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Published: Friday, 10/24/2003

Crosby Fest exhibitor sees indoor potential

BY JUDY TARJANYI
BLADE SENIOR WRITER
Glass art by Shawn Messenger of Toledo. Glass art by Shawn Messenger of Toledo.
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A first-of-its-kind art show for Toledo debuts this weekend at the SeaGate Convention Centre, where more than 185 artists and craftsmen from around the country will display and sell their work.

Artworks Toledo is the brainchild of New York artist and art show producer Richard Rothbard, a frequent exhibitor at the city's annual Crosby Festival of the Arts who saw potential here for a major indoor art show.

“Eighteen to twenty thousand people supposedly come to the Crosby Festival so I figured there's got to be interest here. With all the other elements that seem to be available - the incredible museum and a real consciousness in the community for those interested in art - it seemed like a goodly number would attend.”

After Rothbard contacted the Convention and Visitors' Bureau and the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo with his idea, he said, “It just went lickety-split.” Enthusiasm was high and the Arts Commission even decided to incorporate one of its annual fund-raisers into the event by planning an opening-night preview party.

Jewelry by Jim Livermore of Barrington, N.H., will be among the works of more than 185 artists and craftsmen. Jewelry by Jim Livermore of Barrington, N.H., will be among the works of more than 185 artists and craftsmen.
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Visitors to Artworks Toledo, which opens tonight with pARTy on the Town and continues tomorrow and Sunday, will find high-quality art work and crafts in a dozen different media ranging from ceramics to wood. Artists chosen for the show were vetted by a jury of three that was looking for a mixture of styles.

“My show philosophy,” Rothbard said, “has to do with people not looking at this as a museum event, but as a place where they find things that they can purchase ... The show is really geared for people who have all sorts of tastes and prices that range from $10 to $15 items up to many thousands.”

Rothbard also sees Artworks Toledo as a way parents can introduce their children to art.

“Kids who may be interested in art and are just scribbling now go to an art show like this and have an opportunity see the work and meet and talk to the artists ... Getting out to a museum is one type of experience, but live at an art fair like this, that's huge for kids.”

Besides booths displaying works of art, the show will have food, entertainment, and a children's activity area.

Among area artists displaying their work will be Annette Morrin of Lambertville, jewelry; C.A. Harris and Dave Kohli of Ravenworks Deerskin, Mount Victory, Ohio, leather; Todd Richter of Clinton, Mich., metal; Jean Boger of Toledo, Micael Goettner of Sylvania, and Norma Thomas Herr of Wauseon, painting; Chris Maher of Lambertville, photography; Ann Tubbs and Phil and Gail Sellers, all of Ottawa Lake, Mich., ceramics, and glass artists Michael and Scott Boyd of Sylvania, Berry and Scott Davis of Celina, Ohio, Tim McAfee of Temperance, and Shawn Messenger and Meredith Wenzel of Toledo.

Rothbard said visitors who have been to the Crosby Festival can expect an experience that differs from the popular outdoor art fair.

“This is quite a different show from Crosby. It has a totally different look and feel and environment. And I think that nobody should miss this.”

Artworks Toledo 2003 opens tonight with pARTy on the Town from 6 to 10 in the SeaGate Convention Centre downtown. Tickets at $65 are available at the door or from the Arts Commission. The show continues tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, $10 for a weekend pass, and free for children under 10. Information: www.artworkstoledo.com



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