Summer Festival of the Arts Prepares for Weekend

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Today, the day before the 16th annual Summer Festival of the Arts kicks off on the campus of Youngstown State University, a small contingent of vendors began pitching their tents and setting up their wares.

With items that range from dresses to glassware and frog-themed vases to gourmet coffee, the show will feature 80 artists from several states, says the event coordinator, Lori Factor.

The Summer Festival of the Arts begins at 10 a.m. Saturday and runs to 7 p.m. It resumes at 11 a.m. Sunday and ends at 5 p.m.

“Each one really does have its own flavor and it all depends on what you like,” Factor said. “There's everything from photography to wood to paintings and jewelry. My advice is to come with an open mind and see what you like.”

When the festival began 16 years ago, doubt was palpable that it would succeed, says YSU professor George McCloud, who was involved in putting on the first festival.

“The community is responsible for this,” he said. “When we first started, people told us, 'No one's going to come to this. No one wants to see this stuff.' The success really showed how much people love the arts in this community.”

Mike Avey, owner of Joe Maxx Coffee in the downtown, says that while he's been to earlier festivals, this is the first year he's had a booth. Seeing the quality of work from vendors prompted him to join in.

“They've always had great artisans and a lot of great food," Avey said. “The grounds of the commons here on campus are just beautiful and it all makes it a great place to spend a Saturday or Sunday for a lot of people.”

Vendors from out of state also began arriving this morning. Among them are Sheri Anderton-Yardell, owner of Moonrise Porcelain and Stonework in Franklin, Pa. Her artwork, mostly vases and dishes, incorporates whales and amphibians.

“I would say that everything I produce is unique. I try to get a rich, textural surface by using vintage crochets and then layering it with glazes over a period of days,” she said.

While she won't be returning next year, she adds, because she’s decided to work out of her shop back home, participating in the Summer Festival of the Arts has been a good experience.

“This is my 36th year doing shows, so after this I want to focus on my galleries,” she said. “Already all of the organizations for the show have been very pleasant and cooperative. Even the setup has been very easy.”

Copyright 2014 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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