Artists relish opportunity at Main St.

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Canadian artist Marjolyn van der Hart drove 24 hours to display her paintings at the Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival.
But Fort Worth residents only have to drive a few minutes to see her work and hundreds of other displays.
Artists at the Main St. Arts Festival say they relish the opportunity to have their pieces of art displayed in the annual Fort Worth tradition.
“It’s one of the most competitive [festivals] to get into in the U.S.,” said Hart, 50, of Toronto.  “The gatekeeping is quite strict to get in.”
Hart said she started off as an impressionist painter but gradually started introducing multimedia elements into her work.
Using imagery from the 1950s and an impressionistic emphasis on the individual moment, she said a lot of her work explores connections between men and women.  She said this year is her second time at the festival.
Around 1,400 artists apply to be featured in this year’s show. Only 215 made the cut.  Some of them, like Jorge Narey Fernandez, made it for the very first time.
“I thank [the festival’s organizers] for giving emerging artists, such as myself, this opportunity,” said Fernandez, 30, of Arlington.
His display of paintings was grouped with other emerging artists who were in their first major arts festival, including at the Main St. Arts Festival.
“Every other festival you have to be established and have a booth, which I didn’t have,” he said, motioning to the white tent over his artwork. “I had to rent the booth.”
Jorge Narey Fernandez, 30, talks about his painting style at the Main Street Arts Festival on Friday, April 10, 2015.
Jorge Narey Fernandez, 30, talks about his painting style at the Main Street Arts Festival on Friday, April 10, 2015.

Fernandez has traveled several times to Europe, inspiring much of his work on display. He recently did a 45-day backpacking trip throughout Europe.
“I really like Venice,” Fernandez said. “It’s my favorite place in the world and most of my paintings are from Venice.”
Fernandez said he visited other, less well-known, places throughout Europe and tried to capture their essence in his paintings.
“Don’t be a tourist, be a traveler,” he said.
Sculptor Robert Wilhelm, 61, said the Main St. Arts Festival is a great festival, for seasoned artists and newcomers alike.
Robert Wilhelm, a sculptor from Portland, Ore., talks with a customer about his pepper mills.  This is his second Main Street Arts Festival.
Robert Wilhelm, a sculptor from Portland, Ore., talks with a customer about his pepper mills. This is his second Main St. Arts Festival.

“People are very supportive of this show and I know we’re not even at Saturday yet,” Wilhelm said, referencing the festival’s historical popularity on Saturdays and Sundays.
“We’ve been lucky with the weather. So far,” he added, laughing.
Daniel Salazar is the executive editor for The 109.  Email him at daniel.j.salazar@tcu.edu and follow him on Twitter at @imdanielsalazar.
Kaitlin Helm is the life and culture editor for The 109. Email her at k.g.helm@tcu.edu.