New Fourth Street Art Fair to debut Saturday

The great outdoors can frame great art as well as nearly anything. So say organizers of the first local outdoor art festival in Columbus in a few years.

The new, free Fourth Street Art Fair will debut from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday along the west end of Fourth Street in downtown Columbus with 20 varied vendors. Local artist and event founder Ally Marshall, working alongside Columbus Bar owner Cory P. Parker, purposely planned the event to be small in order to make it manageable.

Among the last outdoor art events locally was ArtFest, which lasted seven years until 2016 under local photographer and printmaker Bob Anderson of Stillframes and sometimes attracted 90 vendors and more than 3,000 people to downtown. That was followed by Sunrise Rotary’s Plein Air Paintout held in 2018 and 2019.

“I got the idea for this in my head back in March,” Marshall said.

She began doing cut-and-paste collage as her specialty not long ago after entering her work in the Columbus Area Arts Council’s 50-50 exhibit highlighting area residents’ inspiration on four-inch square blocks. She also recently began creating and selling some wire-wrapped jewelry, too.

Brooke Hawkins, interim executive director of the Columbus Area Arts Council, suggested the fair include an open mic area for local singers, musicians and such. And organizers have done their best to line up possible performers. Some vendors will be doing demonstrations during the event, such as caricature artist Kevin Zeigler.

Children’s activities also will be offered.

Marshall is keeping her event expectations focused primarily on the participants.

“Big attendance numbers, of course, would be great,” Marshall said. “But what would be even more satisfying to me would be to have all the artists really be able to sell well, and have a good time.”

Yet, ideally, she would like to see the gathering grow to include the west end of Fourth Street as well. But currently, as a full-time college student, it’s tough to picture that growth right now.

“But that would be fantastic,” Marshall said.

Anderson might be among her happier vendors gearing up for the fair, considered a rain-or-shine presentation.

“I’m excited about this,” he said. “And I’m really glad it’s happening. For a long time now, I have wanted to see someone pick up the reigns, so to speak.”

He will be selling smaller images as he does regularly at the Columbus Farmers Market. But he also will be selling oversized pieces, too.

“If people like the more limited art selection normally available at the farmers market, then I think they’ll really enjoy the larger selection at this fair,” Anderson said.

Good Vibrations Tattoo and Body Art, The Columbus Bar, and the Columbus Area Arts Council are sponsoring the fair.

Columbus painter Brandon Seeley, inspired chiefly by the work of Salvador Dali, decided to be a part of the weekend at Marshall’s urging. He never has publicly shown or sold his mostly abstract acrylic work.

“In the past, if a friend told me they really liked something, I just gave it to them,” Seeley said. “I’ve not been one to promote myself.”

At least until now.

About the event

What: The new Fourth Street Art Fair.

When: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, rain or shine.

Where: The west end of Fourth Street in downtown Columbus.

Admission: Free.