2017 Art in the Park

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COLUMBIA - This year, Art in Park exhibited work from 105 national and local artists at Stephens Lake Park. 

"It's really a nice mixture of people," said Diana Moxon, executive director of the Columbia Art League. The event expects to receive around 13 thousand visitors by the end of the show. 

Moxon said that no two years are alike.

"Every year we have different artists that come. This year we had 36 artists that have never been here before, brand new to the festival. We also have five art installations, which we commission the artists to create those installations specially for the event," she said.

Yukari Kashihara, local artist from Rocheport, said she has been coming to exhibit her work for the past six years.

"It's a good art show outdoors in a beautiful place. And I see so many customers, and friends, and it's a good environment and wonderful volunteers. So, they are the reason why I come back here," Kashihara said.

Kashihara sells pottery with nature inspired decoration. Her passion for art started while she was a student at the University of Missouri. Her decorations come from her love of nature and the trips she takes with her husband. 

Events like this allow artists like Kashihara to show their passion, and let the public know that art goes beyond paint on a canvas.

"I think an event like Art in the Park engages the public in a way that walking into a gallery doesn't do. So, it lets people understand that art is for everybody," Moxon said. "Art isn't just paintings in a gallery, that art is a photo show, what you drink your coffee out off, a wooden spoon, garden art, jewelry and it's everything. There really is something for everybody." 

Roger Mathews, an artist from Wichita, Kansas, works with metals, glass and pottery for over 44 years. He said he came to Art in the Park because of the welcoming environment.

"I do about 20 to 25 national shows a year. When I called, I had a question about this show. I talked to this incredibly pleasant speaking person on the phone, she was the director of the show," he said. "And I decided, 'I don't care how this show is like, I wanna do this show because this are some pleasant people. And like, other shows I do, don't have that kinda of personality." 

Moxon said coming out and supporting the artists and their work is what drives this festival.

"Art in the Park is not necessarily a given. It's a huge amount of work that goes into making it happen. But it's also a very competitive world. The same weekend as art in the Park, the artists that are here could be in multiple other locations, other festivals," she said. "And so the fact that they chose us for the weekend is something that I always really wan't to say thank you to the artists for. And the way we as a community can say thank you is to come out and show up for the art. Because if they don't make enough money, next year they go to another festival." 

Mathews said he sold six of his glass sculptures and countless number of jewelry.

"We had an incredible show. So, I am very thankful to have been here. Thankful to have the hospitality you guys offer, and thankful you for the pattens that made this a successful weekend for me," Mathews said.

The festival ends at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 4.