Commerce will be a hub for art and artists this weekend as the second annual Folk to Fine Arts Festival and Expo takes place Friday through Sunday at the Commerce Civic Center.
The number of booths from artists and galleries is up nearly 50 percent over last year, and more than 60 artists will be represented either in person or by galleries participating in the event.
They’ll showcase everything from oil portraits to watercolors, from jewelry to pottery, from metal art to fabrics, featuring local artists from in and around Commerce and regional artists from all over Georgia and from Tennessee and the Carolinas.
The event begins at 5 p.m. on Friday with a reception. Entry is $15 and covers re-admission the remaining days of the festival, complimentary beverages and musical entertainment by bluegrass band, BlueBilly Grit.
Hours on Saturday and Sunday are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is $7 per person, with children 10 and under admitted at no charge.
The festival is a project of the Commerce Downtown Development Authority.
“We have a lot of new (participants) this year,” commented Denise McKay, the DDA’s executive director, who said that the new artists learned about the festival, “by word of mouth mostly. They talked to artists (who attended the inaugural event) at other shows, and some of them saw our ads. The artists who were here last year spoke very highly of us, and that helped a lot.” Other artists who had conflicts, McKay said, promised to attend the 2014 event.
True to its name, the Folk to Fine Arts Festival and Expo covers a wide array of styles and genres, including oil folk painting, metal art, a blacksmith, watercolor painters, a weaver, potters and others.
For children, Betty Bivins Edwards, the artist in residence at West Georgia College, will offer a watercolor painting class in which children will paint a still life, with supplies provided. There is a $5 charge.
There will also be a pinch pot class for children.
Both classes will be held on Saturday.
In addition, several artists will conduct demonstrations during the show.
Last year, the event drew 700 paying visitors, exceeding expectations. McKay is hopeful that even more people will attend this year. In addition to newspaper, radio and billboard advertising, the festival got a boost from listings in “Southern Living” magazine and AAA’s “Going Places” magazine.
“To have them notice us was awesome,” McKay said.