Thanks to a matching grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts, a popular family event that promotes local art is becoming an annual tradition.
The first “There’s ART in SpARTa” 2017 art festival, sponsored by the CJE Sparta Foundation, will return to Hancock County as “ART in SpARTa: The Sequel”. The free event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 28 at the CJE Event Center in Sparta and will offer entertainment and family-friendly activities to visitors, while giving local and regional artists the opportunity to present and market their work.
Entertainment will be provided by, among others, Mike Ransom, Jr., The Animal Adventurer and The Metro Knoxville Buffalo Soldiers, a group representing the true units of the African American military that played a role in the colonization of the west. American in the 1800s. In the vendor area, festival visitors can browse and purchase local art.
Festival coordinator Carolyn Minter said the festival’s goal is to give an economic boost to a vastly impoverished region while spreading the message that local artists and art are present in the community.
“We held our first festival in 2017 with the intention of discovering or exhibiting artists from our community,” said Minter. “Due to the nature of our community, it is important to look at all possible entrepreneurial opportunities, and we wanted to do this for artists in and around the county. “
Festival attendees said it offers a chance to showcase their work that would not be available to them otherwise.
Candi Fortney, who worked on the Oasis Family Farm booth at the event in 2017, will be attending again this year. She said the event marks Sparta as “a real place where artists can and could be”. His family lives just outside of Sparta and practices a variety of art, including photography, wire jewelry, and painting.
“We were there last year and it was a wonderful event,” said Fortney. “It allows other people who normally wouldn’t be able to see us in this format. We are closer to home and we can make our art stand out and exhibit it better. We represent the community in a little different light than people may have seen. “
The festival is also instrumental in promoting art among young people, Minter said.
Sisters Lauren (13) and Hannah (14) Reed will compete for the first time this year.
“We make baby aprons, runners and quilts,” Lauren Reed said. “We started about five years ago making little pillows and little things to sell to pretend we had customers. “
The sisters used the names “Sarah” and “Allison” and claimed to own the “S and A Sewing Store”. Now they sell their work to real clients, keeping the same name.
“This is going to be helpful in promoting our business,” Lauren Reed said. “We sell things by word of mouth so I think that will help people get to know us better.”
To promote art among young people, the CJE offers free vendor registration to those 18 and under and college students. Otherwise, booth space will cost $ 25 for residents of Hancock County and $ 50 for non-residents.
The CJE Foundation was founded by Connie and Josie Williams, natives of Sparta, and named after Connie Williams, in order to stimulate the economy through free events. She has been active in the community for nine years.
“They employ at least 10 people at any given time, so they really support the community,” said Minter of CJE. “They wanted to do at least three free community festivals. This (art festival) aligns with their business plan to provide festivals that engage the community in positive places.
In 2017, CJE worked with the Georgia Council for the Arts to receive a grant to cover expenses and “There is ART in SpARTa” exceeded expectations with 30 stands by individual artists and over 300 visitors. Minter said she hopes to triple those numbers in 2018.
The Georgia Council for the Arts awarded the festival a matching grant of $ 5,000 for 2018. Since this is a matching grant, the CJE needs community sponsorship to receive the full amount, a Minter said. Current sponsors include the Hancock County Board of Commissioners and the Webster Pharmacy.
To participate in “ART in SpARTA: The Sequel” as a sponsor, or to register for a booth space, visit cjefoundation.org or contact Carolyn Minter at [email protected] before April 26.