Sharing, experiencing fine art outdoors at Fraze

By Katie Fender

Photo: ‘North and Halsted II’ by Ashley Sullivan

Some events have something for everyone, but not all of them are free and founded on the cause of fine art. Rosewood Arts Centre and the Kettering Arts Council present the 28th annual Art on the Commons from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14, in the Lincoln Park Civic Commons at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering. This free event celebrates a variety of fine arts and crafts from over 100 artists from Ohio and nearby states that will be available for purchase or simply displayed for pleasure.

Those who attend enjoy this festival will discover booths displaying various kinds of artwork: photography, pottery, fine jewelry, paintings, woodworking, prints, watercolors, fibers, basketry, glass, and much more. Live music and food will also be available during the festival. Art on the Commons is a family friendly affair with kid friendly activities and art. There are youth activities demonstrating how to create jewelry or ceramics, and other fun and easy activities for kids to explore their creative side.

Shayna McConville, cultural arts manager at Rosewood Arts Centre, has been overseeing Art on the Commons for the last five years. A jury of three art professionals reviews the applications and chooses the artists based on a mathematical assessment ranging from one to seven.

“High quality art meets all the criteria – it is very competitive. We accept about half of the artists who apply,” McConville says.

Accepted artists have the opportunity to feature their work to new audiences at the festival.

“It’s a really special event, and for it to take place in Lincoln Park is a great way to be out in nature and enjoy art and listen to music,” McConville says.

McConville also explains this is the only event in the Miami Valley area that focuses specifically on fine arts: “There is something for everyone. There is something to appreciate or connect with for everyone.”  ​

 

Making her mark

While there will be many talented artists displaying their crafts, the featured artist this year is Ashley Sullivan. McConville explains that when the panel of jurors selected the featured artist, they wanted an artist with the unique technique and vision. This year, Sullivan’s painting of Lincoln Park in Kettering stood out most to the judges.

This is Sullivan’s second time participating in Art on the Commons; her first was in 2014. She grew up in northeastern Ohio and attended Miami University of Oxford, where she attained a bachelor’s degree in art education. “It gave me a little sampling of all the disciplines,” Sullivan says. “I took classes that I don’t think I ever would have, like culture and other things out of my realm.”

Sullivan now works part time for a cartoonist and explains she’s just about at the point where she can support herself with her art. “If you told me at 8-years-old that I’d be supporting myself through my art, it would’ve blown my mind,” she says.

She sells her art in galleries, furniture stores, and on her website. Sullivan also works directly with clients and explains she obtains a good number of contacts from Art on the Commons.

Sullivan, however, has a hard time describing her style.

“It’s a variety of art – mostly I do more modern and I try to mix it up, which I think helps. So, I do modern but also impressionistic,” Sullivan explains.“I often do realistic landscape or cityscape, or I’ll do something completely abstract. My subject matter fluctuates, but style-wise, I try and carry over my techniques like mark-making.”

Sullivan makes her mark by using cards or junk mail, along with occasional printmaking techniques, to make her pieces recognizable and distinguished as her own.

Almost all of her inspiration for her art come from a place, such as a vacation spot or walking down sidewalks in a city: “I take pictures and reference shots on my iPhone, but I also have done a series of paintings where I wasn’t using any reference photos. Sometimes, I just like to paint things from memory.”

When Sullivan came to Art on the Commons last year, she shot a lot of reference photos of downtown Dayton in the evening sun around 7 p.m. She will bring fresh renderings of these downtown Dayton scenes to this year’s event, along with a mix of city scenes of Dayton, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.

Sullivan explains that she tries to bring a wide range of pieces to sell: scales of bigger pieces she has done, inexpensive pieces, and abstract pieces.

 

For more of Sullivan’s work, please visit sullivash.com.

 

Chalk it up to stubbornness

The works of many other talented artists are also on display at Art on the Commons. Tiffany Kelly of Miamisburg, who draws fun and vibrant art with sidewalk chalk, started Chalk N’ Awe about two years ago. She was inspired by her then 3-year-old, who was too independent to let Kelly play with her outside. So while she watched her daughter, Kelly began drawing with chalk on the sidewalk. She posted pictures of her work on social media, and, through hashtags, she met other sidewalk chalk artists.

“I just use the cheap kids’ kind,” Kelly explains of her chalk choice.

From there, Kelly created chalk pieces in her driveway, for neighbors, and then for Easton’s “Chalk the Block” in Columbus. Kelly chalked for free at farmers markets, until eventually, she started getting calls and emails to do it for events.

“It’s funny, my art teacher in ninth grade told me not to waste my time doing art,” Kelly remembers.

For the “Flying Pig” marathon in Cincinnati, she chalked the flying pig logo. At a previous Art on the Commons, Kelly chalked a Mona Lisa Miss Piggy.

“I do it so the kids can get involved. Whenever I do art, there is always chalk available for the kids to draw with me,”

While Kelly will feature her chalk art at Art on the Commons, she has started to focus on the candy store she and her husband have in Miamisburg, Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop.

 

For more of Kelly’s work, please visit facebook.com/chalknaweart. See the cover page for Kelly’s Mona Lisa Miss Piggy.

 

Retro reflections

Bob Pozarski is another artist well worth checking out at Art on the Commons. Pozarski has been making beautiful glass art for 40 years. Pozarski, who earned his degree in early childhood education, explains that his inspiration for becoming a glass artist came from wandering in nature.

“I’ve always loved color. I wandered in the Arizona desert, and there was stain glass sparkling in the sun, so I taught myself,” Pozarski explains.

This will be Pozarski’s seventh time at Art on the Commons, and he will be in Yellow Springs the day before the show displaying his artwork.

Pozarski explains he always wants to come back to Art on the Commons, since, “Rosewood Centre does a good job of selecting artists. It’s not a huge show, but the quality is really good.”

To mark his 40th anniversary of making glass art, Pozarski explains that he will be bringing a lot of retro pieces he has been working on.

The retro artworks incorporate inspiration from pieces he made in the ’70s and ’80s – lots of hippie inspiration, birds, and flowers will be incorporated into these pieces.

“They are all my own designs, even when I take requests for commissions,” Pozarski says.

Pozarski is located in Akron, where he works on his glass art and also teaches a class in Peninsula, Ohio.

 

For more of Pozarski’s work, please visit canalfultonglassworks.com/bob_pozarski.htm. See page 21 for some of his work.

 

Honest Abe,
or Savage Lincoln?

From canvas paintings, to chalk, to glass art, David Frohbeiter brings a little something different, his “historically inaccurate comic book style art.”

Frohbeiter creates covers of comic books, portraying well-known historic figures as comic book characters. For example, there is “Savage Lincoln,” “Wabash Wolf Man,” and also a series of Teddy Roosevelt comic pieces. Frohbeiter explains that he tries to put out a new piece once a month.

Frohbeiter’s comic-book-cover art really picked up after meeting reality TV star, Rupert Boneham, a winner on the show Survivor. Boneham, who started a charity foundation with his winning prize money, hired Frohbeiter to portray him in a comic book cover for his foundation. Frohbeiter drew Boneham as a pirate.

This is Frohbeiter’s fourth year at Art on the Commons. He will display, for sale, original pieces, offering reproductions of these in two sizes and magnets of everything.

 

For more of Frohbeiter’s work, please visit esty.com/artfroh or search “artfroh” on social media like Facebook.

 

While the artists provide entertainment and beauty for the event, behind the scenes there has been a lot of hard work by the event’s Community Chair Sue Ellen Boesch and her team of volunteers, who began as early as January to put Art on the Commons together.

“In 2015, there were 10,000 people that attended. In addition to the art, there’s live music, food vendors, and of course, it’s a free event,” Boesch says. “We are trying to make it even better this time around with community involvement.” ​

Art on the Commons has been acknowledged as an outstanding festival by local business news publications – and national artists’ publications. The City of Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts and the Ohio Arts Council co-sponsor this event.

This rain-or-shine event is a welcoming festival of fine arts for adults and children. With the variety of artists and pieces available, there is certainly something for everyone. This celebration of art, music, and people brings the community of Dayton together.

“I’m an artist myself, and a part of yourself goes into each thing you make,” Boesch reflects. “I think it’s good to give back to your community.”

 

Rosewood Arts Centre and the Kettering Arts Council present the 28th annual Art on the Commons from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 14 in the Lincoln Park Civic Commons at Fraze Pavilion, 695 Lincoln Park Blvd. in Kettering. Admission is free. For more information, please visit fraze.com/art-on-the-commons or playkettering.org/rosewood or call 937.296.0294 or email aotc@ketteringoh.org.

 

Reach DCP freelance writer Katie Fender at KatieFender@DaytonCityPaper.com.

 

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Reach DCP freelance writer Katie Fender at KatieFender@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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