Fourth Street was transformed over the weekend into what looked like an outdoor art gallery, overflowing with artists who traveled near and far to share their creations, words and music with the Bloomington community.
It was the 40th annual Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts, taking place Sept. 2 and 3, continuing to give numerous artists the opportunity to showcase their work in Bloomington.
Photographer Greg Turco is one of the many artists who crossed state lines to bring his art to the Fourth Street festival. Turco traveled from Georgia to showcase his photographs of vinyl, tapes and more as a full-time artist.
"My art, what I really enjoy doing, is kind of piecing together a lot of similar items and by putting them all in one frame, it exposes their differences rather than their similarities," Turco said.
Beyond bringing his artistic perspective to a new town, Turco said one the the reasons he returns to the Fourth Street festival is because an event like this allows artists like himself to make their own schedule and profits while being their own boss.
While the festival gives artists and business owners like Turco the chance to display their talent, the event also highlights another form of art: spoken word.
The middle of the festival displayed a Spoken Word Stage where readers were able to tell stories and share poetry. Readers and Bloomington residents Frank Brown Cloud and Kirstin Milks used their time to read poems written by male inmates at the Monroe Country Jail in Bloomington.
Brown Cloud said there are many ways poetry brings positivity to those reading and writing it.
"Poetry is both calming and puts the mind in a very reflective state," he said. "Another major benefit of poetry is that people who are caught up in the criminal justice system are often highly stigmatized against, and a poem doesn't ask much time of you. Not everyone would be willing to sit down and read 100 or 300 pages of a memoir from someone who has been incarcerated, but if a poem is asking you for two to five minutes of your attention then it's possible that someone could have his or her voice heard."
In addition to the Spoken Word Stage, the festival included a Musical Stage as well. Thirteen different acts took the stage between Sept. 2 and 3, including the Bloomington Peace Choir, Bloomington Swing Band and the Southern Indiana Wind Ensemble.
The ability to share and see all the different forms of art displayed at the festival is one of the reasons Bloomington resident and Mosaic mixed-media artist Cappi Phillips said she has participated in the event for more than 20 years.
"I love this show because first of all, it's in my neighborhood, I live not far from here, and I get to see friends, family and customers," Phillips said. "And I love the fact that artists come from all over, and I appreciate their willingness to come and share their art with our community."
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