Art in the Park will celebrate its 61st anniversary this year, with a gathering of 84 artists from around New England under tents exhibiting and selling their work this Saturday, Aug. 31, and Sunday, Sept. 1, at Ashuelot River Park on West Street in Keene.
The Monadnock Area Artists Association hosts the event, which represents a wide variety of styles and media including sculpture, glass, pen and ink, photography, pencil, mixed media, charcoal, pastel and painting (oil, acrylic and watercolor). Each artist will set up a booth in the park and will showcase their original artwork as well as products featuring that work including prints, cards, mugs and calendars. Some will offer demonstrations of their technique during the two-day event.
The event — which used to be held on one day — has blossomed considerably since its first year, when a group of about a dozen artists showed work at what was called The Art Festival. It was in Central Square in Keene, and artists hung their paintings around the common on temporary wooden fencing provided by the city.
Among the new artists who will be under the tents this year are Carmen Verdi of Nashua, who began doing drawings in pencil as an escape when he served three months in a Massachusetts correctional facility 15 years ago (he was falsely accused and released). He began doing portraits for inmates for $5 apiece. Also the owner of Verdi Interiors, he creates figurative drawings, portraits and landscapes from thousands of lines, including straight lines he does free-hand without the use of a ruler.
Returning to the event for the second year are artists John Marmonti (also of Nashua), who will display his patriotic oil paintings, a compilation of several sources of references from his photos, sketches and imagination; Marlow resident and watercolor artist Stephanie Tickner; and Thom Cassotta of Northampton, Mass., who creates panoramic two-dimensional mixed media pieces using his own textured papers and acrylics applied onto faux painted wood.
Glass artist Jocelyn Brown of Peterborough will return for the fourth year to Art in the Park. Also an instructor at Terrapin Glassblowing Studio in Jaffrey (owned and operated by tour participant Dominique Caissie) and Fiamma Glass Studio in Waltham, Mass., she is especially inspired by organic patterns, both realistic and abstract.
Her recent focus has been on making furnace-sculpted large-scale feathers from glass, many framed in birch wood from the farm property on which she lives that abuts conservation trails. For Brown, making art is a way to express herself in connection with grief and spiritual life.
She practices reiki for self-healing and infuses it into her work with intentions of joy, beauty and gratitude for those who appreciate her art. She’ll be showing a figurative sculpture titled “She” at Art in the Park which she created some time ago but refurbished to live outdoors.
Established Art in the Park favorites returning this year are bucolic painter of light Mary Iselin of Marlborough, metal sculptor Robert Taylor of Alstead and watercolor artist Jeanne Maguire Thieme of Swanzey.
Prizes will be awarded to artists for first, second and third place and honorable mention. This year, judges will evaluate work for such qualities as originality, innovation and vitality.
There will be an art raffle to support the Monadnock Area Artists Association scholarship fund for a Keene High School student pursuing continuing education in the arts (the association’s only fundraiser) and grilled food and baked goods prepared by the Keene High School Interact Club and tennis team. Frozen sweet treats will be available for sale from Island Cow Ice Cream and Frisky Cow Gelato.
The raffle is for visitors to win a piece of art of their choosing. This year for the first time there will be two — one each day of the event with winners drawn at 3:45 p.m. Each artist selects the piece of art to be raffled.
Keene High School students will once again display their work inside the main tent this year (winners will be awarded) as will members of the Keene Photography Club. The Monadnock Woodwind Quintet will play Saturday at 1 p.m.
The 61st annual Art in the Park is this Saturday, Aug. 31, and Sunday, Sept. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Admission to the event is free and the park is handicap accessible. Visit
monadnockareaartists.org for more information.