Niagara-on-the-Lake resident Cynthia Rand has exhibited her art locally many times, but she has a special place in her heart for the Pelham Art Festival.
It’s an event that attracts interesting artists and a wide range of art, she said, so it’s fun to see what everyone else has brought.
It’s also an art show that has a cheerful atmosphere — it attracts a good crowd of people who seem to really enjoy the show and there is a lot going on in addition to the show and sale of art, she said.
This will be her third year at the festival, and although the three-day show can be tiring, it’s also very rewarding, she added.
Originating in someone’s backyard, the Pelham Art Festival Show and Sale has grown from a few painted canvasses and sketches on a lawn to 78 exhibits, luncheons, entertainment, and a wide variety of pleasant activities to fill Mother’s Day weekend.
This year’s event, from May 10 to 12, is making its Meridian Community Centre premiere, and Heidi TeBrake, the event’s committee chair, is ecstatic.
“It’s very exciting. It will be bigger, brighter and fresh,” she said, adding that all the additional light in the new building gives the event that “airy feeling.”
She noted all these qualities are conducive to a better presentation of the vast variety of artistic pieces, mediums, and jewelry in all its brilliance.
This year, the venue will be set up differently and there will be additional booths, with about 37 artisans from the Toronto area, eight of whom are new.
One of TeBrake’s goals is to continually offer new artwork, and the Pelham art committee has requested that returning artists showcase different pieces from last year. The event is hailed by many artists because of the genuine enthusiasm the community takes in the art itself, she said.
In the last four or five years, there has been a large “communal maple” tree hanging on a canvas for anyone attending the event to add a few splashes of paint, and collaborate in completing the picture.
“This show is lots of fun for the artists,” said Rand. “We can walk around and see a huge variety of art, “including ceramics, paintings of course, sculptures — wood turning and items made up of little pieces — really there is lots to see. The artists can make new connections and meet up with old friends,” she added.
“Everyone always seems to be enjoying themselves, both the vendors and customers. There’s great food, the music is good, and there’s lots going on.”
Proceeds from the Pelham Art Festival go toward the Pelham Public Library, and also provide $1,000 donations and scholarships to E. L. Crossley Secondary School, the Niagara Catholic District School Board, and Niagara College’s art design programs.
Appealing to the curiosity of children, the art show is offering a “scavenger hunt,” which requires its participants to seek out and interact with 10 artists. The end goal of this game is that children and their parents learn more about various types of art work, pointed out TeBrake. The winner receives an artsy door prize. Anyone interested in this event needs to fill out a form at the show to participate.
The festival is a juried event, and prizes are awarded based on criteria established by a committee of four knowledgeable judges, said TeBrake.
Rand will be showing eight pieces, including one of her favourite acrylics, entitled Be There Dragons? It’s large, colourful and impressive, with bits of old hemp rope incorporated into the details of the painting. Rand said when she and her husband moved into their Line 2 home about 45 years ago, there was some rope left behind in the barn, which eventually made its way into some of her work.
“I also like to work with wire, old, rusted, twisted vineyard wire,” she says — expect to see some of that in her paintings as well.
Rand is not the only local artist at the festival — NOTL visitors will see other familiar faces, as well as some new exhibitors from across the region and the Toronto area.
The festival runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 10, 11 and 12, with a Mother’s Day brunch Sunday.
For hours and more information visit www.pelhamartfestival.com.
With files from Gloria Katch, Voice of Pelham