Marion’s Annual Arts in the Park

On Saturday, July 7, The Marion Art Center hosted its 12th annual Arts in the Park Festival, showcasing local artists, craft makers, and artisans along with their impressive works. On the corner of Main and Spring Street at Marion’s Bicentennial Park, the small creative gathering garnered its fair share of local buzz and community, bringing out an abundance of those who enjoy handmade sentiments and well-crafted knick-knacks.

According to Jenny Costa, the interim administrator of the Marion Arts Center, the festival was a huge success.

“Not only are there a variety of vendors, but we also offer the NBAM ArtMobile for children to do crafts, as well as music performed by the Dixie Diehards,” Costa said in a follow-up with The Wanderer.

And accompanied by music from another local band, Yesterday’s Country Band, the outdoor gala shined brightly on the sun-drenched Saturday morning. The artisans and artists showcasing and selling their work covered an impressive variation of artwork, including everything from nautical photography to handmade clothing to stunning ceramics.

It was impossible not to smile while lollygagging through the homey arts festival and gazing at the homespun ornaments. Around every corner, there seemed to be some piece of art even more wild and eclectic than the last, whether it be the impressive designs sketched on BABS Fine Handmade Handbags or the dexterous owl craftings of Obsessed With Owls Woodworkings.

Every arts tent included something uniquely their own, never failing to awe and impress with heaping amounts of individuality and proficiency in their field. Behind every adept art piece seemed to be a smiling, friendly face offering a little more detail into the creative process or simply just a friendly conversation.

Through all of the fun of the festival, a few key values shined through every tent and every smile: the importance and payoff of hard work, the beautiful intricacy of sustainability, and the ability these qualities have to unite and bring out the best in a community. Everything the arts festival showcased was jaw-dropping and gorgeous, but the most important thing on the beautiful Saturday morning in Marion seemed to be the people.

“Personally, my favorite aspect of the event is that there is something for everyone,” said Costa.

From the homemade crafts to the beautiful park to the open gallery across the street, she has a point. And despite the profusion of amazing artwork, personality and geniality shined brightest at Bicentennial Park that day, and one might surmise that this is really where the goal of the annual arts festival lies.

By Caleb Jagoda

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