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Art in the ‘Burg is back for the 2016 season Saturday, giving local artists and local art-lovers an opportunity to get out and enjoy the City of Williamsburg’s Arts District.
Fans of last year’s Art in the ‘Burg events will find both changes and returning favorites this time around. The most notable difference is the decision to hold the fair once a month, rather than its every-other-week format from last season.
“We realized it was just too much for the artists to try to get out new inventory every two weeks,” said Beverly Burgdorf, who co-owns Colonial Folk Art Studio & Gallery in the district with her husband Davie.
The Williamsburg Arts District Association launched Art in the ‘Burg last May in an effort to bring more artists and visitors into the Arts District, which includes most of the area between the Richmond Road-Monticello Avenue intersection and Brooks Street. Davie, who is on WADA’s board, offered up Colonial Folk Art – located at 110 Bacon Ave. – to host the event because of its large parking lot.
WADA launched Art in the ‘Burg with the intention of complementing rather than competing with existing art events around town, and last year’s season gave the organizers some insight into what the event’s niche might be.
Beverly and Davie have both come to think of their arts fair as a smaller, more intimate event where artists with less experience showing their work may feel comfortable getting their feet wet.
“Our [event] is very small compared to 2nd Sundays,” Beverly said. “It’s really been a good opportunity for people to get an idea of what it’s like to set up a booth and to get ready to move onto to bigger shows. We want to see our artists go on to the bigger shows like Second Sundays or Yorktown Market Day.”
Davie also believes it is important to maintain this event as a place less experienced artists can learn the ropes and start to make professional connections in the art world.
“We want artists who maybe feel a little intimidated to begin showing to feel like this is a place they can come,” Davie said. “I’ve heard quite a few artists say they got as much out of networking with other artists as they did anything else.”
The property includes space for a maximum of 12 displays, and most shows last year featured between 10 and 12 artists each. The small size of the event not only makes it more approachable from an artist’s perspective but also more accessible to the types of shoppers who might visit the fair, Davie said.
“This is something for people to come by, park, walk through. It doesn’t take a very long time,” Davie said. “It’s not an all-day thing for people who are out there looking to find art. It’s a great, short little opportunity to come see some.”
Though the show is small, it also boasts plenty of variety. Last year’s events attracted artists working in almost every visual medium and style, from fine art paintings to abstract found-object sculptures to jewelry.
Visual arts are the focus of Art in the ‘Burg, but WADA is actively looking for ways to incorporate other types of arts into the event and the Burgdorfs are hopeful some of those changes could begin to come about as soon as this year.
Last year’s fairs occasionally had musicians performing on a volunteer basis, and the Burgdorfs are hopeful that aspect of the fair will continue and expand to include other types of performing arts like local dance troupes.
There has also been discussion of including food trucks at some point, though that change is further down the road, Davie said.
In order to make the event more interactive, Colonial Folk Art will be hosting a ticketed workshop in the studio in conjunction with each fair. Saturday’s workshop will feature artist Tom Blunt, who will lead participants in the creation of what he likes to call “funkies” – whimsical found object sculptures that resemble small robots.
With small steps toward expansion while remaining mindful of its purpose as an intimate, approachable alternative to some of the larger arts events around town, Art in the ‘Burg is looking forward to another year of showing people what the Williamsburg art scene has to offer.
“The purpose of [Art in the ‘Burg] is to get art and the art-loving public together, and to try to bring some of the center of gravity of the arts into the Arts District,” Davie said. “The more opportunity we have to have art down in the District, whether it’s in a gallery or at an art fair, the better.”
Art in the ‘Burg is free and open to the public. Fairs will take place April 16, May 14, June 18, July 16, Aug. 20, Sept. 17, Oct. 15 and Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot of Colonial Folk Art Studio and Gallery, rain or shine.
To participate in Art in the ‘Burg as an artist, contact Colonial Folk Art by calling 757-941-8926 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The artist fee is $10 and goes entirely toward promotion of the event.
To inquire about reserving a space in Saturday’s interactive workshop, call Colonial Folk Art at 757-941-8926. The workshop fee is $30 per person.