WICKFORD - Over 200 talented fine artists will attend the 52nd annual Wickford Art Festival this weekend to exhibit a variety of different pieces.
Between 45,000 to 75,000 people are estimated to attend the festival that is one of the longest running outdoor art festivals in New England. The rain or shine event always draws in a crowd, and this year artists are traveling from all over the world to present their work including oil, acrylic, sculpture in glass, metal, wood and ceramic, modern ink, pastel, drawing, watercolor, etching, mixed media, photography, graphics and more.
Since artist are required to present their work to the Wickford Art Association before participating in the festival, only the highest quality art is exhibited.
“WAA holds high standards for accepted art and its presentation and we expect our artists to bring their best work, which they always do,” said Festival Director Judy Salvadore. “Although it didn’t start out as a juried show, the festival has evolved into the best juried fine art festival in New England and in the top 200 of the country.”
Among the many artists attending is Ernest Porcelli from New York, a talented stained glass artist of over 40 years who will be attending the festival for the first time. His work has received notable attention in national publications, major motion pictures, museum stores and galleries nationwide, making him an impressive addition to this years exhibit.
“Most of what I plan to show are fused glass, kiln formed pieces,” said Porcelli. “In the 40 plus years I’ve worked in this industry there have been two new tools added to this centuries-old craft. I can do both traditional and contemporary stained glass designing, I love it all.”
After working as a combat photographer in Vietnam, Porcelli started making and selling his immaculate stained glass pieces that are now featured in churches, offices, homes, restaurants and more. The colorful and articulately made pieces vary greatly from one another, emphasizing the diversity in Porcelli’s work.
“There was a time when i realized that what I’d created was not influenced by anything I had seen, it was mine, I own my craft , my art,” said Porcelli. “It’s always new, So for 40 plus years I keep learning what a wonderful craft I’ve found.”
Another artist attending, Tiffany Adams from Warwick, has been crafting ceramic art for years, and built her own studio locally in 2005. Her work is organic in form and has been published in Art New England Magazine, the Wood River Press, Nature Nourishes and American Art Collector 2013 edition. The rustic and natural look to her pieces add a unique aspect to her art.
“My inspiration is wide ranging and includes my environment, memories of my travels and love of the ocean,” said Adams in her statement on lamarceramicstudio.com. “I feel drawn to forms found in nature and to nature itself.”
Adams bases her many pieces on objects such as bones, shells, rocks, coral, seeds and driftwood, and then completes each piece with a raku finish adding an aged look to new pieces.
“I try to give each of my pieces that same feeling of age, as if the object has been sitting on the bottom of the ocean or buried for some time allowing the viewer to ponder,” said Adams.
Both the work of Adams and Porcelli, along with the other artist will be available to view and purchase during the festival. Other artists attending include Sharon Smith from North Kingstown, Giles Cloutier from Warwick, Jossy Lownes from Arizona and the artist traveling the longest distance, Quanqiang Gao from China, among many others.
The hundreds of talented artists aren’t the only impressive thing about the Wickford Art Festival, but the deep historic roots of how it began in 1961 allows there to be artists that have been participating in the festival for 40 years. The Wickford Art Association has successfully been raising money for their scholarship fund through the festival for years, and high sales are anticipated since Rhode Island has now made art exempt from sales tax.
In addition to having art available to view and purchase, the WAA will provide activities like a photo booth to break up the day and allow children to enjoy themselves as well, making this a family-friendly event.
“Our festival is set in historic Wickford Village, right on the streets, so it is a very festive atmosphere,” said Salvadore. “A few steps away is Narragansett Bay, you are walking amongst one of the finest collections of colonial homes in the country and surrounded by amazing art. Isn’t this a spectacular way to spend a summer weekend?”