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On Saturday, May 14, and Sunday, May 15, Suwanee Town Center will burst with color and beauty during the Suwanee Arts Festival. Local and regional artists will display their creations available to admire and purchase. The free, outdoor event is open to the general public and will feature food vendors, live artist demonstrations and stage entertainment. 

Registration is now open through Saturday, April 16, for artists, food vendors and sponsors to take part in the two-day community event hosted by the Suwanee Arts Center. Artists may sign up for a booth to exhibit their works, while “emerging artists,” students ages 15 to 21, may display their work without renting a booth. Students may enter pieces in the following categories: ceramics, digital art, drawing, graphics, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, painting, photography, sculpture, 3-D mixed media and wood.

According to organizers, this fine arts festival is planned to be a step beyond and bridge the gap between what one might find at a typical local arts and crafts fair and a high-brow gallery. What separates the Suwanee Art Festival is the hands-on experience, personal touch and ability to form a relationship with professional, high-end artists in an inviting, open air, friendly environment as artists ranging from hobbyists to professionals will be on hand and will offer a little something for the whole family.

“We are so excited to bring back the festival after not being able to have it last year,” said Sheila Crumrine, president of the Suwanee Arts Center. 

“You’ll be able to walk around as a family,” Crumrine said. “You can see Irish dancers on the stage while the kids are doing a drawing. Mom can sip a glass of wine admiring a painting while dad enjoys a beer from Stillfire. It’s something the whole family can appreciate.”

Animation Academy classes will be offered throughout the two-day event. Inspired by Disney, Animation Academy allows participants to sit with seasoned artists who will be leading the classes. Pupils of all ages will be given a blank piece of 11×14 paper as the artist leads them step by step in creating their own masterpieces.

Every two years, the Suwanee Public Arts Commission unveils a new public art exhibit. The seventh “SculpTour” exhibit, “Suwanee’s walkable public art,” will be unveiled on Friday, May 13, in conjunction with the festival. 

“The thing I love so much about public art is that it’s for everyone regardless of age, income, education, religion, ethnicity, background  or whatever,” Crumrine said. “It’s for everyone … everyone can enjoy a piece of public art.

“We want to instill a love of art in our community and connect our families with local and regional artists,” Crumrine added. “I have a personal story about this, too. Jeanette Pierce is one of our local artists. She’s the granddaughter of George Pierce. She does all of her woodworking right here in her family’s old barn near Suwanee Town Center and uses local resources. For example, I have a charcuterie board she carved out of a piece of wood from a tree that fell right here in Suwanee. That charcuterie board is really more special to me because I know where it came from and have a connection with the artist who created it.”

Since 2016, the nonprofit art organization Suwanee Arts Center has existed to contribute to the aesthetic of the city and to support local artistic endeavors. For more information and to register for the Suwanee Arts Festival, visit suwaneeartscenter.org/suwaneeartsfest.

FEATURED PHOTO: A professional sidewalk chalk artist demonstrates her chalk art at the 2020 Suwanee Arts Festival. Photo courtesy of Suwanee Arts Center. 

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