The Southwest Missouri Art and Craft Guild presents Art in the Park, a fine art and contemporary craft show and sale, the second weekend in October each year. Celebrating its 24th year, this year’s show will be held Saturday and Sunday October 13 and 14 in Sequiota Park, 3500 S. Lone Pine, under the sponsorship of The Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Admission is free and open to the public.
Cathy Evans of the Southwest Missouri Art and Craft Guild notes that Conco has once again offered their field across the street from the park for patron parking--again, free of charge, and including attendants on duty to help you find a place to park.
She readily acknowledges that, based on the weather forecast, "we're going to have a sloppy set-up," but she's hoping the rain stays away until late afternoon on Saturday. "And I want to emphasize that the tents are dry--and they are close together."
Art in the Park is one of the few art fairs in the country that was created by artists for artists. It continues in that spirit with thoughtful regard for professional artists who earn their livelihood from their work. Selection by jury is based on quality and originality. This promotes the goal of producing a show of fine art and craft in which each artist feels honored to participate.
Cathy Evans says she's particularly happy about the mix of artists both familiar from past "Art in the Park" shows and new to the festival. "It's a better mix than we've ever had, because we have 14 two-dimensional artists of all kinds--realistic, fantasy, and abstract. And we have seven jewelers--we usually don't have that much jewelry, oddly enough; eight ceramic artists, and that's usually where we have our abundance. But they're balanced out this year." There are also two sculptors and four mixed-media artists. Fifteen of the artists are new to the show this year, with Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Alabama represented. Evans says the Alabama artist lives near the Florida panhandle, so badly damaged by Hurricane Michael this week. But since she hasn't heard otherwise, she's optimistic that he will be able to come here this weekend.
Art in the Park will also have live music (in their own tent in case of rain), as well as a food and drink vendor on-site.
Once again the festival offers a "People's Choice" award. Says Cathy Evans, "It's a great way to engage with the artists--and if you have children along, to teach them about art. You may have a budding artist and just not know it." Kids seem to enjoy voting for their favorite art every year. "They can go, 'Hey, this is mine--my opinion."
One of the best aspects of a show like this is the ability to interact directly with the artists selling their wares--although no one will actually be demonstrating their craft. "It's more of a 'visiting' show than a 'demonstrating' show. There isn't a lot of room where we're allowed to set up in that park," adds Evans. "You can buy so much online, and most of these artists have websites too. But this is about the only way you can personally engage with your audience." She says being able to actually touch or hold the craft or artwork is important. "I once heard a potter say, 'Try on a mug!' It sounded strange, but you know, before I buy a mug, I do hold it in my hand."
Art in the Park has cultivated a reputation among artists and patrons alike as being one of the few juried art and craft shows in the region, with a well-balanced representation of artistic mediums, including painting, drawing, and printmaking, fine jewelry, woodworking, pottery and ceramics, fiber and textiles, sculpture, and glass. Patrons look forward to this fall festival all year to collect the work of their favorite artists, become acquainted with new ones and get a head start on their holiday shopping. For more information visit https://www.artcraftguild.org/art-in-the-park/ or call Cathy Evans at (417) 689-4536.