But cut the grass first

Y ellow Springs has long embraced artistic expression as a way to bring people together. The village itself is a mecca for creativity. While summer cookouts will be dotting the lawns of the Midwest, this August will mark the 35th annual Art on the Lawn Festival in Yellow Springs. The AOTLF will host 100 new […]

Yellow Springs’ 35th annual Art on the Lawn Festival


Painter Anastasia Mak is the featured artist for 2018, after winning Best of Show at last year’s festival.

By Tammy Newsom

Yellow Springs has long embraced artistic expression as a way to bring people together. The village itself is a mecca for creativity. While summer cookouts will be dotting the lawns of the Midwest, this August will mark the 35th annual Art on the Lawn Festival in Yellow Springs. The AOTLF will host 100 new and returning artists, the majority of which are from Ohio and the surrounding states—all of whom will have the chance to show and sell their art. Attendees can expect to be wowed by multi-media art forms, such as ceramics, drawings, fiber art, garden art, glass, jewelry, leatherwork, mixed media, papercraft, paintings, and photography. The Village Artisans has made a name for itself as an art cooperative, displaying and showcasing a plethora of media and artists since 1983.

“Yellow Springs has always an artist’s community. This is a large festival focused on just the visual arts—more of a community art show,” says Pam Geisel, Village Artisans volunteer and media co-coordinator for Art on the Lawn. “There are 20 members of the co-op who coordinate the shows. Some, but not all the members might exhibit themselves as part of the show. It’s really an opportunity to sell artwork and to have a spot in an art show in a laid-back atmosphere.” Some of the artists are new to the AOTL, while some are returning. The community at large may or may not be aware of how special these individual pieces may be. For example, one first year contributor is carving artist Steve Shryne.

“Shryne does unique woodworking. He has carved out wood pieces, including a salt and pepper grinder for sale,” says Geisel. Still other contributors make use of unconventional materials. “Jeweler Lisa Edwards creates pieces out of coins from other countries. She uses found objects and antique items,” says Geisel. “Others, like artist Rose Lawson will present pieces made from woven beads. Others have reengineered the allotted show booth. Potter Robert Overman has built shelves into his booth for pottery, while finding new ways to hang displays.”

While most of the artists are local, the AOTLF featured artist for 2018 was last year’s (2017) winner of Best in Show, awarded to Chicago painter Anastasia Mak. Originally from the Ukraine, Mak arrived to the U.S. in Atlanta at age 14 as an exchange student, followed a year later by the rest of her family.

“I was really excited to come to Art on the Lawn and the Kettering Art in the Commons, which happened the day after. I heard of both shows through word of mouth. I did not expect to win.” Mak won not only Best in Show at Art On The Lawn in 2017 but also took first place in painting at Kettering’s 2016 Art on the Commons.

“Painting is more time-consuming,” she says. “But when you love it, you can spend more time on it. The unusual part (of the process) was that I keep the paintings with me when I travel as inspiration.” Having recently returned from a trip to Iceland, Mak’s paintings are influenced by the frozen landscapes.

“The Medium I use is acrylic painting, using acrylic paints and a little open style, which falls under expressionism,” she says. “The geometric shapes are inspired by destinations and architecture that I photograph when I travel. I am also inspired by urban landscapes in Europe, Italy, and France. I can paint a lot of that and not get tired of it while exploring in nature mountains landscapes that feed into it like (the red rocks) out west in Colorado.” Mak has incorporated some use of textured materials, as news clippings can be seen as part of a collage in her paintings of Alaskan landscapes.

“With the admission fee, artists reserve a 10 by 10-foot booth to showcase their AOTLF collections,” says Geisel. “Booth fees goes to Village Artisans to cover our costs publicizing and coordinating and renting the space. A couple of musicians are invited to perform this year, to set the atmosphere, along with some food trucks.”

The 35th annual Art on the Lawn Festival will be held at Mills Lawn School at 200 S. Walnut St., Yellow Springs. The festival is scheduled for Saturday, August 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. Additional artwork can be viewed at the Village Artisans gallery, located at 100 Corry Street. For more information on Art on the Lawn and/or Village Artisans, call 937.767.1209 or visit www.villageartisans.blogspot.com.

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