No matter which side of the booth they’re on, MAC ArtFest marks the beginning of summer for both artists and art fans.
For those who live in the Inland Northwest, it’s one of the first chances to spend the day outside enjoying a variety of art, music and food.
For artists who show at a number of summer art fairs, MAC ArtFest, Friday through Sunday at Coeur d’Alene Park in Browne’s Addition, is one of the first stops of the season.
And it’s been that way for more than 30 years.
Now in its 34th year, MAC ArtFest is a juried art fair that features more than 150 creators. Many are local or regional, with some artists traveling from California and Colorado.
Each year features new artists, but many return time and time again.
“They love coming to ArtFest because we’re located in a park,” said Betsy Godlewski, with the development department at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. “Spokane is rated very highly for being hospitable. The people are really friendly.”
As always, MAC ArtFest features work of just about every medium under the sun: ceramics, drawing, fiberglass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, music, painting, photography, printmaking and wood.
Back by popular demand, MAC ArtFest will once again feature cottage crafts artists, including Goldenwood Soap, Juju Gear, Christ Kitchen and Greencastle Soap Company.
“We try to keep in mind all the categories we want to display,” Godlewski said. “We try to keep those categories even so you don’t have too much pottery and not enough woodworking. Every year that mix is different.”
Godlewski is excited to see work by returning artists Melanie Thompson and Paul Nzalamba.
Thompson, a ceramicist from Hood River, Oregon, uses river rocks as the forms for her pottery.
“You get these unusual shapes and the glazes she uses are very brightly colored,” Godlewski said. “She’s one that we love to have come back year after year.”
Nzalamba is a batik artist and printmaker originally from Uganda.
“Each batik tells a story and they are so beautiful,” Godlewski said. “They’re colorful. They’re beautiful and there’s a lot of emotion in the stories he tells. They’re quite joyful.”
She’s also looking forward to checking out work by new artists Laura Koppes, a painter from Tigard, Oregon, who works with acrylics, and Samantha Dankert, a Montana-based leatherworker.
During MAC ArtFest, children can make a piece of art at the Make It Art Kids Fair, and there will be plenty of live music.
On Friday, DJ Nate will kick things off at noon followed by Even Denlinger (3 p.m.), Haley Young and the Bossame (4:30 p.m.), Funky Unkle (6 p.m.) and Justin James (8 p.m.).
On Saturday, Spokane Taiko will perform at 11 a.m. followed by Musha Marimba (noon), Hot Club of Spokane (1 p.m.), Brook Gannon Trio (2:30 p.m.), Tyler Alai (3:30 p.m.), Haley and the Hitchhikers (5 p.m.), Fat Lady (6 p.m.) and Milonga (8 p.m.).
On Sunday, Music Plus presents Ukulele with Bailey at 11 a.m. Nick Grow will perform at noon followed by Vanna Oh! (1 p.m.), Big Red Barn (2 p.m.) and Jenny Kellogg Big Band (3 p.m.).
After working up an appetite browsing the artwork, attendees can grab a bite to eat from one of the many vendors at the festival: Skewers, 3 Ninjas, Mary Lou’s Homemade Ice Cream, Old Fashioned Kettle Corn, Have Beans Will Travel, Mangia Wood Fired Pizza, the Bibby Booth, Mac Daddy’s and Mixed Plate.
There will also be a beer and wine garden featuring beer from No-Li Brewhouse.
What began as a small fair on the MAC campus has since grown to a three-day tradition for many in the Inland Northwest.
Godlewski sees MAC ArtFest as a chance for attendees to support the art community and a chance for the MAC to show Spokane how much it appreciates the support over the years.
“We like it because we get to show off our local and regional artists and their talents and offer something to the community,” she said. “I’m known for doing my Christmas shopping there. It’s the perfect place to find something that is unique and you’re not going to find it again.”
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