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Art-a-Fest returns to Charles City Saturday

Art-a-Fest returns to Charles City Saturday
Artists and artisans from all over Iowa and beyond will have their work on display and for sale on Saturday in Central Park when Charles City’s annual Art-a-Fest gets under way. (Press file photo by James Grob.)
By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

Ashley Koebrick Schmidt is hoping Art-a-Fest 2021 will be one to remember.

“We are hoping we can bring the fun and festivity of Art-a-Fest back this year,” said Schmidt, chairman of the annual art exhibition held each August in Charles City. “We have a great committee this year, with a lot of volunteers helping.”

The 48th annual Art-a-Fest will be held in Central Park on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring interactive arts activities for children, live performing artists, and food from a variety of local and regional vendors.

“This year we’ve been doing our best to really make this a celebratory occasion, coming back from 2020, when we weren’t able to meet in person,” Schmidt said. “We really wanted to make this a memorable year, so we were able to secure some grants that helped us with advertising and helped us spend some advertising money in the community.”

Grants also went to special accommodations for all the participating artists and vendors.

Last year, pandemic precautions forced Art-a-Fest online, where artists displayed their work and patrons could purchase the art and pick it up later at the Charles City Arts Center. Although it was a decent alternative, it didn’t come close to capturing the festive atmosphere that Art-a-Fest has brought to the community for nearly 50 years.

This year, there will be 27 artists and one non-profit group offering a variety of artwork for sale, with art mediums including ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, photography, drawing, painting, woodwork, fiber and mixed media.

“We will still be taking all the precautions necessary to make sure it’s a safe event for the community and all the participating artists and vendors,” Schmidt said.

Artists this year include Ann Bishop McGregor, Anna Gilbert, Anne Boerschel, Ashley Koebrick Schmidt, Bill Haywood, Bruce W. Litterer, Connie Rodgers, Chris J. Falkavage, Darlene Shultz, Dennis Helmers, Don Semelhack, James Kerns, Janiece Bergland, Judy Sebern Beachy, Kathi Fehr, Katie’s Kreations, Kurt Wedeking, Madalyn (Loring) Vorrie, Malayne Meyer, Meredith Hamm, Michelle Juhl, Dan and Mickey Johnson, Molly Barrett, Noah Orthel, Ruben Ruiz, Stephen Schiller and Yoshiko Johnson.

Art-a-Fest “Bucks” can be used toward the purchase of artwork during the event. Several $25, $50 and even $100 prizes will be awarded.

Live performers this year include Sonny Diesburg, a Charles City native who plays music “solely to make people smile and dance and never backs down from a good request.”

Also performing will be Christine Cleveland, the parish music and liturgy coordinator and pianist at Immaculate Conception Church and the music department pianist for Charles City Community School District.

The music of Der Polka Prost will also be featured, with traditional upbeat polkas, waltzes, schottisches, two-steps, and more; as will the music of Sam Crosser from Osage, who plays with the local bands Nova Jazz, Island Fever and 5 Friends. Sam is also a member of the Piano Technicians Guild.

Judging the artists will be Charles City native Anastasia Chloe Parsons, a multidisciplinary artist whose work focuses on themes of memory and home. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography, a minor in Art History, and a concentration in Museum Studies from the University of Northern Iowa in 2019.

Parsons will award 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes, honorable mentions, and a special award in honor of Jean Semelhack to participating artists during the event. Cash prizes are awarded to artists whose work is judged superior.

All of the participating artists have been spotlighted on the Art-a-Fest Facebook Page over the last few weeks, and much more information is also available there. Much more information is also available on the Art-a-Fest website, charlescityartafest.com.

There will be free activities for kids, available for the duration of Art-a-Fest or while supplies last. Kids games and interactive activities will include jumbo yard games, such as giant tumbling blocks, checkers and chess; sidewalk chalk, spin art, slime art, rock painting and much more.

There is also a logo design contest this year. All submitted designs are displayed on the website and in the information booth during Art-a-Fest, where patrons can cast their votes. Whichever design gets the most votes during Art-a-Fest will be next year’s logo.

Vendors this year will include Charles City Hy-Vee, which will be offering freshly made burgers, brats, and hotdogs, as well as chips and bottled soda/water; Tin Cup Bus Stop, which offers espresso, lattes (hot and iced), cold brew, brewed coffee and homemade lemonade; The Shiver N Squirrel, which offers shaved ice cups , Italian iced sodas, and frozen yogurt; and Tellurian Brewing, which will offer a selection of craft beers, brewed right here in Charles City.

For 48 years, the Art-a-Fest festival has fulfilled an important role in the community and surrounding areas by supporting and celebrating local artists. The goal is to make the arts accessible to all members of our community during the one-day free event.

Art-a-Fest is a rain or shine festival, and will be relocated indoors in the event of severe weather, only. The local Farmers Market will also be set up adjacent to the park until noon.

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Posted on

Art-a-Fest returns to Charles City Saturday

Art-a-Fest returns to Charles City Saturday
Artists and artisans from all over Iowa and beyond will have their work on display and for sale on Saturday in Central Park when Charles City’s annual Art-a-Fest gets under way. (Press file photo by James Grob.)
By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

Ashley Koebrick Schmidt is hoping Art-a-Fest 2021 will be one to remember.

“We are hoping we can bring the fun and festivity of Art-a-Fest back this year,” said Schmidt, chairman of the annual art exhibition held each August in Charles City. “We have a great committee this year, with a lot of volunteers helping.”

The 48th annual Art-a-Fest will be held in Central Park on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring interactive arts activities for children, live performing artists, and food from a variety of local and regional vendors.

“This year we’ve been doing our best to really make this a celebratory occasion, coming back from 2020, when we weren’t able to meet in person,” Schmidt said. “We really wanted to make this a memorable year, so we were able to secure some grants that helped us with advertising and helped us spend some advertising money in the community.”

Grants also went to special accommodations for all the participating artists and vendors.

Last year, pandemic precautions forced Art-a-Fest online, where artists displayed their work and patrons could purchase the art and pick it up later at the Charles City Arts Center. Although it was a decent alternative, it didn’t come close to capturing the festive atmosphere that Art-a-Fest has brought to the community for nearly 50 years.

This year, there will be 27 artists and one non-profit group offering a variety of artwork for sale, with art mediums including ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, photography, drawing, painting, woodwork, fiber and mixed media.

“We will still be taking all the precautions necessary to make sure it’s a safe event for the community and all the participating artists and vendors,” Schmidt said.

Artists this year include Ann Bishop McGregor, Anna Gilbert, Anne Boerschel, Ashley Koebrick Schmidt, Bill Haywood, Bruce W. Litterer, Connie Rodgers, Chris J. Falkavage, Darlene Shultz, Dennis Helmers, Don Semelhack, James Kerns, Janiece Bergland, Judy Sebern Beachy, Kathi Fehr, Katie’s Kreations, Kurt Wedeking, Madalyn (Loring) Vorrie, Malayne Meyer, Meredith Hamm, Michelle Juhl, Dan and Mickey Johnson, Molly Barrett, Noah Orthel, Ruben Ruiz, Stephen Schiller and Yoshiko Johnson.

Art-a-Fest “Bucks” can be used toward the purchase of artwork during the event. Several $25, $50 and even $100 prizes will be awarded.

Live performers this year include Sonny Diesburg, a Charles City native who plays music “solely to make people smile and dance and never backs down from a good request.”

Also performing will be Christine Cleveland, the parish music and liturgy coordinator and pianist at Immaculate Conception Church and the music department pianist for Charles City Community School District.

The music of Der Polka Prost will also be featured, with traditional upbeat polkas, waltzes, schottisches, two-steps, and more; as will the music of Sam Crosser from Osage, who plays with the local bands Nova Jazz, Island Fever and 5 Friends. Sam is also a member of the Piano Technicians Guild.

Judging the artists will be Charles City native Anastasia Chloe Parsons, a multidisciplinary artist whose work focuses on themes of memory and home. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography, a minor in Art History, and a concentration in Museum Studies from the University of Northern Iowa in 2019.

Parsons will award 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes, honorable mentions, and a special award in honor of Jean Semelhack to participating artists during the event. Cash prizes are awarded to artists whose work is judged superior.

All of the participating artists have been spotlighted on the Art-a-Fest Facebook Page over the last few weeks, and much more information is also available there. Much more information is also available on the Art-a-Fest website, charlescityartafest.com.

There will be free activities for kids, available for the duration of Art-a-Fest or while supplies last. Kids games and interactive activities will include jumbo yard games, such as giant tumbling blocks, checkers and chess; sidewalk chalk, spin art, slime art, rock painting and much more.

There is also a logo design contest this year. All submitted designs are displayed on the website and in the information booth during Art-a-Fest, where patrons can cast their votes. Whichever design gets the most votes during Art-a-Fest will be next year’s logo.

Vendors this year will include Charles City Hy-Vee, which will be offering freshly made burgers, brats, and hotdogs, as well as chips and bottled soda/water; Tin Cup Bus Stop, which offers espresso, lattes (hot and iced), cold brew, brewed coffee and homemade lemonade; The Shiver N Squirrel, which offers shaved ice cups , Italian iced sodas, and frozen yogurt; and Tellurian Brewing, which will offer a selection of craft beers, brewed right here in Charles City.

For 48 years, the Art-a-Fest festival has fulfilled an important role in the community and surrounding areas by supporting and celebrating local artists. The goal is to make the arts accessible to all members of our community during the one-day free event.

Art-a-Fest is a rain or shine festival, and will be relocated indoors in the event of severe weather, only. The local Farmers Market will also be set up adjacent to the park until noon.

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