Artists and art lovers gathered on Sunday for one of Appleton’s great traditions — and in an environment that inspired its own share of creative works.
The 59th annual Art at the Park event drew crowds to Appleton’s City Park on a warm, sunny day for elements that would stimulate the eyes, ears and taste buds. Some were there simply to appreciate while others searched for the right piece or pieces to enhance the beauty of their gardens and living spaces.
About 200 artists from the Fox Valley and across the country displayed and sold their pieces from booths within the park and on the streets that surround it.
Madison Holmes of Kimberly had a few attributes in mind, but no firm plans when arriving at the park.
“I was looking for something abstract, with a lot of color,” she said.
The horse lover found a horse print meeting her criteria in the booth of painter Gretchen Wood.
“This was it,” Holmes said, lifting her purchase.
It was an opportunity to not only find the right pieces, but interact with their creators.
While exhibitors displayed visual pieces, the stage focused on aural art forms.
The day included a full schedule of live music with performers including Tae, jazz from the Harmon Brothers, Megan Slankard and The Belle Weather.
Food trucks and vendors offered a variety of choices while Stone Arch Brewpub added a craft beer selection to the mix.
There was something for everyone.
Some works were intended for yards while others were destined to be living room centerpieces. Booths spanned a full array of media. There were paintings and jewelry, ceramics and leather, sculptors and those who work in fibers. Visitors could find the unique at every turn from night lights crafted from antique beer bottles to bracelets made of antique silverware.
The show featured works that could fit any budget from homemade cards for just a few dollars to paintings and sculptures in the thousands.
The show provided a homecoming for print maker Stanley Leonard. The Appleton native now lives just outside St. Paul, Minn. Art at the Park provided a welcome opportunity to visit friends and family while showing his work.
It’s a show he’d taken in with his mother while growing up, and on Sunday, it was a chance for his mom to do a little boasting.
Leonard provided a little education along with his art. He had a small, antique press at his booth along with the hand-carved wooden blocks used to create the prints.
“People appreciate it a little more when they know the process,” he said.
Autumn Schultz, 16, found the show both daunting and validating.
The Neenah High School student showed her charcoal and pencil work as part of the young artists showcase.
“It’s a unique experience; to be able to have so many people experience your work,” she said.
And it was an affirming experience.
“I’ve been selling quite a few,” she said.