Under tents lining the University of Toledo’s Centennial Mall, 116 artists showcased their wares on Sunday to the sound of jazz at this year’s Art on the Mall.
The University of Toledo Alumni Association’s 24th annual outdoor juried art fair drew over 10,000 attendees over the course of the day, said UT director of alumni programming Ansley Abrams-Frederick.
Art on the Mall, presented by The Blade and Huntington Bank, provided painters, sculptors, and artists working with a variety of media with the chance to market their work to Toledo-area residents and vie for awards.
“We’ve got some wonderful, beautiful things on campus today,” Ms. Abrams-Frederick said, adding that crowds began snaking through the mall before the fair even officially opened.
IN PICTURES: Art on the Mall
Most of the 116 artists at this year’s fair had shown art at the fair before, Ms. Abrams-Frederick said.
Ellen Smith of Bowling Green, who was showcasing at the fair for the first time this year, introduced passers-by to her plywood furniture, which she described as affordable and functional yet beautiful.
“No one has walked by without touching those chairs,” said Ms. Smith, gesturing at the sleek chairs at the front of her tent, carved to conform to the curvature of the human body. “If I charged for touching, I’d be a millionaire.”
The fair has provided great traffic for Ms. Smith, who makes everything from adult furniture to tables and toys for children and who is looking to break into the Toledo market.
Kathy Palmer Genzman, an artist who specializes in watercolor, has had a tent for all of the fair’s 24 years, even winning the 2006 Best of Show award.
Ms. Genzman, who is based in Lambertville but considers Toledo home, finds that her depictions of Toledo are the most popular. Each year, she produces and sells a calendar featuring notable spots in the city — like the UT campus, the Toledo Zoo, and the Toledo Museum of Art.
“People are really proud of their city,” she said of her customers.
Visitors to this year’s fair could also sip away at the beer tent, watch demonstrations, or sway to the sound of two UT jazz groups in the center of the mall.
Steve and Kathy McPherson of Bluffton took the opportunity to pick up a stained-glass ladybug and a rain gauge at the the fair. As first-time attendees, they said Art on the Mall had certainly lived up to their expectations.
Taking a break from performing, several members of the jazz group Minor Frett observed the day’s ongoings.
“We’re just walking around, enjoying every minute of it,” said group member Adam Derby. “We’re glad so many local artists are coming out — it’s a great atmosphere.”
“I think the jazz just ties everything together,” group member Brynne Guyer added.
At the Interactive Art Demonstration area, UT art student Stephen Owczarzak shaped wet clay into a bowl, explaining the process of the spinning pottery wheel under his hands to curious onlookers.
“Mostly, I’m out trying to encourage kids to get their hands messy,” he said.
Around noon, the three judges for this year had made it halfway through the fair as they scoped out the entries.
“There’s a lot of variety and a lot of fun, interesting works,” said Katherine Ryckman Siegwarth, a judge and the Kettering Exhibition Coordinator at the Dayton Art Institute.
While the judges deliberated their way through the booths, some artists at the fair had simple goals — like Amy Schultz, who carves intricate, realistic bird sculptures out of wood.
“If I can sell a bird and cover my costs, I’m happy,” she said.