Over 150 artists from all over the East Coast showed off their passions at the Waterfront Park as part of the Big Four Arts Festival that took place on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 7-8.
The annual, all-inclusive, pet-friendly festival featured a range of 17 mediums and 200 artists, featuring everything from wood burning to jewelry to fine arts.
Jeribai Andrew-Jaja, a specialist in charcoal and pencil drawings, was one of the few first-time vendors at this art show.
“I’m a computer science [major] by profession, and I’m an artist by passion. However, I just made it a career recently, so this is my first time going out with my art,” Andrew-Jaja said.
More experienced creators, such as Tina Kelsey, also showed off their work at the show under the bridge.
“Well I started at that one little show and then after it was over, I just couldn’t stop,” said Kelsey, who began making tiaras of all colors, materials and themes on a camping trip about 20 years ago.
“When I put my tiara on, my family knows I mean business,” Kelsey said.
Kelsey began selling tiaras 12 years ago, and quit her teaching job five years ago to pursue the passion full-time.
“I love this, and I am the perfect poster child for following your bliss,” Kelsey said, “My friends were horrified that I was walking away from a salaried position with benefits, but it was making me sick.”
Much like Kelsey, many other artists advise newcomers to stay away from doubtful voices.
Alann Boatright, a professional painter, advises artists beginning to come to shows to not listen to other vendors that have had bad experiences with certain shows.
He believes that if your art is original enough, there will be an interested audience no matter the venue.
“Art should make you think,” Boatright said, “And if it’s just another scene out the window, it doesn’t keep waking you up everyday when you look at it. You get used to it. You get blind to it.”
He creates colorful and eye catching canvases depicting scenes featuring robots, but within each artwork, there is a deeper meaning.
“I paint robots, but I paint them purposely to distract you from the real story,” Boatright said.
The symbolizations range from the events within a year, a history of an individual, or even historical developments as significant as the civil rights movement.
Ariana Dzalic (11, VA) attended the event with a few close friends.
“It was great to see that so many different types of art are doing good at shows,” Dzalic said, “I think it’s good for people who want to grow up to be artists see them.”