New artists featured at 35th annual Arts Fair on the Square



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Jennifer Drettman, a Jacob's School graduate, dances with Windfall Dancers Inc. at the Arts Fair on the Square on Saturday. The fair offered a variety of art including performance, sculptures, and paintings. Jordin Perkins Buy Photos

Hundreds of local residents walked on the intertwining walkways from tent to tent in the area surrounding the Monroe County Courthouse on Saturday. An interpretive dance group performed in the middle of it all.

This was the scene of the 35th annual Arts Fair on the Square organized by the Bloomington Playwrights Project.

Along with Bloomington Handmade Market, Fourth Street Festival of Arts and Crafts, and more, Arts Fair on the Square is one of the many ways local organizations bring handmade art to the city.

For its 35th year, the fair added 30 new artists to bring even more art to the town, said Lee Burckes, the event organizer for Arts Fair on the Square, in an interview prior to this year’s event.

“Even if they have been to the event before, there is something new that everyone can benefit from,” she said. “Even if you don’t particularly care for art, it is exciting, fun and diverse.”

The fair featured work from over 100 national and regional artists, according to the event’s website. Just like the artwork and artists, the patrons were of a wide demographic as well. Visitors included locals as well as artists, students and families from all over the country.

The fair partners with Taste of Bloomington, another event held in the downtown area later in the day, to provide a full array of culinary culture of the region, arts and crafts

Arts Fair on the Square also included entertainment and interactive activities for patrons of all ages.

Wine & Canvas, a company which offers classes on painting while patrons can enjoy drinks or food, had a free class in which children and adults alike could learn to paint a simple design.

While a free class isn’t usual for Wine & Canvas, it gives them an ?opportunity to promote and is fun for employees and residents, said Ayla Dollar, an employee who was working the event.

“I think it creates some interest in art for our young kids,” she said. “Especially when they are just ?walking by and it’s free, and they just get to do whatever they want.”

Given the attractions, the fair isn’t only for fans of the local art scene and those looking to ?buy pieces of art. However, there are options for those who do want to do so, said Holly Oden.

“We weren’t planning on buying anything but there is some stuff that’s pretty cool,” she said. “There’s a lady who’s working with natural wood. She’s carving miniature figurines out of it.”

While most artists work out of studios in various cities, many of them travel from fair to fair.

“I tour around from state to state to find different art shows,” said Damon Butler, a photographer based out of Indianapolis. “This isn’t my full time gig, but I get to show off my work.”

While not all artists are local, the fair is an opportunity to express the prevalence of artwork in town already, said Kate Minelli, a Bloomington resident.

“I think it brings a lot to the town,” she said. ?“Support of local artists and of all things handmade, it’s something that culture has gotten away from. It’s wonderful to actually see people making things with their hands.”

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