Color Dayton

Art on the Commons keeps inspiring creativity

Photo: A masterpiece by Anastasia Mak

By Megan Constable

Back for its 29th year, the Art on the Commons Festival will bring music, art, crafts, food, and more to the Miami Valley. The event will host over 100 artists and crafters from across the nation.

According to Shayna McConville, division manager of cultural arts for the city of Kettering, the festival started at Rosewood Art Centre, which offers classes, studios, gallery exhibitions, theatre performances, special events, and festivals focused on visual and performing arts.

“It was a festival for artists to show off their work,” says McConville, in her seventh year working on the festival.

The event returns Sunday, Aug. 13 to Lincoln Park Civic Commons, sponsored by the City of Kettering Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts and the Ohio Arts Council.

At Art on the Commons, artwork will be available to view and purchase, ranging in forms from ceramic, wood, leather, glass, sculptures, and paintings to digital art, jewelry, mixed media, and photos. The festival is also a competition, which McConville says makes the event unique. This year’s jurors Lisa Goldberg, founder of the Yellow Springs Artist Studio Tour and the Art & Soul Fair; Mary Gray, director of the Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery; and Pat Higgins, Kettering Arts Council Vice President, selected the artwork from over 200 entries. Artists come from all across the United States including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, Florida, Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

“[People] will walk away having seen really cool artwork from all over the country,” McConville says.

This year, they added the WYSO Excursions Stage with Niki Dakota. The stage will feature local musicians Daniel Dye and the Miller Road Band, Lioness, Shrug, and The Pullouts. Music starts at 11 a.m. with Daniel Dye and the Miller Road Band, followed by Lioness at 12:15 p.m., Shrug at 1:30 p.m., and The Pullouts at 3:15 p.m. According to McConville, they added this stage to highlight the Miami Valley’s eclectic music.

There will also be concessions available to satisfy any hungry art lovers: Fraze Pavilion’s Ernie’s, Sweet P’s Handcrafted Ice Pops, Harvest Mobile, Bella Sorella Pizza, and Greek food provided by BJ Events.

The event will also have children’s activities as well as arts and crafts demos for all ages presented by the Rosewood Art Centre.

According to McConville, the event is highly attended and multiple members of the community come out every year. She believes the location is “gorgeous” and helps with the atmosphere of the event.

“Last year it downpoured and we still had a ton of people show up,” McConville says.

Last year’s first-place winner and this year’s spotlighted artist, Anastasia Mak, was surprised and honored when she won the previous year. She is excited to return this year.

“It is so fun to see images of my work on the show’s promo materials,” Mak says.

Born in Ukraine and currently living in Chicago, Mak was 2 when she started painting and has worked as an artist professionally for over 10 years.

“I started drawing ever since I could hold a pencil,” Mak says. “I don’t feel like my full self when I don’t create. So I guess, in a way, it is essential to my survival.”

Mak uses acrylic paint on canvas or wooden panels. Her travels, architecture, murals, patterns, and color combinations inspire her artwork.

“[My art is] bright, vivid and features cities and landscapes, mostly inspired by my travels, as well as my hometown, Chicago,” Mak says. “My tagline is ‘Destinations in Color.’”

Mak discovered Art on the Commons by researching art festivals in the Midwest. After participating in the event last year, Mak says she enjoyed the setting and the organizers.

“This art fair committee cares about their exhibiting artists and local community,” Mak says.

Mak will have art for sale in her booth, number 19. She is looking forward to meeting new people and talking about places and traveling.

“People purchase my work because it brightens up their rooms, and also because it often sparks a connection to a place that they have visited,” Mak says. “So, naturally, at shows, I get into a lot of conversations about travel, and both me and my customers sometimes get carried away with telling our stories. It’s the best.”

As McConville says, “[Attendees will] walk away knowing we have a top-notch art community right here in the Miami Valley.”

Art on the Commons takes place Sunday, Aug. 13, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Lincoln Park Civic Commons, 695 Lincoln Park Blvd. in Kettering. The event is free. Pets are not allowed. For more information, please call 937.296.0294 or visit PlayKettering.org/Art-Programs-Events/Art-On-The-Commons.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Megan Constable at MeganConstable@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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