At Greenwood’s annual WAMMfest, the sounds of classic rock and pop beg you to get up and dance.
People sip on pale ales, pilsners and Pinot grigio as they sway to the music. The party is in full swing.
The rocking bands, the diverse samples of wine and the thirst-quenching microbrews may draw the immediate attention. But for all of the raucous fun, the festival has a more cultural side as well.
WAMMfest has become a prime way to boost sales and gain exposure. The number of participating artists now includes nearly 80, more than ever before in the festival’s six-year history.
“They allowed an avenue to have the music and the art and everything together is great,” said Greenwood artist Amy Hommell. “I have the same people who come to see me every year now — they follow me and spend time with me at the festival.”
In the grassy section of Craig Park known as Artist’s Alley, creative works of all kinds will be on display for people to browse.
Booths boosting intricately crafted jewelry are set up next to photographers who have captured the perfect sunset, beach scene or rural farm house.
Brilliantly colored abstract paintings serve as a balance to formal portraits and still lifes.
“We have a little something for everyone,” said David Wolf, chairman of the arts committee. “From an artist perspective, it’s very convenient, very easy show to work at.”
Where previous WAMMfests have attracted 50 or fewer artists to participate, this year has brought an unprecedented jump to 78. Wolf attributes the jump to the reputation Greenwood has attained throughout the artist community.
“Word is out that it’s a good festival, and there’s always a good turnout, and I think artists want to be a part of it,” he said.
Painters Angie Nuttle and her mother, Earline Houchins, will be displaying their art at WAMMfest for the first time.
They opened their own art business, Nut Houch Art, in Greenwood three years ago. Nuttle had worked in organizational development and talent for companies such as Roche Diagnostics and Northrup Grumman for many years but wanted to help her mother as she was being treated for leukemia.
Together, they discovered their love of art growing.
Houchins is a fine traditional artist, while Nuttle gravitates towards more modern, abstract creations. While Houchins’ art is exact and lifelike, Nuttle blends whimsical and serious abstract art with eye-popping color.
“We are complete opposites,” Nuttle said.
What started as an online store and a few commissions has grown into a regular rotation of art shows and appearances throughout central Indiana.
This is the first time they are participating in WAMM Fest, though they have attended as spectators before. Being their hometown show, they said they’re excited for the additional exposure in the local market.
“I think one of the great benefits is we don’t have to drive too far,” Nuttle said. “We just started doing art shows, and it feels different knowing we’re going to do it here in Greenwood. It’s where we’re from, and we know people in the community.”
Hommell has been participating in the festival since the first year.
Focusing on acrylic painting on canvas, her work ranges from subtle abstract work in bright yellows and deep reds to dreamlike flowers.
Last year, Hommell opened up her own gallery, Teal Canary Art Studio. Children and adults can come and learn to the basics of painting.
People can rent out the space for private parties, where Hommell gives an art lesson for girls’ nights, bachelorette parties and fundraisers.
She was inspired to open the space through her work at the WAMM Fest.
“I’m local in Greenwood, and it inspired me to do more with my art,” she said. “I don’t know if I would have done this if not for the exposure and experience there.”
Bradley Cox of Nashville has also been showing at WAMM Fest since the start. He specializes in repurposed and recycled metal, which he welds at his studio — a renovated grist mill.
Cox has found that the WAMM Fest serves as an excellent driver of business.
“When I do a show like that, I get a lot of people who come down and visit the studio,” he said. “The show may get me ‘X’ amount of dollars, but then I’m making more the next few weeks as people come down to the studio.”