Art on the Square: a weekend event that brings a year of art to the community

aheymann@vagazette.com

Spring and summer in Williamsburg means festivals celebrating food, art and music, and it all starts next Sunday with the Junior Women’s Club of Williamsburg’s 56th annual Art on the Square.

“For me (Art on the Square) really is the signal of the event season kicking off,” said Steve Rose, co-founder of CultureFix. “It’s spring, the weather’s changing, everyone is getting outside, so I mark my calendar as Art on the Square as the beginning of just setting everything going.”

Beth Richard, co-vice president of the Junior Women’s Club of Williamsburg, said the festival will feature more than 150 artists from around the country skilled in a variety of mediums.

“The art for the show is actually pretty diverse — we have everything from woodwork, photography, to painting, jewelry, to 3-D/2-D mixed media artwork,” Richard said.

“A lot of art shows I’ve been to, it will be painting, jewelry and then artsy-craftsy stuff. The type of people we’re attracting, we have people who do gorgeous metalwork and woodwork and stunning photography and things like that — so I think the type of artists and the type of professionals that we are attracting to this show, I think is what gives the show its uniqueness and beauty.”

According to Richard, while there are a lot of artists returning, there will also be some new faces making their debut.

“I think it’s going to be a very high-quality good show this year,” Richard said.

This year, Art on the Square is one of the events happening during CultureFix’s “Scrumptious Weekend.”

Rose said CultureFix decided to create the weekend event because Art on the Square, Foodapalooza and the Craft Beer festival were scheduled to take place on the same weekend.

“What we tried to do was create an umbrella name for the weekend for branding purposes and for letting people know what’s going on in town … letting them know there’s more than just one event,” Rose said.

“Also, then being able to combine the infrastructure to build one really big tent all the groups can use.”

Rose thinks having all of the events under the same weekend series will help bring more people to town.

“If you’re from out of town and you see the calendar of events where there’s a food tasting on Friday night and a beer festival on Sunday, there’s an incentive to come for the weekend,” Rose said.

However, Art on the Square’s cultural impact on the community lasts more than just one day, or even the weekend. Richard said the festival raises money for scholarships and grants it gives to the community.

These donations can help with anything from helping elementary school art teachers or dance and music institutions get supplies they need, according to Katie Teiken, president of the Junior Women’s Club of Williamsburg. Teiken said the group raised about $28,000 last year.

“Considering that there are so many schools and programs that are struggling because they're not getting that funding, what we are doing I think serves a very important role in the community,” Richard said.

Money is raised through the event’s application and booth fees, as well as raffle tickets, according to Richard. She said she hopes people continue to come out and attend the event.

“You’re not just enjoying a really great art show and you’re not just having the opportunity buy art from and enjoy all these various arts but when you come, just being there and showing up and supporting these guys really does help the community,” Richard said.

Want to go?

Art on the Square is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 28, Merchants Square, Duke of Gloucester and North Boundary Street. Free. For more information, visit williamsburgjuniors.org/art-on-the-square.

To learn more about Scrumptious Weekend, which will have events April 25-28, visit culture-fix.org/events. Prices for events vary.

Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.

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