Art, music, hands-on crafts highlight Labor Day festival

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

The 42nd Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival, to be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 1 in Northam Park, will feature a variety of cultural and entertainment offerings.

Presented by the city of Upper Arlington Cultural Arts Division, the festival will feature nearly 200 fine art and craft artists from all over North America. Artists represent 20 different media, including ceramics, drawing, fiber, jewelry, painting, glass, sculpture, photography and woodwork.

"We have anywhere from between 500 and 600 artists" who apply each year, said Emily Cable, arts coordinator with the city. "We even have artists apply from other countries."

Artists are selected by a panel of judges who convene in spring and evaluate three samples of the artists' work and rate them on a scale of one to seven.

"It's a blind jury, so judges do not see the names," Cable said.

Rather than set aside a certain number of spaces for local artists, applicants are evaluated on their individual merits.

"Because it's a blind juried festival, it changes every year, so there's really a chance from the local community as well as beyond É of getting in. That's really the best and fairest way of doing it," Cable said. "It just so happens that we have a lot of really talented local artists."

One of the local artists participating this year is Amy Kaye Taylor, who will showcase her landscape oil paintings in booth 157. Taylor, a Grandview Heights resident, said she has applied to the Upper Arlington festival for the past four years.

"Among all the artists, it has a great reputation," she said.

A special aspect of the festival is an Emerging Artists Tent that showcases artists beginning their careers.

"We've modeled it after other festivals across the country that look at the next generation of artists and encourage artists to participate in festivals," Cable said.

The Labor Day Arts Festival will also feature hands-on art activities for children, families and art enthusiasts of all ages. Festival goers can create their own sculptures with local artist Suanne Goings, turn recycled material into art and paper jewelry, embellish books donated by Friends of the Library and learn to make a drum with musicians Ron Hope and Baba Jubal, among other activities.

"There's always an incredible variety of art activities for people to engage in," Cable said. "I think we have between 15 and 20. There's 'make and take' (activities), so people who want to make something can take it with them É A lot of art organizations and artists are going to be there working with the public."

The festival will also feature live jazz, funk and rock music at the UA Performance Stage, including the Urban Jazz Coalition, the New Basic Brass Band and the Upper Arlington High School Marching Band led by Mike Manser.

The Art Activity Stage will feature performing arts, including the Greater Columbus Community Orchestra, the OSU Hillel International Folk Dancers, a drumming circle with percussionist Sogbety Diomande from the Ivory Coast and a poetry slam, among other performances.

The festival also features a variety of food vendors, including the Old Bag of Nails pub, fair food by Snack Shack and Woolson's Lemonade.

A parking shuttle will be available to festival goers who park at the Kingsdale Shopping Center on Tremont Road. For more information, call (614) 583-5310 or visit