Two years ago the Fountain Square Art Council merged their three biggest events, Masterpiece in a Day, Fountain Square Art Fair, and the Fountain Square Art Parade and brought one big colorful festival to the neighborhood. On Sept. 19, Fountain Square put on their second annual festival, bringing creators of the arts and music together.
“We just want people to have a good time and for the artists to have a good day,” Rene Fox, Director of the Fountain Square Art Council, said. “We want to create something positive in the neighborhood.”
Fox, who has been on the council for the past five years, wants the festival to appeal to everyone’s tastes. With four art and music stations for kids, a different genre of music playing on each street, and every kind of artist an attendee may be searching for, the people of the Fountain Square Art Festival were sure to have a good time throughout the day.
The council is partnered with a nonprofit organization, Playing For Change, who brought musicians to the festival. Bruce Lampe, member of the organization introduced bands as they appeared on the main stage.
“This is one of the biggest Playing For Change days,” Lampe said. “We were able to get a wide variety of music today. We have African drummers, ukulele and guitar, brass bands and rock bands.”
Though some musicians played amongst the tents of artists, they all carried orange buckets for donations. Since each musician plays for free, the tips and donations they receive go towards music schools, teachers, and instruments in impoverished areas nationwide to spread peace through music.
While the morning started out with a few showers, the day went on to be lovely, with a high of 72° F. The clouds floated through the sky to give everyone in Fountain Square just the right amount of sunshine and shade. Patrons browsed the 75 tents that filled the streets, looking for their next piece of home décor and accessory.
Kids were able to play their own tunes in an interactive music bus or take a canvas painting class. Other children had something different in mind and chose to take a dip in the fountain, playing on its rocks to cool off from the beaming sun.
A clown had appeared on Fountain Square during the day to entertain the kids and even some of the adults.
“I can make myself disappear,” he said. The kids begged to be shown and the adults became quite intrigued themselves. “Close your eyes… Now open them! See, I disappeared.”
The young kids gawked in amazement as older onlookers chuckled at their naivety. Also on the square was a gentle Great Dane being painted by a few children who seem to be having the time of their lives.
“That’s the biggest dog I’ve ever seen!” a young girl shouted with excitement, waiting for her turn to paint the Dane.
“It’s a puppy,”a teenager said. The owner clarified that the Dane was only ten months old, which put everyone who was circled around the pup in awe. Each person became more anxious to express their love for the arts and the Dane.
Fountain Square hosts artists from painters, to potters, and homemade card designers to guitar builders. Luisanna Rodriguez displayed her custom-made bowties on books and racks while raising money for Saint Jude’s Hospital.
“I made a bow for my boss and everyone loved it,” she said, explaining how her newly found business, Luey Bows, has only been around for a few weeks. Rodriguez, with the help of her partner, Paul Levy, worked to make their very first event a successful one.
Amy Hucks and her wife Jennifer Beavers of 2 Gals in a Clubhouse have a special knack at creating fall necessities. They were excited to be at the Art Fair for a second year and to show customers just how wonderful autumn, ghouls, and pumpkins can be.
Hucks’ specialty lies with polymer clay.
“The first thing I ever made with clay was a little zombie finger,” she said and smiled, seeming to reminisce on the art project, while showing off all the little clay hands she had made.
Beavers’ spins her own yarn instead of playing with clay, by taking apart old sweaters and alpaca.
“She’ll be spinning while watching a Harry Potter marathon,” Hucks chuckled while Beavers began rearranging her knitted hats.
Included in their tent were also repurposed and rebound books, homemade reefs, and recycled plastics made into brand new handbags all styled for fall.
Anyone who has a love for old vinyl and vintage books will enjoy everything that Laura McPhee has to offer. Writer by trade, McPhee has found a new creative hobby, Lockerbie Books, to make a profit while she finishes up a book project.
Just over a year ago, she began visiting old libraries, garage sales, and Goodwills to find beat-up books and vinyl covers. After her scavenger hunts McPhee repurposes the treasures into bookmarks and one-of-a-kind notebooks.
“I like to combine my artistic and environmental interests,” McPhee said. “I was going through records at a Goodwill a year ago and thought there has to be something to do with the covers. The artwork is too great.”
Customers picked through Elvis notebooks, Genesis notebooks, and even a soundtracks to old Disney movies such as the “Aristocats,” to name a few. As they flew off the shelves, McPhee would find even more rare notebooks in her collection to set on display waiting for the next patron to grab.
“In the next year or two I want a small bookstore that specializes in vintage books from Indianapolis,” she explained. “I want my notebooks to be part of the store.”
McPhee brings her books to Fountain Square for Lockerbie Book’s very first event, planning to make the business grow.
As the day ended, attendees stayed around listening to the last of Playing For Change’s musicians. Artists quickly closed shop, conversing amongst each other about the day’s events before the sun went down any further.
A neighborhood full of culture and local pride has successfully completed its second art festival and is already setting its eyes on renewing this annual event, Art Squared, for its third year in a row.