Octagon Art Festival attracts 100 artists

Patty Clark

The Octagon Center for the Arts had its 43rd Annual Octagon Art Festival last Sunday, Sept. 22. 

The festival had more than 100 artists participate, 36 of which were new artists participating. The Best of Show Boot Award went to Mary Obermeyer from Quinton, Va. Obermeyer is a designer and owner of the company called Greystone Products Company where she creates computer chip jewelry and theme clocks all out of recycled materials. 

Rose Rutherford was a first-time participant in the art festival where she displayed her jewelry and mixed media art.

“The event atmosphere is always uplifting to be with other artists and customers,” Rutherford said. She is an artist and designer in her company called Nature’s Harmony where she creates fine jewelry, accessories and mixed media. Rutherford shows her work at galleries in Maui; Santa Fe, N.M.; and in Omaha, Ned.

“My work is inspired by nature so being outdoors is always a good thing for me,” Rutherford said.

Rutherford’s kindergarten teacher still uses one of her paintings as an example for her students.

“I started making jewelry and mixed media art when I was very young. It doesn’t get any better than that,” Rutherford said. “My jewelry skills have come from professions instruction and unusual places.”

Rutherford was originally in the medical field for 30 years, and she learned, “a lot about metal and manipulation from medical equipment.” She also said that her father was a carpenter and lathe worker and “being with him in his work shop was priceless.” Rutherford said her studio is nothing your typical jewelers branch. 

The festival also consisted of many volunteers helping out in all aspects.

“Without volunteer support for an event like the festival, the Octagon would not be able to operate,” said Heather Johnson, executive director at the Octagon Center for the Arts. “Volunteering at the Octagon or other local non-profits is a great way for students to get involved with the community and make a positive impact!”

The Octagon Center for the Arts has many opportunities for students to volunteer and will work with each student to accommodate their interests.

“There are various volunteer opportunities such as gallery monitors, assisting exhibit’s manager with installation art exhibits, assisting with kids classes or fun events such as the upcoming Festival of Trees on display at the Octagon from Nov. 15 to Dec. 1,” Johnson said.

For students who would like to apply to participate in next year’s festival there is a jury process to get accepted and competitive. She also suggested to students who would like to apply to keep their best work with them.

“Have great images of their artwork. Most festivals require four images of their artwork and one image of a booth setup. I’ve seen many artists not get accepted due to poor images that have bad lighting or distracting backgrounds,” Johnson said.

For more information regarding volunteer opportunities, applications, or events and classes contact the Octagon Center for the Arts