Throughout history, art has defined culture. Art exhibited the grandeur of empires and kingdoms, depicting their great struggles and triumphs. Art evolved over time through different techniques and perspectives. Art brought people together and encouraged community.
Four years ago, Arik Bjorn and Forest Whitlark spawned an idea to create an artistic festival that would bring the community together to celebrate local artists’ work, and so the Rosewood Arts Festival was born. “Our intent from day one has been to create a family-friendly, easily accessible arts festival, which is why we don’t charge admission and only charge a nominal fee for booth,” Bjorn says.
For many local artists, fees play a great deal into whether or not they can afford to showcase their work in festivals such as this one. Fortunately, the low fees and the wonderful time of year creates the perfect environment for this festival.
“He [Bjorn] told me about it and I immediately thought it was a great opportunity for me to share my creations. It’s the perfect time of year to be outside among so many talented folks from all creative outlets,” local painter Justice Littlejohn says. “I am looking forward to being surrounded by so much creative energy and hopefully meeting some new friends.”
With over 100 different artists being featured in this festival, tremendous diversity is featured in the artwork. Artist Sean McGuinness, or That Godzilla Guy, adds an eccentric twist to his photography by featuring Godzilla in his work. “My artwork is very eclectic, but it is also focused, unique, and enthusiastic. I bring art appreciation through Godzillafication. Whereas other artists use charcoal or paint, I use photography and toys,” McGuinness says.
As art shapes and influences the community, the community also shapes and influences art. Local photographer Charles Hite only began taking photos seriously around 2009 and gained an appreciation for the world around him. “Although I’ve seen a lot of changes around here, I’ve been guilty of rushing by things, not paying attention or taking things for granted. In the last 20 years or so, I’ve come to deeply realize we have beauty all around us, and I have a greater appreciation and contentment of my surroundings,” Hite says. “I hope my photos will encourage people to take a pause, become curious and go out, and experience some of the beautiful and interesting places we have here in the Midlands and across our beautiful state.”
While some artists have hopes of prompting the community to be more involved or influencing the way they view their lives, painter Abstract Alexandra has simpler goals. “I hope my art will bring a bit of color and joy that others may hang on their wall and enjoy for years to come,” Alexandra says.
The festival is cohosted by Rockaways Athletic Club and the Trenholm Artists Guild and will be held at Rockaways (2719 Rosewood Drive) on September 20 from 10 am to 6 pm. In its fourth consecutive year, the festival has more than doubled its featured artists, making more art directly available to the public while also allowing artists to put themselves out there. Come on out to experience some color, live music, and great food!