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Published: Monday, 8/11/2003

Downtown to host show of 200 artists

BY JUDY TARJANYI
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A juried art show with works by 200 artists is being planned for October by the city and the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, filling a spot on the local arts calendar that has been vacant since the demise of ToledoFest in 1991.

Artworks 2003 will open Oct. 24 in the SeaGate Centre downtown and continue through Oct. 26.

The show will replace an arts commission fund-raiser, Hot Glass, which has been held in the fall, and will include an opening-night preview party called pARTy on the Town. Proceeds from the event will benefit the arts commission.

Artworks 2003 was conceived when artist and promoter Richard Rothbard, a woodworker who has shown his work at the city's annual Crosby Festival of the Arts, approached Mayor Jack Ford's office with the idea.

Bob Meeker, co-chairman of the October show, said Mr. Rothbard was familiar with Toledo and the local market, as well as the annual Ann Arbor Art Fairs, and thought a major show could be done here. The arts commission has agreed to a three-year contract with Mr. Rothbard's American Craft Marketing company, which will organize the show in partnership with the city and the arts commission.

American Craft puts on the Berkshires Summer and Autumn arts festivals and the Rockefeller Center Arts Festival, among others.

Dee Spencer, co-chairman of Artworks Toledo, said Mr. Rothbard's shows offer high-end art, including furniture, wearable art, glass, paintings, and stone and metal work.

Already, she said, 160 of the 200 artists have been chosen for the Toledo show and a number of invitations have been extended to local artists.

“I'm very excited about it,” said Ms. Spencer. “I think we're bringing something wonderful to downtown.”

The show will be similar to the annual Crosby Festival of the Arts held each June at Toledo Botanical Garden, but will fill a niche in the fall arts calendar left vacant since 1991 when ToledoFest, formerly the Toledo Festival of the Arts, was canceled because of city budget cuts.

Tickets to Artworks Toledo, which also will offer entertainment and a children's area, will be $7, or $10 for both Saturday and Sunday. Preview party tickets, at $65 each, are available now from the arts commission. The price of each preview ticket includes $20 that may be applied to a minimum $25 purchase from the art show that night only.

Mr. Meeker said entertainment hasn't been finalized but likely will include music and dance. He said the show is expected to appeal to Toledoans who travel outside the city to buy art as well as to those new to the art world.

“I'd like to think that the people who go to Ann Arbor or New York or any major retail destination would see that those retail destinations are coming to them in this venue. We're bringing it here rather than them having to go there. It's also a very accessible way to get a great national view of arts and crafts for the new or entry-level person.”



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