A sunny Memorial Day Weekend commenced the 26th Annual Moab Arts Festival at Swanny City Park. The event featured a kid’s tent, live music, beer and wine garden, food vendors and original art from over 100 different artisans.
Metal works, pottery, wood carvings, fiber art, jewelry, paintings, sculptures, clothing, and ornaments were just a few examples of the art pieces that could be purchased by festival-goers.
Margie Lopez-Read headed the Art Gallery for Kids, a unique feature of the festival in which kids were able to become patrons of art. “I think it gives them an opportunity to look at art differently, they’re able to ‘buy’ a donated piece and take it home,” Lopez-Read said. In order to keep the art, kids had to tell her what appealed to them most about the piece -- whether it be composition, color, subject or ‘because it looks pretty.’ By noon, many of the art pieces were already taken home by excited children.
Tony Savarese, a local Moab artist, set up a home-built plywood structure for kids of all ages to paint on. “The purpose is to let kids explore their imaginations, get interested in art and have fun,” Savarese said. “It’s important to have a good relationship with art at a young age. We’re already on our fifth layer of paint from the kids.”
Holly Dinsmore set up a popular station to teach kids how to create their own tye-dye creations. All shirts used at the station were donated by WabiSabi Thrift Store, a nonprofit organization in Moab.
The kids’ area also featured newspaper art with Canyonlands Field Institute, pony rides courtesy of Canyonlands PRCA Rodeo volunteers and a magic show with Rick Boretti.
Many artists were happy to be at the festival and to support upcoming artists.
Victoria White Eagle is a veteran of the Moab Arts Festival and since 1998, has been developing a healing line of products to help people rid negative energy in their lives. “The festival is a great event for crafters, businesses and emerging artists,” White Eagle said. “I love that Theresa [King] has found a way to support the artists. There’s some very high-end and really cool art here.” White Eagle herself is a native healer and uses reiki therapy to help create her own line of smudging candles, sprays and incense for aromatherapy.
Jess Raap-Johnson, owner of LoveWorks Tie-Dye Creations, was surrounded by her hand-dyed colorful, wearable clothes in her tent. “This is an awesome event. I always tell people to come check out the festival -- it’s full of beautiful art!” said Rapp-Johnson. “This is the second year I’ve had a booth here.” She creates tie-dye shirts, tank-tops, baby onesies, skirts, bags, scarves bandanas and more. “I hope to put good energy out in the world with my wearable art.”
This is the third year the Moab Arts Festival has featured a beer and wine garden. Guests aged 21 and over could taste local beverages from Castle Creek Winery, Spanish Valley Winery and Moab Brewery. “This is a nice venue with good music and great beer,” said Michael Miller, assistant operations manager of Moab Brewery.
A colorful line-up of live blues music could be heard throughout the day. Melissa Schmaedick, the music organizer for the festival, was able to curate many talented artists to perform at the festival. Local resident Dalton Snow said, “I could only stop here during my lunch break, but the musicians playing right now are so good,” he said in reference to Oskar and Julia, a duo who harmonically sing their folk-inspired original music together.