BG’s Main Street transformed into art show


BG Independent News

Hardly five hours after the sound of Dwayne Dopsie’s accordion stopped reverbing around the Main Stage area, and throughout the city, dozens of volunteers were back downtown getting ready for the opening of the art show, and the second day of the Black Swamp Arts Festival.

The Dawn Patrol, so dubbed by the late Bill Hann, a retired Air Force officer, had reported for duty. Their mission was to transform Main Street into a vibrant arts village. This begins well before dawn and continues until the art shows are ready to open at 10 a.m.

There’s an air of anticipation as the metal framework of tents go up, top with roofs, and the sides. Stacked among these are carefully packed arts and crafts, just waiting to be displayed.

It’s an art in and of itself the way the exhibitors packed their vehicles, knowing what they need to have out and up, before boxes are removed. It’s a puzzle that must be disassembled and then put together again in an entirely different form. There are numerous details to take care of – where to park when the unpacking is done, where to get coffee, where to find a rest room.

Volunteers are there to show the way, intent on maintaining the festival’s reputation for treating artists well. Coffee was being delivered.

Roaming through the art show in progress, I find many familiar faces from previous shows. Always happy to see them back, and to stop and briefly chat before they set back to the task at hand.

A street that’s empty at 5, by 6 is a bustle of activity, and by 8 the outline has been largely filled in. Jewelry, jackets, pottery, woodwork, now appear on the shelves and on the fabric walls.

Some of the artists have other things on their minds. Several from Florida were concerned about their homes and family as Hurricane Irma was bearing down on the Sunshine State.

Brenda Baker, who chairs the visual arts committee, said Friday morning on WGGU-FM’s “The Morning Show with Clint Corpe” that the festival had several last minute cancellations related both to the impending storm as well as Hurricane Harvey which devastated parts of Texas and Louisiana.

Certainly a hurricane puts the minor discomfort of temperatures in the upper 40s in perspective.

The festival hosts three distinct art shows.

The juried art show has 108 artists from around the country. The Wood County Invitational has 50 booths. The invitational was created to insure there’s a place for local exhibitors. To enter they must be from a 30-mile radius of Bowling Green.

And across Clough Street, the various art clubs from Bowling Green State University set up shop to sell their wares. It provides experience in selling their work for young artists, though the first person on the scene was Lou Krueger. The professor emeritus of photography at the School of Artist is back in the studio studying glass, and has pieces to sell.

The art show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 11a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.