Local artists and community members will gather in Mint Hill for the eighth annual Sunday Afternoon in the Park arts festival Aug. 26.
The free event runs from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Mint Hill Park on Wilgrove, 5233 Wilgrove-Mint Hill Road.
The festival gives local artists of all kinds – painters, sculptors, musicians and more – the opportunity to showcase their work to the public, and gives community members the chance to meet the artists and purchase some of their work.
Each year, an average of 40 to 50 artists are stationed throughout Wilgrove Park with displays of their artwork. There are 43 artists signed up now to participate and festival organizers will continue to accept applications through Aug. 20.
Painter Judy Mizell has participated in Sunday Afternoon in the Park since its beginning. Mizell, who specializes in watercolor portraits and teaches watercolor painting to aspiring artists, looks forward to the festival each year.
“It’s not like Mint Hill Madness,” she said. “It’s focusing more on the arts. It’s a nice setting and something good for the community.”
For artist Rachel Hoover, who specializes in ceramics and pottery, it’s an opportunity to not only showcase her work, but also give community members items they can use. Hoover creates a lot of functional art pieces, such as coffee cups, that aren’t made to just sit on a shelf.
“People like that it can be functional and art at the same time,” Hoover said. “They can interact with this. It’s not just a painting just hanging on the wall.”
Sunday Afternoon in the Park grew out of a study conducted in 2005 that revealed many artists were living in Mint Hill, but few had good opportunities to showcase their work.
“We just decided to do something that would enable local artists to have a place where they could showcase what they could do to the public,” said Tina Ross, a Mint Hill commissioner who helps organize the event each year.
Wilgrove Park’s wide, walkable trails and scenic atmosphere are what inspired the town to choose to hold the event at the park.
“Wilgrove Park is the perfect venue for (the festival),” Ross said. “We feel like it’s a really good spot.”
A painter of nature, Mizell also loves that the festival is held in Wilgrove Park.
“I get my inspiration from nature. I’ve always loved the outdoors, loved birds and flowers,” she said. “I get a great deal of enjoyment out of my garden (and) it provides a lot of inspiration for me, so I thought (Wilgrove Park) was a wonderful venue for having an art festival.”
“The venue is really pretty,” she said. “There’s a lovely path all around (and) all the people get a chance to walk around and really see the artwork and appreciate it on a different level.”
Local food vendors will also be on site selling concessions, such as hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream, slushies and funnel cakes. Families can bring their children and pets to stroll through the park, look at the artwork, talk to the artists and vendors, listen to live music and bring their own lawn chairs to kick back and relax.
Like every year, Ross is hoping for good weather – the event goes on rain or shine.
“I hope that people will shop and support the artists and that they leave feeling pleased with the artists,” she said.