Williamsburg’s premiere art events, An Occasion for the Arts, kicked off Friday evening with “Kickoff pARTy” organized through a partnership with local nonprofit group Culturefix. Davina and the Vagabonds performed their jazz blues repertoire, setting the mood for an arts-filled weekend.
“In the past, there wasn’t really a starting point for the weekend,” said Steve Rose, founder and president of Culturefix.
“It just sort of caps off the weekend,” said co-founder Jennifer Raines. “It adds to the festive atmosphere, sort of gets the town involved.”
With the concert taking the stage in the courtyard area behind Blue Talon Bistro and several other business, artists were hard at work along nearby South Boundary Street, where they were setting up their tents for the rest of the weekend.
Glass sculptors Beatriz and Warner Whitfield hail from Asheville, North Carolina; they heard about the Occasion from fellow artists and friends.
“We love the history about this town,” Beatriz Whitfield said, standing alongside her flowing, sea-inspired sculptures.
The couple’s work features interchangeable pieces so people can customize them to their liking. The Occasion offers an opportunity to sell their wares and also to get feedback from thousands of viewers.
“We love the appreciation,” Warner Whitfield said. “That’s a pretty good high. They don’t have to be a customer.”
He added that seeing the works of other artists is inspiring.
In an adjacent tent, Alyssa Ligmont set up her displays showing off her handmade ceramic wares. A Fort Lauderdale resident who also spends a lot of time in her Virginia Beach, her work also features a definitive ocean influence.
“I’m just excited to be here,” she said, noting the Occasion marks her first time in Williamsburg since a school field trip as a child.
She hopes those who come out to experience the Occasion appreciate the soulfulness behind the art on display, whatever medium it might be.
“I hope that they take away the value of a handmade piece of art and how it can enrich your life,” Ligmont said.
Want to go?
An Occasion for the Arts continues 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. General admission is free; some events require separate ticketing.
For a complete list of events and ticketing options, visit aofta.org.
Birkenmeyer can be reached by phone at 757-790-3029.