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Published: Thursday, 6/21/2007

Art, music, and dance in the Garden

The Crosby Festival of the Arts draws artists from around the
country. The Dance, above, by Lucy Phelps of Venice, Fla., was a
highlight of last year s festival. The Crosby Festival of the Arts draws artists from around the country. The Dance, above, by Lucy Phelps of Venice, Fla., was a highlight of last year s festival.

Head out to the park this weekend and you just might be bitten by the art bug.

In a good way.

Toledo Botanical Garden hosts the 42nd annual Crosby Festival of the Arts on Saturday and Sunday featuring work by 243 artists in glass, ceramics, photography, painting, jewelry, sculpture, mixed media, graphics, wood, and fiber. First dibs on all the goodies will go to those who attend the Preview Party tomorrow night.

There literally is something for everyone. Even if you don t consider yourself an art aficionado, you won t go home empty-handed, predicted Melissa Shaner, festival director.

There will be more artists this year, and the quality will be better than ever, she added, crediting a new online application system which drew a record number of entries.

The show received 800 applications from artists across the country, Shaner said, about twice as many as in the past. As a result, the jury process was exceptionally competitive. The quality of the art has been raised to a new level, she said.

The number of artists who were selected to participate is up just slightly, however. We didn t want to make the festival too much bigger, so it would be too overwhelming for visitors, she explained.

You will definitely notice the new artists and the quality of the exhibits themselves, Shaner continued. Every category will include newcomers joining favorites of the past.

Visitors this year also will find a festival that s easier to navigate a relief to anyone who has gotten lost in the sprawling, winding ribbons of art booths of the past.

Responding to comments from visitors and artists, We engaged a design firm to take a hard look at our festival layout, Shaner said. We took an aerial view of the gardens and laid out the booths in a more logical order and sequence.

The grid-like arrangement will have five color-coded sections, she said.

In addition to art, the festival will offer food that Shaner said goes beyond your funnel cakes and french fries, a beer garden, a children s artistic playhouse with make-and-take activities, and live entertainment.

Musical offerings will include Steve Jad (acoustic guitar), Jocelyn Scofield (vocalist), the Jean Holden Singers (jazz/vocals), Doug Wood (acoustic guitar), El Corazon de Mexico (youth Mexican dancers), Russell Donnellon (acoustic guitar), and Sisai (Equadorian music).

Free parking and shuttle service will be available in the parking lot at the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Holland-Sylvania Road. Scooters will be available to rent for $7 an hour at the main entrance to the festival on Elmer. TBG s Bancroft Street entrance will be closed to the public during the festival to accommodate the artists.

Tomorrow s Preview Party will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $75 from TBG at 419-936-2986.

The 42nd annual Crosby Festival of the Arts runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Toledo Botanical Garden, 5403 Elmer Drive in West Toledo. Admission is $7; children 12 and under and TBG members will be admitted free. Information: 419-936-2986 or toledogarden.org.

Contact Ann Weber at: aweber@theblade.comor 419-724-6126.

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