Annual Bloomington arts festival showcases local talent


People walk around the Fourth Street Festival on Aug. 30. The festival gave vendors an opportunity to showcase and sell things like art, photography, pottery and jewelry.  Claire Livingston

Since 1977, artists of different backgrounds have been coming together to organize the 4th Street Arts & Crafts Festival during Labor Day Weekend, with this year boasting 120 artists.  

“This is the biggest the crowd has gotten in the last few years,” Julia Roberts, the planner for this year’s festival, said.  

While a big crowd may be good for festival partakers, it may not be so good for those that come from out of state and have to pay for food and other expenses. Taking all this into account, Roberts and her team of volunteers handed out surveys to convince the funding board to put more money into the festival to make it even more successful. 

One reason why it’s already so successful even without additional funding is the time and effort each artist puts into their work. Suzanne Halvorson, a textile studio artist and adjunct IU professor, went in-depth about her weavings. 

“Most of my designs are ethnographic, but some overlay among various cultures,” Halvorson said.

Halvorson is known for her double-weaving where she does two different layers at the same time on the loom. Those patterns are usually done in one of three materials: linen, rayon or bamboo fibers. 

A jewelry store that stood out among the crowd was La Plume. All the jewelry, mirrors and other accessories were made out of bird feathers that were repurposed from animals used mainly in the food business. 

“My mother uses only feathers to create these pieces,” Cassie Sloan, co-creator of La Plume, said. 

This festival is heavily appreciated among all generations, with many different ages colliding to appreciate the talent in the community and to share their work with the greater Bloomington Area. 

“The artists have to apply, and are selected by an external committee, therefore making them put forth their best effort,” Roberts said.

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