Home is where the art is

Rosewood Holiday Arts Festival celebrates 30 years of community art

By Lauren Adams

Photo: A Rosewood Holiday Arts Festival takes place on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Rosewood Arts Center; photo: Shayna McConville

On Saturday, Dec. 5, the Rosewood Arts Centre will celebrate its third holiday festival. The festival celebrates local artists and gives the community members a chance to not only patronize the local arts community, but also to participate in events and become artists for a day.
The festival began as a “reinterpretation of a couple events [the center] had been doing for years,” says Shayna McConville, cultural arts manager for the city of Kettering.
Each August, the center used to have a “demo day,” which showcased local artists and projects throughout the region. They also had programs highlighting various activities around the holidays. About three years ago, the center decided to combine the holiday festivities with the demonstration day and create the holiday festival. In addition to allowing the community to support the local artists and see their work, the festival also serves to enrich the Kettering Park Foundation, which offers Rosewood program scholarships and supports other community endeavors.
Rosewood has been supporting local artists and providing programming since 1985. It’s located in an old elementary school building that operated from 1965-1983. Due to a decrease in population, students began merging with different elementary schools in the Kettering area.
“Kettering … was running art classes and different programs in various places around the city,” says McConville. “But [they] really saw an opportunity to make a destination where it could happen with the Rosewood elementary building, and we had our first full year of classes and programs in 1985.”
To celebrate the center’s 30th year, there will be a special presentation and activities to commemorate the anniversary. McConville says the center will be “celebrating and applauding” elected officials, administration members and other individuals that made it possible in the early days. The program will highlight art and pop culture of the ’80s, such as work by Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The program will also have “Back to the Future”-themed activities—for both kids and adults.
In addition to the special programming, there will also be a featured artist, Pam Adams. She creates landscapes and portraits, and her artwork is reproduced on this year’s marketing materials. Pam also rents a studio and creates work at the center. In addition to Pam’s featured work, there are other artists like Don Williams.
“[He] has been working at Rosewood to make his ceramic work for decades,” McConville says. “He participates every year as a vendor, so he actually does have his work for sale as well [in addition to] doing a demonstration.”
McConville says the festival is made up of both new and returning artists.
“There are sort of the staples of people that really call Rosewood their home or their place to be creative. But then we’ll have people that have never participated before or even shown their work before, and so that’s exciting because there’s always maybe something fresh and new for those people that come every year. They will see something new each time.”
McConville says she and her staff begin planning for the festival in August, and each member oversees certain facets of the planning process.
“For example, our Ceramics Coordinator Sara Hawkins will oversee the production of bowls for the next couple of months. She’s already started that process, so she’s working with people that utilize Rosewood studios to ask if they’d be interested in creating bowls. And we have these special evenings set up and weekends where people can just come and have fun and use the studio for free at an exchange. They’re just throwing some bowls for us.”
The ceramic bowls are also used for soup fundraisers. In addition, Justin Ingram and Andy Daily run all the classes and workshops. They reach out to instructors and artists to see if they’d be interested in participating, and, according to McConville, they work with the instructors and seek out “creative ways to reach all people in the community that might come to [their] events.”
“You know, there should be something for everyone here,” she says.
There will be activities for all ages to participate in at this year’s festival. In addition to watching the various demonstrations and viewing the artwork, there will also be hands-on activities that allow people of all ages to play with clay, observe bead making or even build snowmen and fuse glass. To celebrate the holidays, festival-goers can create their own ornaments using stained glass. The festival is family friendly, and it allows people of all ages to become artists and spectators alike.
“Last year,” McConville says, “we had a number of artists who were working with recycled materials … we had a bottle cap mural that we were making. And Kettering schools had been saving their bottle caps for us, so we were able to use those to [make] a large mural based on a Van Gogh painting.”
The Rosewood Arts Centre and the festival give everyone an opportunity to explore new activities and possibly find a new passion. Whether it’s diligently saving bottle caps to make a mural, creating a Christmas ornament or watching artists work, there will certainly be something for everyone.

A Rosewood Holiday Arts Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Rosewood Arts Centre, 2655 Olson Dr. in Kettering. Admission is free for guests of all ages. For more information please visit playkettering.org/rosewood/events or call 937.296.0294.

Reach DCP freelance writer Lauren Adams at LaurenAdams@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Lauren Adams at LaurenAdams@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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