The needler in the haystack.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Is there a future for the Plainfield Art Festival?


Plainfield sculptor Dolores Stewart was one of artists exhibiting.

Saturday's weather was perfect for the 47th Annual Plainfield Outdoor Festival of Art. That, unfortunately, was about all.

Take it from a couple of the attendees --

Bob said --
...I attended the Festival today and was so disappointed. I attended my first Festival of Art in 1984 and was in awe at the many artists of all kinds. Since the current administration has been in office the Festival has gone down hill at full speed.

I got there in time with my family in time to hear the mayor speak. She didn't get any applause where I was and she didn't deserve any. I used to be so proud of Plainfield's Festival of Art and Car Show and people came from all over the state. There were, perhaps, a dozen artists including jewelry and other arts. I can remember when the park was covered with artists and visitors from all over the state. I'm also sad to see that the City has not attended the beautiful and large trees in the Library Park...

Rob said --
I went..and LOVED IT AGAIN. This is my 2nd time attending since I live across the street it's so easy to go. My windows in my apartment were open all day so I could enjoy the music.

I would love to have seen it when there were many more artists and vendors though as it honestly seemed like there were less this year, than last.

I was very glad to see students there selling food ( I believe there should be food vendors ringing the entire perimeter of the park ). Maybe we could get the council to make this an event run by a commission or committee ?? I would certainly volunteer ( like I tried with the shade tree commission )as I know several artists who would attend.

One thing, as a city, I would do to get more people having a positive buzz over this. For all the crap this administration wastes money on ( and YES many more before it ), why not buy a tank of helium and 1000 balloons and get a group to simply give them away to kids. PLAIN BALLOONS NOT VOTE FOR ( insert current shill of the local party boss )or even PLAINFIELD ARTS FESTIVAL. Or have support the Art's and charge .50 or $1 for the balloons. If kids are happy, parents are happy. This would MINIMAL costs, less than food at a government function was or is.
There were about half the artists and craftspeople of last year, which was about half of the year the City took over the event.

The fine artists I spoke with all put a cheerful face on a terrible situation. Dane Tilghman, an artist from Pennsylania told me he used to exhibit regularly but had not done so for several years. His comment, 'What happened?'



Dane Tilghman, Three Men.



Dane Tilghman, artist.

Another artist said, 'I haven't even sold enough to pay for my gas and lunch'.

Hello, Robinson-Briggs administration!

It was great that you picked up the Art Festival and vowed to keep it going.

But you are now at a real crossroads.

You can put a plume in your cap if you recover the lost ground --

  • BRING BACK THE ARTISTS (which means ahead of time, by someone who understands that artists have to make a living by selling their works); and

  • PROMOTE THE FESTIVAL by making sure it is listed in everything from New Jersey Monthly to the New York Times events calendars and in the arts magazines and websites.
Otherwise, admit defeat and cancel.

Well, there is a third option, just turn it into a celebration of the Mayor and forget the art.


(Sorry for problems with pix, will try fixing later. -- Dan) 




    -- Dan Damon [follow]

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    7 comments:

    Bob said...

    Thanks for this article that sums up what happened on Saturday. It was a holiday weekend, which may not have been a bright idea, but that's no excuse for people not being there. There was a time that people parked blocks away due to such great attendance. I'm also appalled that the mayor and Jerry would make this an election ploy. Perhaps that was good. Who would re-elect someone who has done such a shabby job as this.

    olddoc said...

    Like many Plainfield things over the last two decades, the Art Festival has deteriorated into insignificance.
    In the 50's and early 60s it was under Estelle Miron's leadership one of the prime Art Shows in the Northeast attrtacting top notch professional artists as well as amateurs. Exhibits were on both sides of front street from Madison to Church, and on Park and Watchung from the brook to 2nd Street.

    olddoc said...

    If this was the 47th there could not have been a show in the 50s but my remarks about its day are accurate. I know many of the artists that would display here also displayed at the semiannual Union Square shows in New York.

    Rob said...

    Dan...I believe only in rare circumstances is the government -- ANY ENTITY OR ANY POLITICAL PARTY able to "out-do" private individuals who have a vested passion for said event. If in fact this event formerly was some HUGE EVENT that attracted people from all over then maybe, we the people, need to TAKE it back. I would help, as long as the administration..CURRENT or FUTURE are kept out.
    - And to answer Bob.."Who would re-elect someone who has done such a shabby job as this..???"..Your answer...The registered Democrats in Plainfield and Union County. Ask any of your friends that vote and I will bet you most will complain about Jerry or Sharon, and then they'll admit that they voted for them before and probably will again...( Cause you got's to vote for them there democrats, they good ole boys, treat ya right and stick up for us little guys 'stead of thems high faluting Republicans and Indypendants )
    If ignorance is bliss..PLAINFIELD IS LIVING THE DREAM!

    Anonymous said...

    It's not very hard to figure out the reason for the decline of the art festival. Look who's hands it's in. dave wynn. As with all his youth programs that are tax payer supported, enrollment is down while his concentration was on duplicating the baseball league that was also an abysmal failure. Well maybe not quite a failure because a few kids were enrolled. But the coaches were all gangster, fighting on the field. But as we all know the mayor supports him and gives him a shout out every chance she gets regardless of the his poor outcomes.
    Nothing positive will come out of an atmosphere that is filled with hatefullness and arrogance as it is in the recreation department. But Mayor keep pumping him up anyway.

    Dan said...

    Rob -- The Mayor has given it to Rec, rather than hire a consultant to honcho the recruitment of artists and marketing (which I think would be money well spent).

    As for names on the ribbons, it has only started under Her Honor SRB, who reminds me of the old line about dogs and fire hydrants.

    Mayor Al never indulged such low tastes, and anyway, the committee wouldn't have let him.

    Anonymous said...

    It was the DOWNTOWN Art Festival when it earned it status, last few years have just been the fumes of the Dedicated Merchants who promoted & PAID for the event. Now it is a Tax payers feel good for a few.