The New Art Festival turns 25!

Patterson's Creek Pathway
Art in the Park, 2004, Patterson’s Creek pathway in Central Park in the Glebe. Photo: Bhat Boy

by Chandler Swain

The organizers of The New Art Festival are working hard to get everything ready for a great 25th edition on the weekend of June 10 – 11! We have a super group of participating artists. It’s exciting to include many new artists who are hearing about the quality of the festival and applying from all over Quebec and Ontario. Local food purveyors will be on hand and the Ottawa Art Gallery summer crew will present children’s activities. There is everything you need for a great day out in Central Park in the Glebe during the art festival weekend.

As many people know, the festival was initiated by the Glebe’s own Bhat Boy. Art in The Park, as it was called for its first 15 years, began as a true grassroots festival with local artists joining Bhat in the park for a day of showing their art, playing music, picnicking and generally having a lovely time under the long-gone huge old maple tree in the middle of the lower park. The festival has grown over the years and its reputation as a vibrant community-oriented event has travelled far and wide.

One exhibitor, potter Dale Mark, comes all the way from Burlington, ON as he finds it one of the best summer shows in all of Ontario for the lovely setting, the quality of the work and the great response he gets from visitors. Another artist who keeps returning to the festival is Jacob Rolfe. Currently based in Nova Scotia, Jacob grew up near Central Park and used to hang out at Patterson’s Creek as a teenager in the 1990s. He says it’s always a pleasure to return and spend time in the park under the lovely trees.

Ross Stuart from Amherst, ON builds musician-quality stringed instruments, often using discarded tin cans as resonating chambers. “I look forward to returning to The New Art Festival because I love the park setting and the people who visit over the weekend are eager to participate. The audience is informed, educated, eager to know more and to return home with a new family heirloom.”

We have been delighted to get applications from artists who also participate in the highly regarded Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition held at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto each July. It’s a real treat for Ottawa art fans who come to the festival. There is so much great original art to see and artists to talk to about their work.

We often hear from visitors that they wait to buy a special piece of art until the festival rolls around, as it’s so meaningful to buy from the artists themselves.

So if you have never been to Ottawa’s first and biggest juried fine art and craft festival, do yourself a favour and come to our 25th year celebration!

Chandler Swain is a potter, longtime festival participant and one of The New Art Festival’s organizers.

 New Art festTNAF graphic

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