Black Swamp Arts Festival expands juried art show footprint to accommodate parquet floors – BG Independent News


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Proliferating parklets along Main Street are forcing changes to the layout of the juried art show at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Sept. 9-11.

Jessica Touros, co-chair of the visual arts committee, said the festival will again have 108 juried artists in 112 booths (four artists are using double booths).

However, those booths will be stretched into an additional block extending to the intersection of South Main and Pearl.

The addition of four more parks on Main Street this summer necessitated the expansion.

The festival arranged the artists in “fours”, with four booths together forming a square. That setup is a distinctive part of the festival and appeals to artists, said Todd Ahrens, chairman of the volunteer festival committee that produces the annual festival. “We try to maintain that as much as possible.”

But the parquets made it impossible in some places to maintain the fire lane required by the city. Each parquet means a loss of space for four to eight cubicles. This means that some cabins will be arranged in pairs.

To compensate, the juried art show will extend to Pearl Street.

The biggest challenge at the beginning of this summer was the uncertainty of where the parquets would be. Once that was determined, festival organizers could map out the art booths.

The expansion of the show north meant that space had to be found for the Chalk Walk, which is located on the block between Washington and Pearl.

The festival cannot extend beyond the Pearl, said Doug Cubberly, who co-chairs the site and logistics committee. The city should maintain Pearl as a route for emergency vehicles crossing the city from the fire station to the west.

So the Chalk Walk was moved to the other end of the festival, just beyond the Youth Arts Village, extending to Clay Street.

This really brings it close to another activity aimed at teenagers, Beats on the Street, which takes place on the Youth Arts stage.

Ahrens noted that construction of the new city building in that area will also require moving the tie station to a new location.

The extension of the art show to Pearl Street is not unprecedented. In 2006, the art show moved to the Pearl as the festival increased the number of artists it featured. However, it reverted to the following year and this layout has been used ever since.

This year, the visual arts committee is using an idea that originated in 2006. They are placing the seven or eight returning winners on Main Street near the Flower Basket parking lot, which is the main entrance to Lot 2 with the main stage and beer garden.

2021 Best of Show winner Said Oladejo-Lawal will return for this year’s festival.

Returning winners are:

  • Said Oladejo-Lawal, painting, Columbus, best of show.
  • Sumiko Takada, ceramics, Upper Arlington, first place 3-D
  • Nick Ringelstetter, Spring Green, Wis., who is focusing on painting this year, first place 2-D.
  • Derrick Riley, a printer from Lexington, Kentucky, second place.
  • Joe Dagostino, Sagamore Hills photographer, third place.
  • Jeneen Hobby, photography, and Robert Bridges, painting, honorable mentions.

Touros said there is a good mix of artists – some are regulars, some are new, some have been on the show multiple times in the past.

A rotating panel of judges ensures some turnover in the artists who are accepted into the show.

This is the second year the art show will open on Friday night.

That change, which many artists want, has been successful, Ahrens said. “The artists were very happy about it.”

“Times are changing,” Cubberly said. For years, the city resisted closing Main Street on Friday nights.

Art show hours are Friday (9/9), 5-8pm; Saturday (9/10), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday (September 11), from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m

One city center that the festival will not be participating in is DORA.

In passing the legislation to extend DORA’s time and area, the city council designated a festival weekend at the festival’s request. The festival’s footprint is different from DORA’s, Ahrens said. The festival sells alcohol with an F permit and this applies to Lot 2 behind Juniper and Beckett’s. DORA stretches down the high street.

Anytime an applicant changes the size of their acreage, it opens them up to “enforcement issues,” Cubberley said. “That’s why we’re very diligent in the beer hall with ID checks. If we expand that, it would make us a little bit more trying to figure out how to make sure that nobody’s drinking where they shouldn’t.”

This would make it difficult to protect artist booths.

Additionally, the city and police have opposed extending DORA to parking lots, including Lot 2, Ahrens said.

The city and police department are “extremely” cooperative with the festival, Cubberly said.

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