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Arts and Entertainment

21st Annual Art in the Park Scheduled This Weekend

(Logo courtesy Southwest Missouri Art and Craft Guild)

Southwest Missouri Art and Craft Guild is an all-volunteer organization started by artists to support the working artist.  This is the organization's 21st year, and it's also the 21st year for their annual "Art in the Park" fine art and contemporary craft show and sale.  Once again Art in the Park will take place in Sequiota Park, 3500 S. Lone Pine; the dates are Saturday and Sunday Oct. 10 and 11 from 10:00am to 4:30pm both days.  Admission is free and open to the public, and you can preview the works that will be on display and for sale at

Kathy Evans of the Art and Craft Guild says the show gives both Guild members and non-members the opportunity to show and sell what they've created. The emphasis is on two- and three-dimensional art and crafts, and this year there are 30 artists from Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and as far away as Gulf Shores, Alabama. Says Kathy, "Art and culture are the lifeblood of a community.  Whenever we promote the city of Springfield and what a wonderful place it is to live, we talk about raising families and so on, but we also talk about art and culture. 'Art in the Park' strives to be a high-quality art fair that is free to the community, that everybody can enjoy and participate in, meet the artists, buy art (for holiday gift-giving), and --it's just fun!"

Something Kathy Evans says she's thought a lot about lately, because of conversations she's had with arts patrons, is that people often say to her, "'I'm not creative.' And I think, how do you get dressed in the morning without being creative? Making art is something that anyone who wants to create is driven to do. We're driven to interact with materials, say what we mean to say visually, or just bring together attractive shapes, objects and colors.  It's something innate that's in all of us."

But even if you don't create art yourself, says Kathy, everyone can participate "in the creativity and the longevity of art" by "appreciating the art and seeing something pleasing, something they think is beautiful, something that makes them smile--or even something that makes them sad."

There will certainly be a lot of items on display Saturday and Sunday, "some of the best (selections) ever," promises Kathy Evans.  Media will include two-dimensional (drawing, painting, mixed media, print-making) and three-dimensional pieces in ceramics, glass, sculpture and 3-D mixed media, jewelry, baskets and fiber art, textiles, and wood.  The People's Choice Award returns this year, which allows all attendees, including children, to vote for their favorite artworks.  Kathy notes that it's a great way to involve and educate kids about visual arts: "when you get to be the judge, you pay more attention to the art, how its made, the materials that are used, and how the artists feel about their art." That's another aspect of Art in the Park: the chance to talk with the artists and crafters about what they've created.

Awards will be given for Best of Show, 2- and 3-dimensional art, ceramics, and the People's Choice.  Sponsors include Central Bank of the Ozarks, National Art Shop, Merry-Go-Round Stained Glass, L & R Specialties, and Dr. Tom Prater.   Art in the Park is presented with the cooperation and support of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Food will be provided by B2/Bambino's.  There will also be live music both Saturday and Sunday.

Kathy Evans also uses Art in the Park every year as a chance to put in a plug for membership in the Southwest Missouri Art and Craft Guild. (While many entrants in the show are members, there are almost as many who are not.) She says Guild meetings are a place for artists to come together and "talk about problems that they have, talk about shows, how to do displays, jury images (because that's the way we get into art fairs).  If you're a beginning artist this is a good place to get educated about the business of art and craft.

For more information on "Art and the Park" and the Southwest Missouri Art and Craft Guild, you can call Kathy Evans at (417) 689-4536; visit; or the Guild's Facebook page.