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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

An Occasion for the Arts Festival Returns in October

UPDATE (9/28/2022, 7:14 a.m.): Organizers for An Occasion for the Arts (AOFTA) 2022 have announced that Friday evening’s fundraiser has been canceled due to weather concerns. This includes all AOFTA events from Friday, Sept. 30, through Sunday, Oct. 2.

Ticketholders will be contacted shortly by the festival staff.


Tents line Duke of Gloucester Street during An Occasion for the Arts. (WYDaily file)

WILLIAMSBURG — An Occasion for the Arts (AOFTA) will return to Williamsburg’s Merchant Square on Oct. 1-2, celebrating the work of elite artists from around the nation alongside music, performances and cultural events.

(Courtesy of An Occasion for the Arts)

More than 150 artists from 22 states representing every thinkable medium will showcase their work at the festival, according to AOFTA.

The event runs from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on both weekend days.

Some of the featured art includes:

  • Child-like nostalgic paintings from Lisa Arkus
  • The woodworks of Williamsburg favorite Will Bellucci
  • Leather goods from Marvin and Bonnie Bower
  • The whimsical-yet-functional ceramic collection from Ruchi Gupta
  • Hand-sculpted sterling silver jewelry from Carol Korte.

According to AOFTA, jeweler Martin Taber’s collection will appeal to William and Mary alumni. His silver cuff bracelet is reminiscent of the iconic bracelets available from the silversmiths at Colonial Williamsburg, and Taber received a license to make an official bracelet complete with the university’s monogram.

AOFTA award-winning artist Joshua Solomon of Norfolk will also be returning with his brilliant blown glass that combines color and pattern, a technique captures the dynamic nature of glass and embraces carving it to show off its lines and texture, according to a press release.

The festival will also feature an interactive component in its community area. Steve Prince, Director of Engagement and Distinguished Artist in Residence at the Muscarelle Museum of Art, will collaborate with locals on a communal quilt. In this multi-year project, the community is encouraged to share its stories using a quilt as a medium by registering for a time slot to create a unique quilt square. The stitched-together squares will be displayed on Duke of Gloucester Street.

There will also be art on display from both public and private school children in the area. Live entertainment will also be featured, including Williamsburg Youth Harp, Fife & Drums, Virginia Regional Ballet, magician William the Conjurer and more, with nearly all the groups performing being local.

“We are supporting music and cultural events that are part of Williamsburg life,” said Robin Markowitz, the festival’s Executive Director. “We have returned to having a second stage, which will be geared to entertaining more youth-oriented audiences.”

This year the festival has expanded to include a ticketed preview, “An Evening for the Arts” on Friday, Sept. 30, though the festival itself remains free to the public.

“An Evening for the Arts,” will allow attendees to look at and purchase art before it is opened to the public the next day, mingle with artists, and enjoy music — with all proceeds going to a new Artist-in-Residence program for James City County/Williamsburg Public Schools.

“We are excited to expand our footprint with this special preview night,” said Nancy Wigley, President of the AOFTA Board of Directors. “We feel it is time for AOFTA to be more than just one fabulous weekend each year, to be a larger part of the community.”

For a full schedule for the “An Occasion for the Arts” festival, visit the official website. Tickets for “An Evening for the Arts” can also be purchased online.

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