NORTH KINGSTOWN—The Wickford Art Festival, one of the most iconic artistic events in the state, is starting up once more this weekend. According to new Festival Director Bruce Luscombe, a handful of newcomers will be joining the already populous ranks of artists for the 2013 edition.
“We have a lot of new people,” said Luscombe. “Every time I went to an art show or festival in the community, if I started seeing artists I really liked I gave them my card to see if they’d be coming.”
“We have a lot of different work,” he added. “It is fine art, but not like you see at the museum of fine arts. It pushes the boundaries.”
Luscombe, owner of a printing company in Boston, has taken on the organization of such a large arts festival as an eye-opening challenge. Having volunteered for the event over the past several years, he has gained a greater appreciation for the preparation involved.
“They handed me a box of stuff and said, ‘figure it out,’” said Luscombe. “With no experience at actually running a show, to say the least, I have had my work cut out for me. I am just plodding along to the next test to make sure things are going along.”
With many moving parts to the establishing of an annual art festival, one which draws visitors from across Rhode Island and beyond, Luscombe stated that selecting artists has been the most difficult part of the process.
“We have a good mix of returning artists and maybe 25 percent new artists, so we want a wide range,” said Luscombe. “We have a jury process for new applicants, and that was probably one of the hardest things, nobody wants to be rejected, and I don’t want to reject things.”
“We try to hold to a fine art scene, but that is subjective,” he added.
Artists of all different media from across the world converge on Wickford, and Luscombe is excited about displaying the work of nearly 200 artists.
“We have an artist coming all the way from Israel, Mira Raman, and have Caite McCauley that does illustrations by wood burning,” said Luscombe. “This isn’t your father’s wood burning, but it looks like its was done with a colored pencil.”
“It is exquisite and with attention to detail,” he added. “I sought [McCauley] out and invited her, which I don’t typically do, because I have seen her at other festivals.”
Luscombe had high praise for another artist, Kyle Reslow of Warwick, who produces glass sculptures through his business Edge Works Glass.
“It is something he hadn’t considered, but I gave him such good encouragement that he decided to fill in last minute,” said Luscombe. “He’s a wonderful guy, too.”
Sponsorship is a crucial component to the success of the Wickford Art Festival, and Luscombe has been able to attract a new business, Gooseneck Vineyards, to help support the event.
“We were more looking for a local flavor and wanted [the business] to be Rhode Island based and from the North Kingstown area, so we have Wickford Wine Company, or Gooseneck Vineyards, based right here in South County,” said Luscombe. “It is a very small, private business that is trying to make a good quality, but reasonably priced wine.”
“I bought a few bottles and really enjoyed it,” he added.
Other sponsors include: Randall Realtors, Coventry Credit Union and Flowers By Bert and Peg, among others.
Thus, the time has come again for another Wickford Art Festival, and this year hopes to be more successful than the last.
For more information about the festival, visit their website at www.wickfordart.org . For information on parking and safety in the Wickford area during the festival, visit www.nkpolice.org .