A Fair Day for the Arts

What: Oak Island Art Guild Arts and Crafts Festival
When: Saturday, August 31st
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Middleton Park Soccer Field
SE 46th St. and Dolphin Dr., Oak Island
Cost: Free
Info: www.oakislandartguild.org

The Oak Island Art Guild’s annual Arts and Crafts Festival returns for its 24th year this month with handmade products sold from over 100 different vendors, ranging from paintings to toys to jewelry. The annual event, which will be held on Saturday, August 31st from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., welcomes the public to view and buy various crafts.

Don Rose of the Oak Island Art Guild is on-hand to showcase works at the group’s annual Arts and Crafts Festival. Courtesy photo

Don Rose of the Oak Island Art Guild is on-hand to showcase works at the group’s annual Arts and Crafts Festival. Courtesy photo

Artists for the festival will travel from near and far to participate. Over 30 vendors are from Brunswick County, and 14 are from Wilmington. Others will be coming from South Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Florida and Tennessee, while the rest are coming from various parts of North Carolina. Many of the artists have returned annually to sell their products.

Some of the more recognizable artists include Richard Staat, a fine arts painter; pastel artist Jan Boland; Anthony Aweeky, a woodworker and creator of children’s toys; fine jewelers Randy Armstrong and Sara Westermark; and metal-crafts artists RMended and Randy Chapman.

The treasurer for Oak Island Art Guild, Penny Prettyman, provides insight as to what visitors can expect from this year’s festival. “All arts and crafts are handmade by the selling vendor,” she assures. “Items being sold will include: paintings (both fine arts and decorative) pottery, walking sticks, bird houses, sports equipment, stained and fused glass, gold and silver jewelry, costume jewelry, and wearable crafts. There’s always a fun display of handmade products.”

While guests peruse the neat products from different stands, there will be food vendors on-hand so folks can make a day of the event. “The Oak Island Senior Center always has a booth at which they cook hot dogs and hamburgers/cheeseburgers,” Prettyman says. “There also will be Papa John’s pizza, flavored shaved ice, ice cream, ice cream floats, bottled water, lemonade, bubble tea, and canned sodas.”

Year after year, the Arts and Crafts Festival continues to show a good turnout. Prettyman has been involved with the guild, a 30-year-old organization, for the last six years and has noticed little change throughout that time. She feels the return crowd of the festival, many guests taking part since its inception, is a positive aspect. “Last year it was estimated that there was around 3,000 visitors,” she shares.

The Arts and Crafts Festival initially was set up as a venue for guild members to sell their artwork in Middleton Park. Over the years since the festival’s establishment, the number of vendors grew to such a large amount that Middleton Park could no longer hold the increased participants. “Few of the vendors are members of Oak Island Art Guild; the members are now too busy working for the festival,” Prettyman muses.

The guild itself aims to bring more cultural art to Oak Island and provide the community with more educational opportunities, be it through workshops or through more exposure to the arts by way of craft fairs such as this event.

While admission to the festival is free, revenue from vendors’ fees goes toward college scholarships worth $1,000 for high school seniors with an interest in art. “[An additional] $1,000 is also donated to area school art teachers to pay for art supplies. We support other local art organizations’ shows and donate art books and DVD’s to the local library,” Prettyman adds.

For those interested in selling their products at the festival, an application can be downloaded from the guild’s website, though post-deadline acceptions will be limited. “After the July 1st deadline, all application photos and statements of creative processes are reviewed by a committee of jurors,” the treasurer clarifies. “Most applicants are accepted if their work is handmade and well made.”

The festival now takes place at the soccer field behind Middleton Park at SE 46th St. and Dolphin Dr. in Oak Island. Those interested in volunteering to help set up for the festival can find more information on the Oak Island Art Guild’s website, or may e-mail Prettyman at oiagacf@ec.rr.com.

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