Arts on the Green Followup

Show organizers see success
in reviving annual event post COVID

This year's event was held for the first time
at The Maples Park in Crestwood, Ky.

CRESTWOOD, Ky. (July 2021) – Arts on the Green was the first show of the season for artist Bill Bowen to participate in this year and the first major event to take place in Oldham County now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. He also took home the Best of Show award for his pottery.
Bill and his wife, Gean, have been creating pottery and clay sculpture for more than 20 years. They work with porcelain and brown stoneware, firing each piece twice in an electric kiln. They collaborate on nearly all of their pottery pieces, with Bill making the forms and Gean carving each piece freehand.
Bill said the couples work “is a fusion of our cultural backgrounds and influences with a strong emphasis on functional pottery.” This was their first time participating in the show.
“It was certainly a very pleasant surprise to win, and the judges told us that our overall pieces reflect good craftsmanship, skills and creativity,” he said. “The Art Association of Oldham County did a great job organizing the show with many volunteers, and also Crestwood residents were very appreciative of us being there. That was nice.”

File photo

Gean and Bill Bowen of Charlestown, Ind., won last month's Best of Show at Arts on the Green.

Jim Cheski, vice president of the Board of Directors for the Arts Association of Oldham County, also judged the Metal-Blacksmithing & Sculpture category. He said “artists present their three best pieces in their booths for Best In Show consideration.”
Artists are questioned at length by the judges. “The Best in Show is one piece from all the art pieces in the show. As judges judge their categories, it may be a piece from their discipline or from another category they observed as walking by another category.”
“We have had such amazing feedback regarding the quality of the art and artists, and the new venue this year,” said Nancy Daneshmand, director for Arts on the Green. “I think that the judges had a difficult time choosing the winners from each category, specifically for Best in Show, because they said that the quality was very good across the board.”
Because of this year’s new location in The Maples Park, “even though it was an extremely hot weekend, the park setting provided for more space between the booths and more open space in general,” she said. “There are also a lot of trees that provided shaded areas.”
She said the arts association had a few volunteers taking informal surveys as visitors exited the park. Visitors “shared with our volunteers how much they loved the location and enjoyed the park atmosphere. Many did not know the park was here prior to making a plan to come to our event. They mentioned how nice and clean the park was and how beautifully it was laid out. I am sure they will be coming back to take advantage of the playground and walking paths, and will also be bringing their dogs, since the park is pet friendly.”
With this being the first year for the show at The Maples Park, and the first event of this size since the park’s remodeling, “there were a lot of logistics to consider; especially with traffic safety and how to best utilize the new available parking,” Daneshmand said.
Off-site parking was available at Crestwood Elementary School and at the Oldham County Arts Center. Organizers knew that with the possible increased traffic on Hwy 146 and Railroad Ave., it was best to hire a crossing guard to help keep pedestrians safe.
“We are definitely considering this location for next year,” she said. “Jodi Smiley and Sarah Jones (who developed the Master Plan for the park) were a pleasure to work with, and Mayor (Jim) Kramer was welcoming and very enthusiastic from the beginning stages of planning. It was a wonderful collaborative experience at a beautiful and historic venue. I think Arts on the Green will only get better at this location, and I hope they will want us back.”
The large crowd was great for Tonya Tate, co-owner of Nature’s Bath Soap, along with her sister Renee Caldwell. “AOG always draws a large crowd,” she said. “In 2019, AOG was my best Saturday sales day in show and vending history. I’m happy to report, this year was no different. I had an outstanding sales event.”
Tate and Caldwell began Nature’s Bath Soap in 2008 after “realizing that life is so busy, and we seldom take the time to give ourselves the much needed recognition we deserve. My sister and I wanted to give back to those who do so much for others,” she said.
Their product line includes more than 30 body soaps, bath fizzies, lotion bars, facial serums, lip balm, sugar scrubs and more. They grow and dry their own botanicals and herbs to add to the soaps for texture, color and fragrance, including lavender, rosemary, lemongrass, and mint, as well as flowers such as marigolds.
Tate has participated for the last 10 years in the show. She said that this year’s venue “was beautiful. The grounds were large enough to hold all of us without being so crunched together. The kiddos had a place to play, and I heard nothing but outstanding feedback regarding the venue.”
She usually participates in 22 juried shows annually. “This year I have scaled back to my top 10 due to the amount of wholesale orders I have to keep up with.” This was her second show of the year, due to COVID, and “it was just as successful as the first one in May. People are ready to be social and enjoy life outdoors for the first time in a long while. The crowds proved this and the sales spoke volumes.”
Tate said that overall, this experience “was fantastic. Nancy and her team put on a tight show, and it was well received. She could not have done better, and everyone worked extra hard for all us vendors.”

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