midst the laughter, music and revelry of the SS. Francis and Clare Catholic Church fall festival, visitors will find a wellspring of creativity on display.
Bold colors and subtle shading bring life to easels full of oil paintings. Watercolors provide dreamlike and surreal touches to landscapes and portraits.
Wood artists create lifelike detail out of driftwood, oak, pine and other types. Pottery, jewelry and glasswork show off the handiwork of some of the area’s best artists.
What started as one of many activities at the parish fall festival has grown into a popular southside arts event. Art in the Park and its companion event, Art After Dark, will attract more than 20 artists from around the area, with hundreds of people passing by their booths to purchase pieces.
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From mixed media to oil painting to sculpture to pottery, aficionados will find the best local works for their collections and help support the art community on the southside.
“When people come up, especially kids with all of the bright colors, and you see the smile on their face, you realize that your work helps lift people up. I like to see people lifted up and make their day a little better,” said Sally Schlegel, a southside painter.
Art in the Dark will be 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and noon to 9 p.m. Saturday. Art in the Park will be noon to 7 p.m. Saturday.
SS. Francis and Clare organizers founded Art in the Park in 2010 as a feature of its fall festival. The idea was to create a different type of experience for attendees than the typical carnival rides, rock music and Monte Carlo games.
Wine tasting and jazz accompanied local artists who wanted to show their creativity.
“It’s a way to make it more of an upscale event,” said Rory Small, chairwoman of the event.
The event has grown every year, with more painters, sculptors and other artists taking part.
The Art After Dark aspect was added last fall to work alongside it, as artists could move to booths indoors in the evening.
Both artists and visitors found the opportunity beneficial. Organizers have expanded it this year to include Friday night and all day Saturday.
“A two-day event with evening exposure has been very popular with the artists,” Small said. “I’m having to turn people away for Art After Dark, since we cannot fit any more people in this gymnasium.”
Jennifer Fledderman first attended Art in the Park as an artist in 2013, selling her mixed-media decoupage creations. She skipped last year but became intrigued by the expanded indoor Art After Dark offering.
“It’s indoor, with air conditioning if it’s a hot day,” she said. “Plus, I think we’ll get a lot more people coming through since they’ll be there for the music and food in the evening. There will be a lot more traffic.”
Art shows and craft events such as this are vital to artists being able to create a market for their goods, Fledderman said. But it’s also rewarding to interact with people and teach them about the vitality of art on the southside.
Connecting with a community of artists can offer inspiration and provide leads on other shows to take part in.
“I’ve gotten ideas from other artists who have had booths next to me, and I’ve networked with other crafters to help everyone’s business as well,” Fledderman said. “We’re able to give each other contacts to make to help our sales grow.”
This will be the first time Schlegel is taking part in the event.
With family in the area, she hopes to have a large crowd to watch her paint, she said.
Art in the Park will remain centered on Saturday afternoon, with a new twist to get people more intimately involved in the artistic process. Attendees will have a chance to try their own creativity. Wine and Canvas, the do-it-yourself studio, will set up in a special section at Art in the Park to offer free art lessons.
“Most of these people have been coming back year after year,” Small said. “That makes us feel like we’re doing something right, that they’re getting enough exposure.”
Art After Dark and Art in the Park
When: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday; noon to 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: SS. Francis and Clare Catholic Church gymnasium, 5901 Olive Branch Road, Greenwood
What: An indoor showcase of artistry including mixed media, painting, sculpture and jewelry.
Art in the Park
When: Noon to 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Outdoor grounds of SS. Francis and Clare Catholic Church
What: An outdoor companion of Art After Dark
Cost for both events: Free