Artists from all across the Atlantic coast gathered for two grand days of Artsfest, an annual festival held at Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center in Solomons, designed to celebrate creativity and craftsmanship in the arts. Hundreds of guests attended Artsfest over the weekend of September 19-20 to enjoy live music, traditional street performers, food vendors, and over 165 artist booths. Artsfest is made possible through donations and sponsorships from local businesses and groups, such as the Arts Council of Calvert County, the Rotary Club of Prince Frederick, and Garner & Duff Flower Shop, among many others.
Music performances were held on both the Main Stage and Council Ring, a small performance space on the garden path. Between the two days, musicians brought their unique interpretations of bluegrass, jazz, blues, and contemporary folk, among other genres, to Solomons. One notable performance by Kaitlyn Likas of The Wild Irish Roses featured fiddling and Irish step. Other popular performances include a 45 minute set by jazz enthusiasts Sax Appeal, the eclectic The Lovejoy Group, and beloved bluegrass band Patuxent Partners.
Artsfest is dedicated each year to providing free opportunities for children to create and discover art. The Discovery Tent, located in the park’s grass meadow, is an interactive art area staffed by Annmarie volunteers. The Discovery Tent gives appreciation to the use of recycled materials to make unique creations. This year, young visitors to the festival created “bottle-cap stories,” or stories depicted by drawings on plastic bottle caps.
Over 165 artists displayed their work to hundreds of visitors in hopes to sell and publicize their creations. While brush-to-canvas art is never in short supply at Artsfest, metalworks, wood, jewelry, photography, and quilting were all represented. Kool Krabs by William displayed crab-themed sculptures that function as ornamental trays. Local artists Jen Poteet and Jonathan C. Nordstrom brought visitors in droves to their tents with attractive illustrations of color and whimsy.
Bubble fairies, stilt walkers, and human statues also walk the festival to entertain guests. The patrons of Artsfest were as diverse as the artwork displayed at the festival. Along with delicious food vendors, like Grizzly Mountain Grill of Solomons and a traditional lemonade stand turned food truck, Artsfest is a unique event that the Annmarie Garden and its community takes pride in each year.
Alexya Brown / Calvert Beacon Intern