Paintings, jewelry, photography, ceramics and metal, wood and glass creations from 175 different creative minds across the country will line Merchants Square this month.
Juried artists from New York State to Florida will come together for the 56th annual Art on the Square hosted by the Junior Woman’s Club of Williamsburg 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 28.
“We have several artists that have been coming to Art on the Square for 10 plus years, but every year we do attract a lot of new artists,” said Erin Pratt, Art in the Square co-chair. “There’s a good mix.”
Artist booth fees at the event raise as much as $30,000 for more than 30 community visual and performing art initiatives annually.
“The community comes together to both support local artists and artists from all over the country,” Pratt said. “And all the money we raise goes right back into the local arts community.”
The organization’s art fund donates to local school district art programs, the Virginia Regional Ballet, music departments and art scholarships such as the Richard E. and Janet L. DePaul Art Scholarship for Visual and Performing Arts.
More than 5,000 people saunter through the free event to view and purchase artists’ work chosen in a juried process on six different categories of artwork.
Terry Buntrock is an appointee to the Virginia Commission for the Arts and serves on the jury panel for Art on the Square.
She said her job is important not only because it decides if the local audience will view an artists’ work, but it also may impact their income and could limit their ability to grow in their medium.
In judging, she looks for skill and mastery of the medium, as well as tasteful and beautiful design.
“I ask myself if I think our regional audience will be attracted to, challenged by and excited to see this artist’s work,” Buntrock said.
JWCW Vice President and Art of the Square co-chair Beth Richard said the event is dedicated to showcasing high-quality handcrafted work.
“We rely on our juror scores to give us a perception who to formally invite to the show,” Richard said. “We really try to uphold the standards of being a juried art show.”
Jewelers and painters are always among the most who apply, however, this year Richard is excited to see a diverse range of work.
“This year we have some really interesting metal work, we have some beautiful woodwork from a newer artist,” Richard said. “We have a lot of photography, 3D art — so it’s a pretty wide variant.”
Local acoustic musician Timothy Seaman will perform live during the show and Aromas, King of Pops and Two Drummers Offbeat Eats will provide food, in addition to other local restaurants.
The event also coincides with the 6th annual Williamsburg Beer Festival, nearby at 401 N. Boundary St.
Richard said she thinks it’s important for families and children to be exposed to high levels of creativity and to see how much that contributes to the soul of a community.
“I always feel like at the end of the day what makes the show tick is not really us girls who run it. I think it’s really the artists that participate,” Richard said. “Their artwork tells the story of the show.”
Want to go?
The 56th annual Art on the Square runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., April 28 at Merchants Square. Admission is free to the public.
Martin can be reached at (757)-243-3685, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @SaraRoseMartin.