Hundreds of people mill around the artists’ booths at the Black Swamp Arts Festival in downtown Bowling Green, which continues today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
BOWLING GREEN — With multicolored chalk marks on her face, hands, feet, and jeans, Chelsea Tatkowski took her art to the street — to the actual pavement — Saturday at the Black Swamp Arts Festival.
A senior at the Toledo School for the Arts, Miss Tatkowski was among area high school students competing for cash prizes for their school’s art department in the festival’s growing Fifth Third Bank Chalk Walk competition. The theme of their 8-foot-by-10-foot creations: community.
“The definition of community is people getting together and doing something for a common goal,” she said in explanation of her team’s drawing of people of different nationalities picking apples in an orchard.
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Eastwood High School art teacher Lauren Smith looked on as four of her students created a town seal of sorts that represented Pemberville and the Eastwood community, complete with a small-town streetscape, the Portage River that winds through town, and an eagle — the school mascot.
“It's a great project,” Ms. Smith said of the Chalk Walk. “All the art techniques we talk about in the classroom apply here.”
While 11 teams of four students were at work Saturday afternoon, organizers say they would like to see Chalk Walk eventually fill an entire block of South Main Street. First prize was $500.
Eastwood High School art students Jenne Benier, 15, left, and Cassie VanDenk, 15, work on their team’s creation for the festival’s Chalk Walk contest. First prize is $500.
“This is our second year,” event Co-Chairman Kate Kamphuis said. “Our goal is to fill the street and make this one of the premier high-school art competitions, where schools will actually have to compete with themselves to get a spot.”
Ms. Kamphuis said the competition is a great way to involve high-schoolers in the annual three-day arts and music festival, which already offers lots of hands-on activities geared toward younger children and a schedule packed with live musical entertainment for adults.
On Saturday, hundreds of people of all ages flocked to downtown Bowling Green to check out the work of artists both from Wood County and across the country. Handcrafted pottery, glass, paintings, photography, and jewelry were among the pieces for sale.
“We come every year, but this was the first year something really grabbed me,” Terri Schultz of Maumee said as she paid for a stoneware bowl with funky designs on it.
Kristy Jo Beber, a stoneware potter from Fort Wayne, Ind., who crafted the bowl, said she’s been coming to the Black Swamp Arts Festival for six or seven years.
“It’s a good show,” she said. “We like the area.”
John Csomos of Maumee looks over the large format work of photographer J.D. Nolan at the annual Black Swamp Arts Festival in Bowling Green. The festival offered a mix of artists, from photographers to potters to glassmakers and more.
Detroit-area fiber artist Barbara Rubright designs and makes hand-woven women’s clothing and exhibited and sold her creations for the first time in Bowling Green. She said she typically travels a 500 to 600-mile radius of her Shelby Township, Michigan, home and studio to do 15 or more art shows a year.
“I think this is delightful. The people are lovely,” Ms. Rubright said. “We’ve never been here. We’ve always driven by on our way to some other place.”
The festival continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. The youth arts area is open from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, go to blackswamparts.org.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.