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Published: Thursday, 6/26/2014 - Updated: 1 year ago


Let's Get visual: Arts Festival celebrates 49th year

Artists peddle their wares at Crosby Festival of the Arts

Left: Toledoan Elaine Wieland is instructed on how to hang a praying mantis art piece made by artist Anthony Patti.  Middle: Paper-cutting art by Emily Wilson.  Far Right: Angel Fish by Celeste North. Left: Toledoan Elaine Wieland is instructed on how to hang a praying mantis art piece made by artist Anthony Patti. Middle: Paper-cutting art by Emily Wilson. Far Right: Angel Fish by Celeste North.
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Each year arts lovers near and far eagerly anticipate the last weekend in June in northwest Ohio, when the Crosby Festival of the Arts showcases hundreds of national and regional artists.

The festival at Toledo Botanical Garden on Elmer Drive in West Toledo is a must for anyone who enjoys artwork, crowds, and summer weekends.

The event kicks off with an outdoor preview party Friday evening, when local band Distant Cousinz begins to perform at 6, Matt Killam, marketing and events manager at TBG said. Partygoers will drink the signature cocktail, the Crosby Mule, then dine on delectable edibles prepared and displayed by Chef David of Nazareth Hall. Gates open to the public Saturday morning.

If You Go

Toledo Botanical Garden will be closed all day Thursday, and on Friday until gates open for the Crosby Festival of the Arts preview gala party at 5 p.m. Purchase the $75 preview tickets at the gate or online (visit www.toledogarden.org/ crosby-festival-2014/ website and follow the prompts).

Saturday's festival hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. General admission is $8.

It's free for TBG members and children under 12. Advance tickets are $7 at The Andersons.

Catch a free ride to the festival in the Meijer parking lot on West Central Avenue, where air-conditioned shuttles will run continuously both days.

Local artist Emily Wilson is much younger than the Crosby Festival of the Arts, which this weekend celebrates its 49th year. That doesn't matter to this 29-year-old mother of two boys. She's exhilarated to be among the 220 artists chosen for the show out of 450 applicants. It was her first time applying, and she considers herself fortunate to be among those who will display ceramic, fiber, glass, graphics, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture, and wood works.

“I'm so thrilled, but really nervous and excited,” the Waterville resident said. Last year she was in Waterville's Rouche De Boeuf festival and in September she's in Bowling Green's Black Swamp Arts Festival. As for this weekend, she said, “It's a great opportunity.”

A 2002 graduate from Anthony Wayne High School, Mrs. Wilson has painted for years. She didn't attend art school, but describes herself as “self taught.” She has a talent that others recognize, and she does not take all the credit for it. She recalls the influence of now-retired high school art teacher, Sue Ann Ladd, who “was a huge supporter of my artwork and always encouraged me to keep creating. She was a wonderful teacher, mentor, and friend.”

Mrs. Wilson's family is behind her, as one might expect. Her husband, David Wilson, is a key proponent, as are her parents, Steve and Liz Grier of Whitehouse. Her dad urged her to apply for the juried art fair, and she credits her mother with turning her attention to the intricate process of paper cutting, technically called scherenschnitte, which means “scissor cuts” in German.

“My mom thought it would be a good idea. She bought me a starter kit that sat in the closet for at least a year,” she said. “My kids were really young when she gave it to me and I laughed about it and thought, 'When am I going to have time?' But it's been a really good outlet for me. It's different — something people have not seen before.”

Other festival highlights include the participation of local food vendors, while entertainers will perform on a jazz stage, Mr. Killam said. A children's tent with crafts and hands-on activities will be set up for little ones.

“We try to make it a full family experience. I am sure the weather will be perfect,” he added with complete confidence. “We get artists from all over the country and we are proud to say so.”

Contact Rose Russell at rrussell@theblade.com or 419-724-6178.

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