The Manayunk Arts Festival was on the last 2 days in June, it was a bright, sunny and hot day. The Artguy's first impression came days earlier. Being a new resident in the area, the Artguy tried to get information about the event, particularly regarding parking. To the Artguy's dismay, there was no live person to speak with, just a recorded message about how to get there, which streets were closed and where to park. The problem was if you were not familiar with the area, the recording might as well have been in Chinese! With that aside, the Artguy attended the Manayunk Arts Festival on Saturday, but on the way the Artguy suffered a flat tire, had to change that, so finding parking was nothing after this.
The Festival is held on Main Street in Manayunk, if you have been to Baltimore it is similar to the "AVENUE" in Hampden or if in Washington DC, it is very much like "M" Street in Georgetown. It was very well organized and the only drawback was the narrowness of Main Street with exhibitors on either side, making walking not so leisurely. One of the things the Artguy liked was you could also go into some really cool stores, galleries and restuarants along the street just behind the exhibitors tents. This Festival deserved a "Thumbs Up" for all around visitor friendly atmosphere and things to do.
As for the Arts and Crafts, the Artguy has never seen as much cool metal work and clocks but also not so cool jewelry, fabrics, wood working and handbags exhibits. The Artguy likes festivals and this one had a great deal of high quality metal working which included awesome fully animated clocks, garden sculptures and very innovative user friendly sculptures from David Furlough. The Artguy also found way too many handbags, jewelry and clothing exhibits for his taste. We are talking about A LOT, the Artguy would go as far as to say every 30 yards there seemed to be at least one jewelry and/or handbags exhibit. The Artguy thinks way too many for an Arts and Crafts festival. The Artguy will also go as far as to say there was not one woodworking and/or furniture exhibitor that caught his eye. The furniture looked like and felt like winter clothing in the summer. Some of the furniture exhibits were those "salvaged and painted pieces" you will find at almost EVERY festival (as a side note, the Artguy has never applied to a festival that did not require the craftsman/artist to have produced his or her own work). The Fine Arts, aka Paintings, were of the common variety, but were pockmarked with some very very nice stuff. The Artguy found the paintings by Chuck Kaiser extremely interesting and unique. The real surprise was at the very far end of Main Street, there was an open pit BBQ stand roaring, a sculpture garden and paintings exhibit, all, the Artguy assume's, were outside the Manayunk Festival's Organizational reach.
All in all, the Manayunk Arts Festival is more on the Commercial Crafts side then the Arts side. But on that bright sunny Saturday in June it was well worth it, and the Artguy would do it again.
Another glorious day during the Manayunk Arts Festival 2003! Bright blue skies, large crowds, free music and good eats. Click on Photo to see more
It's become increasingly clear that the Manayunk Arts Festival is a haven for talented Jewelers. Like last years', they are everywhere you looked, almost seems every third exhibit was jewelry of some kind.
However, if you look closely enough you'll find the fine art paintings, those same beautiful clocks, and awesome metal sculptures. But, look even closer and you will notice a lack of furniture. This seems a little odd considering the Furniture Society's 2003 conference was in Philadelphia. I can remember only one furniture exhibit and it looked "store bought."
Here a few artists that we visited with, fine art painter John Chen, pop artist Barry Kite, PA artist Claire Giblin, awesome sculptures by Bill Secunda and "outside the ropes," cool creative sculptures by Eric Schultz.
If you are interested in exhibitng at the Manayunk Arts Festival it costs $375 booth fee plus $25 application fee. Another nice show to attend or exhibit in would be the Rittenhouse Square Fine Arts Show, it runs in June and extremely affordable at $125 (2003) for 4 days!!! Rittenhouse Square is in downtown Philadelphia, part of Center City, it's an area with good shopping, great restaurants, high walls and deeper pockets...
Unlike the previous 2 years, the Artguy was a participating artist in this years Juried show. That does not really mean anything other than a different perspective on this very unique Arts Festival held on the last weekend in June in an area known as Manayunk. more photos
In regards to being an exhibitor, it was extremely well organized show, information packets arrived in the mail early, details of parking clearly spelled out and to top everything off, you could request the official Manayunk Arts Festival postcard (100 or more free) to mail out to your customers and friends. Exhibitors included, painted furniture, the usual vast array of Jewelers, metal sculptures, photographers and Fine Art painters. The Manayunk Arts Festival is one of the more costly events, at a total of $400.00 this 2 day show is higher than most.
The festival was once again blessed with outstanding weather for both days, clear skies and a welcoming breeze. Crowds were large but certainly not like Artscape crowds which are in excess of 500,000! The crowds here are more like the crowds one sees in the DC metro area, typically a small young family with income to spare. If the crowds at Artscape are showing off their 'ink', the crowds in Manayunk are strutting along with their YSL, D&B, and Coach bags, but all took a back seat to the classic Burberry items. If at Baltimore's Artscape you might see film maker John Waters checking out the art, then you might observe TV personality Nancy Glass casually strolling down Main Street in Manayunk.
As an exhibitor, the Artguy rates it an B+ to an A-. The crowds were very large both days and the potential is there but one must arrive with the right stuff. Deadline for this show is in late January, requiring 3 item slides as well as a booth slide along with $375 booth and $25 app fees... hope to see you next year.
the Artguy - "I really know nothing about art other than what I like and if it's more than that, then I must be lost..."
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