By ANDREW MARTASIAN
Special to the Standard
NORTH KINGSTOWN - The heat didn’t deter everyone from visiting the Wickford Art Festival last weekend. However, long-time participants of the 50-year old festival noted that there were fewer people and sales than in years past.
“The heat is just killing the show,” said Jim Murphy, a 20-year veteran of the festival.
Jeanne Pierce, who was showing at the festival for the third time, said she only sold one piece on Saturday.
Pierce, like many artists, blamed the heat for reducing foot-traffic near their booths.
“[It was] difficult to have people stand and talk to you, it was just too miserable out, it was just too hot,” said Lloyd Garrison, who has been showing his work in the festival for about 40 years.
Despite the high heat and low sales experienced by some, artists still felt the show – that featured nearly 200 artists - was beneficial simply because it gave them the opportunity to be seen.
“A lot of times you meet people [who] bring commissions later,” said Neal Drobnis who was showing his glass sculptures.
Artists who were presenting their work for the first time in Wickford were particularly excited about the opportunity to be in this year’s show.
Brian Sage, a first-time festival participant, was happy with the response he got from visitors to his booth.
“I sold a couple prints. It seems like lower price point items are selling regularly,” Sage said.
James Long Jr., who was also showing his paintings in Wickford for the first time, said the artists at the festival were “very talented” and he was “honored to be a part of it [the festival].”
Long, like many artists who sold their work last weekend, said he did not find it difficult to part with their work.
“I’m trying to pay rent,” Long said. “This is what I do for a living.”
Sage also felt no hesitation when it came to selling his work because he knows each piece “will be better than the next.”
The Wickford Art Festival featured a variety of artists, from painting and sculpture to music and photography, who entertained the visitors who braved the weekend’s searing temperatures.
“I think its been getting better every year,” said Brian Boyer of Cranston. “I’m seeing different artists that I haven’t seen before.”
Carrie Jacobson, in her third year showing her paintings, praised the festival for it’s “high-quality” fine art as well as the crowd the festival attracts.
“The people who come to the show, they know a lot about art and they come to look at art,” she said.
The festival attracted art-enthusiasts from all over the region.
Bob Couture, who came from Framingham Mass., said he enjoyed the festival because “you see everything, there’s a nice variety [of art].”
Andrew Martasian is an intern at SRI Newspapers.