The Lubeznik Center for the Arts celebrated its 36th Annual Arts & Artisans Festival this weekend, continuing their mission of making art more accessible by working to connect artists and artisans from around the country with patrons who appreciate fine art and craftsmanship.
This years festival features nearly 80 booths, each exhibiting and offering their artwork for sale to visitors, all while making the best artwork anywhere available to Michigan City residents and visitors from neighboring states.
Offering more than just an art fair, the festival features food and fun, with hula-hoop lessons and origami projects. Visitors can satisfy their appetites with a tasty and delicious array of foods for all tastes from Shoreline Brewery, 100 Washington, Hero’s Hot Dogs, and Cabo’s Ice Cream. The Hyndman Gallery inside the center will play host to an evening of live music, with the very best musicians from year-long open mic events performing.
Amy Davis Navardauskas, Marketing Director for Lubeznik Center for the Arts, expects a high turnout for the event.
“We’re hoping to hit 5,000 visitors, and with the great weather this weekend, I’m sure we’ll hit that mark,” said Navardauskas.
Navardauskas is happy with the growth in the arts for the area, and feels that the Center has helped spearhead that momentum.
“We’ve been in this community for forty years. During the last ten to fifteen years, we’ve begun doing outreach programs, and developed several partnerships within the community,” Navardauskas said. “We feel like we’ve been part of making this happen, as well. We’re also very fortunate that the city here has embraced the arts as a method to drive the local economy, and has encouraged other local artists and galleries.”
“We are proud to be able to provide exposure and art instruction to local students. It’s very important for children to have an outlet, a means to express themselves while they’re trying to learn.”
Though in its 36th year, this is only the second year that the event has been held on the grounds of the Lubeznik Center. The festival in previous years was held on the beach in Michigan City.
“We felt it was really important for us to bring the Arts & Artisan Festival here to the Center,” said Janet Bloch, Executive Director for the Lubeznik Center. “That was kind of a bold move. The festival had worked really well at the beach for years, but we found that many people going to the festival had never actually been here to the Center, and we wanted to change that, to connect the event with what we have going on right here at the Center. This brings visibility to the Center here.”
Bloch says that this year’s festival was crafted to meet the needs of the artists in the community.
“We hope to offer an exciting festival, and we want to present a festival that meets people’s needs. People seem happy with the event this year, but we will again listen and work to offer what people want.
The Art & Artisan Festival is the second-largest fundraising event of the year for the Lubeznik Center, and proceeds raised are invested back into the community to support educational and outreach programs that LCA provides year-round.
“We’re solely funded by donations, grants and memberships,” said Bloch. “Events like this help us to continue with our school programs.”
This year’s festival was judged, with $3,000 in cash awarded to participating artists at the event. First Place overall went to Chris Plummer from Henderson, Kentucky.
“This is my fourth year here,” said Plummer. “The quality of the artists keeps getting better and better. As a full-time artist, I rely on festivals like this, it’s how I make most of my money.”
Plummer’s favorite pieces to do are his woodcuts, which are prints made by carving designs out of plywood, then using that to make the prints.
Erin Bailey was admiring some particularly attractive prints in one of the many vendor booths nearby, along with her mother, Laura Conroy, of La Porte.
“We actually came here to the fair a couple years ago,” Bailey explained. “One of my mother’s coworkers was showing her work here and we came to check it out. That was the first art fair we ever went to and now it’s become a regular thing for us.”
Bailey says that she likes the variety of unique and affordable items available at the fair.
“I like seeing some new, up-and-coming artists here. I’m considering buying my own house soon, and I want to fill it with unique pieces. I like being able to do that here, instead of shopping in a big retail outlet of online.”
“I still have a piece that I bought at that very first fair,” said Conroy. “It’s hanging in my dining room. It reminds me of a happy time with my daughters and that’s very special to me.”
This year’s event runs August 19th & 20th, from 10-5. Admission is just $5 at the gate. LCA members, children 16 and younger and active military with ID get in free. There are also a total of 40 tickets available to provide free admission to veterans. Those tickets are available at the gate on a first-come basis. Parking and shuttle service is available from both the Blue Chip casino and Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets parking lots.
For more information about the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, visit them online at www.lubeznikcenter.org.