NEWTON — The Downtown Newton Development Association and Hickory Museum of Art again are collaborating on day of fun.
Folks are invited to come out on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the third annual Foothills Folk Art Festival in Downtown Newton. The family friendly festival that is expected to draw thousands of visitors from throughout the region will showcase a variety of local and regional contemporary folk artists whose work will be for sale, as well as artist demonstrations, hands-on art activities for kids, two stages of live music, food from area restaurants and food truck vendors, a beer garden and more.
The result of a continuing partnership between Hickory Museum of Art and Downtown Newton Development Association, the mission of the award-winning festival is to celebrate and support contemporary folk art locally and regionally, while maximizing the benefits for the artists and to Downtown Newton both economically and culturally. It also is meant to give guests an enjoyable day, and the souvenirs they bring home will be art to treasure for a long time, or as special gifts.
“We are so excited to partner again with Downtown Newton Development Association in presenting the Foothills Folk Art Festival,” said Jon Carfagno, executive director of Hickory Museum of Art. “The event represents so vibrantly the museum’s vision to bring people together and inspire creativity through the power of art. Our partnership with Downtown Newton Development Association brings so many artists and visitors to downtown Newton, and we are looking forward to seeing them all on Oct. 6.”
The festival will feature a juried selection of 85 artists from around the Carolinas and other southeastern states. The artists work in a wide range of materials, including wood, clay, metals, textiles, beads, paper and paints, often in mixed-media combinations or in repurposed recycling. The art available will include pottery mugs, bowls, decorative pieces, jewelry, bird houses, sculptures, photograph, and paintings on wood, canvas or metal in a variety of styles.
At scheduled times throughout the day, there will be a variety of music on two different stages showcasing musical styles such as bluegrass, folk, country, gospel, blues, jazz and Americana. The musical groups will be The Sigmon Stringers, The Help, Chris McGinnis and Mamaw's Angels, Wayne Stewart and September Rain, Moose and Friends, Triple Threat, The Pan Jive Steel Drum Band, Rooted, Snap Daddy and GMC Jazz.
Especially for children, there will be a youth busker stage for young music artists to give 20-minute acoustic performances. Throughout the day there will also be two separate art activities for children running in parallel on the courthouse lawn under the guidance of the HMA Education Department.
When folks get hungry, there will be eight food trucks scattered throughout the festival. These will be Wingz on Wheels, McDermott’s Irish Pub, Urban Flavor, Lobster Dogs, Hickory Sandwich Shop, Taste of Culture, Emergensweets and Anna’s Sweets. There also will be a beer garden for anyone older than 21, along with non-alcoholic beverages available throughout the festival.
In conjunction with the Foothills Folk Art Festival, woodworker and folk artist LaVon Van Williams, as the Folk Artist in the Schools, will spend a day each at three local schools and engage students in an art-making demonstration where he will discuss his creative process and his experience as an African-American artist. These students and their families also will be invited to visit the festival for an immersive folk art experience.
Last year’s Foothills Folk Art Festival won a statewide award from the North Carolina Department of Commerce for Best Downtown Special Event. A panel of judges chose the award winners from dozens of applications submitted from throughout the state, and the award was given out on March 14 at a ceremony in Clayton.
Again this year, the festival's principal organizers are Shannon Johnson, Newton’s Main Street program coordinator, and Clarissa Starnes, associate director of Hickory Museum of Art and the Foothills Folk Art Festival artist contact.
After last year’s festival, Johnson said, “Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers throughout the year, we are able to bring close to 100 amazing artists to the festival for a day that celebrates folk art. This award from the N.C. Department of Commerce speaks to the quality of the festival, and we are dedicated to making the festival even better each year.”
Starnes said, "We would like to thank the many hands that went into making last year's event a success, including the artists, participants, sponsors, local businesses, volunteers, staff members and visitors to the festival. We look forward to an even bigger, better festival this October."
The festival’s producing sponsors include Catawba Valley Community College, Catawba Valley Medical Center, Adult Life Programs, Corporate Armor and the city of Newton. Supporting sponsors include Peoples Bank, Robert Abbey Inc., Renwood Mills and the United Arts Council of Catawba County. Festival donors include Alex Lee Inc., Bassett, Commscope, HealthSmart Pharmacy, Hickory Metro Convention Center and Visitors Bureau and United Beverages of North Carolina.
There is no fee to attend the festival. For more information, visit foothillsfolkartfestival.com. The site includes a list of artists and representative pictures of the art they will be bringing to the festival.