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Columbus photographer Bob Anderson has seen ArtFEST grow from a practical business outlet for creative people to a burgeoning bit of leisurely entertainment for a regional audience.
It was born in 2010 after several local artists using Anderson for printmaking asked if they could find another outlet for their work similar to the Chautauqua of the Arts festival.
That event drew a few thousand people annually to Mill Race Park beginning in the early 1990s before it died in 2006 as the Lazy River Arts and Crafts Festival.
“There are not always a lot of places locally to sell your artwork,” said Anderson, who launched and coordinates ArtFEST.
If you go
What: Fourth Annual ArtFEST, featuring more than 80 booths of artists from several states
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Along Washington and Fourth streets in downtown Columbus
Also: Glass-blowing demonstrations organized by the Columbus Area Arts Council will take place nearby
Information: Bob Anderson at 372-0762
The event, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday along Washington and Fourth streets in downtown Columbus, will feature painters, sculptors, photographers, jewelry makers, fiber and glass artists, wood workers and others. It attracted about 3,000 people last year.
“I feel like this year will be better, because we’re getting the word out a little better,” he said. “And the longer we’re doing this, the easier people will begin to remember that ArtFEST is always toward the end of August.”
The 80 booths feature artists from Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and other states. About 20 percent of the artists will be local in the juried event, in which a panel approves each artist involved.
The artist lineup includes nontraditional creators such as Justin the Artistic Horse.
Columbus’ Adonna Combs, Justin’s owner, has a degree in fine arts. She introduced him to the expression when she noticed that he would reach for her dressage whip with his mouth. His work is lighthearted enough that she affixes titles to them such as “Hay Now.”
But the paintings also are serious enough that they have sold for as much as $5,000. Doubters of his interest and ability can watch him paint during brief portions of ArtFEST.
“Justin’s paintings reflect his personality,” Combs said. “They are bold, confident and playful.”
A couple of finished works actually look like free-form paintings of a horse, with an outline of ears and a tail. Each carries his signature hoofprint.
More traditional artists planning to participate include members of the Roundabout Art Co-op, which formed last year. Painter Karen Newell exhibited some of her work last year with the co-op.
“I thought there was a fairly good crowd,” Newell said. “But, of course, we’re hoping for even more this year. We thought we got pretty good exposure for our beginning. We’re still building an audience.”
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