The needler in the haystack.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Art Festival celebrates 50th anniversary Saturday

Two views from the 2012 Outdooe Festival of Art.

Plainfield's once-famed Outdoor Art Festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM at Library Park. I am looking forward to seeing one vendor for sure at the event.

Originally sponsored by the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce (later named the Central Jersey Chamber of Commerce) in partnership with local artists and businesses (among them faculty from duCret and Swain Galleries), the annual show quickly became one of the 'must do' art shows of the tri-state area every summer.

I was amazed, after moving to Plainfield from Brooklyn in 1983, to come across one of my favorite Brooklyn artists (who always showed at the Promenade Art Show) exhibiting here in Plainfield.

Though the Central Jersey CC fell on difficult times, a small group of dedicated workers kept the festival going at a high level as a juried show for both professional and amateur artists. Those who especially come to mind include CJCC exec Barbara Ballard, Nellie Dixon, Al Pittis, Bernice and Ann Swain and Plainfield Public Library director Joe Da Rold.

With Nellie's decision to relocate out of the area, the City agreed to take up the annual event. Credit must be given to the city for stepping up to the plate, but the character of the event has changed dramatically, becoming mostly a craft fair, with very few artists and photographers participating.

With almost no effort spent on marketing (except for a banner over Park Avenue at 6th Street), fewer and fewer people are even aware of this rich cultural heritage.

Which is a pity, because there is still much to be enjoyed, with some crafts people of the highest talent -- and that one vendor I look forward to every year for her secret stash of homemade sugar-free sugar cookies.

Sugar-free sugar cookies? Come on out and see for yourself!

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Bob said...

I always thought the Plainfield Art Show was the pride and joy of Plainfield. Over the past six years or so Sharon has turned it into a dollar store with few if any artists and many crafts and cheap junk. Maybe we can revitalize it in the future with new leadership on city hall.

Anonymous said...

Saturdays Art show was a real embarrassment to the city. As you said, this use to be a real ART Show of the highest caliber. I have seen this show for over 50 years. No marketing, no advertising, no nothing. I went to the show and I was looked at as if to say "what are you doing here". Not welcoming at all.
Dan, if you want to change any words, be my guest.