ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

Celebrating the Handmade

by | Sep 7, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment

We are beyond fortunate to live in a town that prizes art, understands its value, and celebrates it with murals, public sculpture, and interactive festivals. The Downtown Davidson Arts Festival is one such event, which was created after I received an email from Brian Helfrich of Summit Coffee suggesting that I plan an art crawl for Davidson. I owned an art gallery, called Sanctuary of Davidson, and at the time was always trying to come up with ideas about how to bring more attention to the artists I represented. I considered the idea brilliant for my 90 existing artists in the gallery and more on the street? Genius! I got to work.

The goal of the festival was the same as that of Sanctuary – to be local, affordable, and handmade. There are many artists living among us, and I dreamed of introducing them to each other and potential buyers. Did you know your neighbor knitted scarves? Or that your daughter’s best friend’s dad could turn wood? How about your son’s teacher who makes shea butter soap? Most of these folks do not even consider themselves artists. But I did. And I wanted to give them the confidence to show off their talents with a local festival to proudly display their crafts. I sent the word out to the artists in my gallery and asked them to tell their friends. With less than one month to plan, I had no idea what would happen but was optimistic.

Davidson did not let me down. Twenty-five artists quickly signed up even though the crawl was going to take place in the unpredictable November weather. Volunteers posted flyers throughout the town. Businesses gave assistance by offering extension cords hooked to indoor outlets to help light up the street and even threaded cords through mail slots if they were closed for the evening. Artists, business owners, and townsfolk spread the word with social media and word of mouth. Before we knew it, it was the night of the crawl, and we had ourselves a superb little show. What a thrill to be part of an all-out team effort by so many to make the evening such a fabulous event. These artists and makers took a chance and were rewarded by an uncommonly warm autumn evening full of enthusiastic art lovers who certainly did not disappoint. They purchased early Christmas gifts, unique keepsakes, and functional handcrafts.

That first exciting night was four years ago and The Downtown Davidson Art Crawl has since become The Downtown Davidson Arts Festival, featuring over 40 artists, live music, and a children’s interactive arts area. It has blossomed into a wonderful celebration of all things handmade and has become a much anticipated, yearly town event.

If you have never experienced the show before, or even if you have attended each one, we are looking forward to seeing you on September 30 from 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Bring the whole family and spend an artful evening with us.

Kristen Feighery

Kristen Feighery is a self-taught folk artist, originally from southeastern Kentucky. She spends her days painting anything not nailed down (and some things that are), chauffeuring one daughter to sporting events, having tea parties with the other, and writing a blog.  She's also married to a rather large Irishman and has a pub in her house. Really.

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