The kids are back to school, but summer traditions are still in full swing including the 56th annual Evergreen Fine Arts Festival, happening Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, August 28 from 10 am to 5 pm at Buchanan Park, adjacent to the rec center. This yearly arts celebration is always an exciting event for both art lovers from far and wide, and local families looking for a weekend of beautiful vendors, live music and children’s activities.
“The Evergreen community is changing—it’s growing—and we are reenergized,” says Julie Sims, a local jewelry designer and director of the Evergreen Fine Arts Festival. Inspired by new developments in the mountain area neighborhoods, the arts festival has reinvented itself for 2022, featuring a new, exciting musical line-up and many new arts and culinary vendors.
“Our concert line-up, curated by local musician Andy Potter, is all local bands still. Some of these bands are bringing an incredible energy to the event, and it’s a new touch to the festival,” Sims adds. The music will still play into the relaxing atmosphere this festival is known for. The set lists for the whole weekend include Andy Potter himself, as well as other well-known local artists such as Drew Dvorchak, Mark Swaim and El Javi on Saturday; A Dam Duo, Family Recipe, and 2022 Evergreen’s Got Talent winners May Be Fern and Pennies on the Track on Sunday.
This year, the Evergreen Artists Association board refreshed not only the musical line-up, but the festival’s art offerings as well. “We’ve had a handful of artists retire over the last couple of years, and we are excited for the new artists coming in,” explains Sims. The Evergreen Artists Association selects the participating artists through a jury process earlier in the year. “We had applicants from all over the nation bringing in different styles and different mediums.” Each artistic category is represented by a juror who is a specialist in that field, so the artists selected are masters of their craft, and festival attendees can look forward to excellent exhibitions.
To make a selection, “the jury looks for challenging techniques, the ways in which artists set themselves apart, and how they are giving the medium new life. Of course we look for high-quality work, and that’s why we rely on our specialists to select the artists in each category,” Sims says. The decision-makers also include art educators to consider the principles of fine arts, looking beyond the final pieces to consider and understand the artistic meaning and technique behind the work. “This really gives our arts festival a level up,” Sims continues, “and it appeals to people looking for all types of art.” Not only does the fine arts festival offer a broad range of styles and mediums, but art is available for sale across the price range spectrum making beautiful work accessible to seasoned and novice buyers.
The Evergreen Artists Association places a strong emphasis on the quality of the exhibitions to encourage art appreciation, not only for its beauty, but for the skill and hard work that goes into making art. Proceeds from the Evergreen Fine Arts Festival are used toward a scholarship program for high schoolers going on to study visual art after graduation, and for adult artists in need of additional funding for their work. “Community artists can apply for funds for supplies, continued education or whatever else may help them pursue their art career a little more,” Sims states.
“We are a nonprofit association,” says Sims, “and our proceeds go to grants and scholarships in the community. The arts festival has always been our most successful event and we like to keep the money in our community by encouraging artists’ careers, no matter what stage of their artistic journey they are in. We love awarding local artists with these grants and scholarships. This year’s High School Scholarship recipient, Kaitlyn Ginter, will be attending the Savannah College of Art and Design.” Whether an expert art collector or a young family passing a fun weekend afternoon, all festival attendees will be contributing toward the great artwork born in our lovely mountain community.
“Local art educators can also apply for the school grant, which helps to fund the increasingly low school art budgets our teachers have to work with,” adds Sims. “This grant is very important as it helps our teachers increase the art experience for young artists, in a developmental time of their artistic careers.” Sims explains that art teaches skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving—skills necessary for everyday life. “I received the school grant from the Evergreen Artists Association for repairs to a kiln we have in our department,” said Laura Svigel, art teacher at Conifer High School. “This helped me add another technique I could teach my students to further their knowledge and interest in ceramics.”
Aside from great musical talent and artwork on display, the Evergreen Fine Arts Festival has much to offer in the way of entertainment. There will be many eateries present for refreshments, including High Society Pizza, Rocky Mountain Lemonshakers, Rocky Mountain Wraps, Keyes Concessions, Slife’s Devil Dogs & Sweet Freeze Shave Ice, and Grammie’s Goodies.
Children will love spending time at the arts and crafts area set up just for kids. This year, the kids tent will feature face painting by the National Arts Honor Society Students of Conifer High School, drawing with sand, and everyone’s favorite, Kindness Rocks as a make-and-take activity.
“New this year, we also have an art contest for the elementary students,” Sims says. “We want to encourage our younger artists to participate in this coloring contest by printing out the PDF ahead of time and submitting it to the Kids Tent the weekend of the festival.” Families can find the coloring page at evergreenfineartsfestival.com, and the winner will be selected by jury and determined by 4 pm Sunday at the festival. “The winning submission will be printed in our upcoming festival promotions, and the elementary school of the winning artist will receive a $100 grant for their school’s art program.” Winners’ parents will be notified via email and the school will be notified by the festival board.
If you’re looking to attend the Fine Arts Festival on Saturday or Sunday, visit evergreenfineartsfestival.com for parking maps, event schedules and other pertinent details about the weekends’ festivities. On the website, you can also learn more about the scholarship program and its previous awardees. Make plans for a fun-filled day of high-quality art, exciting local music and food, and the best of summertime in beautiful Evergreen.