A fresh-air look at creating art

For the seventh year, nonprofit Housing Partnerships, Inc. is bringing back a favorite fall event: the Contemporary Artisans Festival and Plein Air Art Show.

More than two dozen artisans are expected to descend upon Duke of Gloucester Street on Sept. 16 and show off their talents, according to Executive Director Brandie Weiler.

"They sell their goods and the only requirement that we have is at some point throughout the day they have to demonstrate their work — so the potters will throw pottery, we have a wood turner that comes," Weiler said. "So it's not like an arts and crafts show, it's truly an artisan event."

She expects this year's event, running from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, to be just as popular as years before — and it coincides with the Williamsburg Farmer's Market and the College of William and Mary's parent's weekend.

It's not just attendance that's grown over the years, but participationas well, she said. Part of the boost is in Plein Air artists joining the event, which features people who paint onsite in the elements while the festival activity swirls around them, Weiler said.

"They go out into the historic area or the college's campus and they bring their wet paintings back to the info tent," Weiler said. "We have two or three judges that will judge these paintings and there's a small award."

The artists also sell their works to festival-goers and Housing Partnerships gets some of the proceeds.

The event is free for attendees but artisans pay a fee, and that funding also goes directly to the Housing Partnerships, Weiler said. Housing Partnerships is a nonprofit group dedicated to emergency home repairs, and the event is a huge fundraiser each year.

"The money we make gets put right back into helping low-income families with emergency home repairs in the Historic Triangle," Weiler said.

The 2017 event will be Sept. 16 one block from Merchants Square in Colonial Williamsburg. For more information visit housingpartnerships.org or email Brandie Weiler at bweiler@housingpartnerships.org.

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