Westport Fine Arts Festival.)

This marks its 40th anniversary. And I’m pretty sure that each one has been held on the hottest weekend in history.

No matter. The show weathered a move from Main Street to Parker Harding Plaza and Gorham Island. It’s grown to 140 artists, representing 13 categories of art (glass, fiber, wood, ceramics, jewelry and digital art, for example).

A mime and artist, both hard at work during last year's Westport Fine Arts Festival.

A mime and artist, both hard at work during last year’s Westport Fine Arts Festival.

Each year brings new artists, performers and food trucks. The sponsoring Westport Downtown Merchants Association is particularly intrigued this year by newcomer Jason McLeod. He uses math, GPS coordinates, and all kinds of numbers, dates and symbols in his jewelry. Here’s a cuff called “Time Traveler Hinged,” crafted from sterling silver, 14k and 18k gold, crystal quartz, iolite and diamonds:

Arts Festival - Jason McLeod

This year features extended hours for a “cooler” evening experience (both literally and figuratively). Adult beverages will be served.

(The Outdoor Art Show is family friendly, of course, with plenty of hands-on kids’ activities, and children’s entertainment.)

There’s even an artsy new logo:

Westport Fine Arts FestivalThe artists have been chosen. Booths have been assigned. Food and entertainment is ready to go.

Now the weather just has to come through.

Not The Same Ol’ Fine Arts Festival

Tons of people — Westporters and outlanders — love the Westport Fine Arts Festival.

Party-poopers complain about the heat.

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association heard you. This Saturday’s event (July 21) runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Sunday hours are still 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

A small scene from last year’s Arts Festival.

Next excuse?

“It’s always the same stuff.”

Bunnies (and a carrot) by the banks of the Saugatuck.

Hah! This weekend — for the 1st time in 39 years — there are new categories: digital art, wood, jewelry, glass, ceramics and fiber.

So you not only have the usual art show — 140 booths featuring original drawing, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and watercolor — but you can take care of all your fiber needs too.

Take that, New York street fairs!

Several years ago, the Downtown Merchants moved Westport’s show from an actual street (Main) to a parking lot (Parker Harding) and island (Gorham). The move was controversial — some store owners thought they lost business — but we’ve still got “street” performers (everyone’s talking about the mime).

Children’s activities include a balloon artist and face painter.

Art — or a human being? You decide.

Music ranges from a steel band, jazz and local hotshot Dylan Connor to a sneak preview of the Staples Players’ summer production “Willy Wonka, the Musical.”

Refreshments are provided by Blue Lemon, Oscar’s Du Soleil Catering, Rita’s Italian Ice, Everybody Scream Ice Cream, and J&D Kettle Corn.

There’s also ice cold beer — and, new this year, wine.

If wine doesn’t say “Westport Downtown Arts Festival” — well, every party has its pooper.

(Added bonus: The Westport Library‘s annual book sale takes places a few yards away. The highest-priced item ever is on sale — a signed Andy Warhol volume, for $1,000 — but most books, CDs, etc. are $1 to $5. )

Sunday By The River

The jury is out.

Not on the art — the judges’ decisions come later — but on the 38th annual Westport Arts Festival itself.

It’s been held on the river edge of Parker Harding Plaza and adjacent Gorham Island for a couple of years now.  Before that, it was held in the middle of Main Street.

Some artists like the new location.  A cooling breeze blows off the river, and the setting is much more scenic than before.

Other artists — not so much.  They say there’s less foot traffic, less energy, and lower sales.

Of course, you can also blame the economy.

Or the gorgeous weather that sends folks scurrying to the beach, not the business district.

Judge for yourself.  Both the site, and the art displayed there.

A photographer -- and potential customer -- takes a shot of some intriguing art.

Intriguing sculptures line Gorham Island.

This is not a sculpture. It’s a living statue. I’m sure this guy was much happier standing by the river — not the middle of Main Street — for hours on end.

A youngster finds artwork less interesting than a large tree, stuck in the middle of the Saugatuck River.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Post Road, the ever-smiling Mimi Greenlee oversees the controlled chaos that is the Westport Public Library's summer book sale.

38 Arts Shows

Back in the day — when Gorham Island was a private residence, and Main Street had 2-way traffic — a couple of downtown merchants had an idea:  Let’s put on an arts show!

38 years later, it’s still going strong.

Artwork -- or street performer? You decide.

Now called a “fine arts festival” (sponsored by the Downtown Merchants Association and complete with website), the event — set for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow — has morphed into something pretty big.

It’s moved from the Main Street sidewalks to the middle of the road.  It expanded to Brooks Corner.  Now it’s moved to the back side of the stores:  Parker Harding Plaza and the now public Gorham Island.

A handful of artists (who paid just $25 to enter) has expanded to 140 (who pay much more).

In addition to oils, watercolors and charcoal, exhibiting artists include photographers, print makers and sculptors.

There are now street performers:  mimes, stilt walkers, living statues, balloon artists and face painters.  There’s music, refreshments from Blue Lemon, Da Pietro and Oscar’s.

But one part of the arts show has never changed.  And probably never will.

It will be hot as hell out there on the pavement.

Gateway Gardens Grow

LaurelRock crews made great progress this week on Westport’s new Gateway Gardens, on the east side of the Post Road bridge.

Installation of decorative granite posts, paving stones and new plantings should be completed by Friday — just in time for the weekend’s Fine Arts Festival.

LaurelRock — founded in Westport as Dickson DeMarche Landscape Architects — is donating the $35,000 gardens to celebrate the company’s 35th anniversary.

A dedication ceremony is set for this Sunday (July 17, 1 p.m.).

Fine Arts, Fine T-Shirts

What’s a Fine Arts Festival without fine art?

The Downtown Merchants Association wondered too.  So — to promote next month’s event — they organized a t-shirt design contest for students in Staples’ design and tech class entered.  The results (below) are worthy of Westport’s artists colony past.

Winners received cash from the Downtown Merchants, gift certificates to Bobby Q’s — and the chance to see their work worn all over at the 36th annual Westport Fine Arts Festival in July.

Front, from left: Cal Rider, who designed the winning children's shirt modeled by his brother Jack; Mario Lisanti and Robert Mahieu, who with Emily Weber (missing from photo) designed the winning adult shirt. Rear: Festival chair Michelle Weber; t-shirt coordinator Beth Orwasher; Downtown Merchants president Bob Le Rose.

Front, from left: Cal Rider, who designed the winning children's shirt modeled by his brother Jack; Mario Lisanti and Robert Mahieu, who with Emily Weber (missing from photo) designed the winning adult shirt. Rear: Festival chair Michelle Weber; t-shirt coordinator Beth Orwasher; Downtown Merchants president Bob LaRose.

(The Westport Fine Arts Festival — July 18-19 at Parker Harding Plaza and Gorham Island — features 140 artists, music, performers, children’s activities and food. Click here for details.)