Black Swamp Arts Festival expands juried art exhibition footprint to accommodate parklets – Reuters


By David Dupont

BG Independent News

The proliferation of parklets along Main Street is forcing changes to the layout of the juried art exhibition at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, September 9-11.

Jessica Turos, co-chair of the visual arts committee, said the festival will once again have 108 performer-jurors in 112 booths (four performers use double booths).

These stands, however, will be extended by an additional block, extending to the intersection of South Main and Pearl.

The addition of four more parklets on Main Street this summer made the expansion necessary.

The festival had arranged the artists in “quads”, with four booths together forming a square. This setup is a distinctive feature of the festival and is loved by performers, said Todd Ahrens, chairman of the festival committee made up of volunteers who produce the annual festival. “We try to maintain that as much as possible.”

But the parklets have made it impossible in some places to maintain the fire lane required by the city. Each parklet means the loss of space for four to eight stalls. This means that some stands will be arranged in pairs.

To compensate for this, the juried art exhibition will expand to Pearl Street.

The biggest challenge at the start of the summer was the uncertainty about the location of the parklets. Once this is determined, festival organizers could map the art stands.

Expanding the show north meant finding space for Chalk Walk, which was located in the block between Washington and Pearl.

The festival cannot expand beyond Pearl, said Doug Cubberley, co-chair of the venue and logistics committee. The city must maintain Pearl as a route for emergency vehicles crossing the city from the fire station to the west.

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

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

Ahrens noted that the construction of the new city building in this area will also require the tie-dyeing station to be moved to a new location.

The extension of the art exhibition to Pearl Street is not without precedent. In 2006, the art show traveled to Pearl as the festival increased the number of artists it included. However, it returned the following year and this provision 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 winners back on Main Street near the Flower Basket parking lot, which is a main entrance to Lot 2 with the main stage and garden of beer.

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

The 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, takes first place in 2-D.
  • Derrick Riley, an engraver from Lexington, Kentucky, placed second.
  • Joe Dagostino, Sagamore Hills photographer, third.
  • Jeneen Hobby, photography, and Robert Bridges, painting, honorable mentions.

Turos said there was a good mix of performers — some are regulars, some are new, some have been on the show a few times in the past.

The changing panel of jurors ensures a certain rotation in the artists who are accepted into the exhibition.

This is the second year that the art exhibition will open on Friday evening.

This change, requested by many artists, was a success, Ahrens said. “The artists were very happy with it.

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

Art exhibition hours are Friday (9/9), 5-8pm; Saturday (9/10), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday (11/09), from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

One downtown development that the festival will not participate in is DORA.

When passing legislation to extend the duration and area of ​​DORA, the city council cut out the festival weekend at the request of the festival. 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 spans Main Street.

Anytime an applicant changes their zone size, it opens them up to “enforcement issues,” Cubberley said. “That’s why we’re very diligent in the beer garden with identity checks. Expanding that would put us a little on edge trying to figure out how to make sure no one is drinking where they shouldn’t be.

This would make it more difficult to protect artists’ booths.

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

The city and the police division have been “outstanding” in working with the festival, Cubberley said.


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