From the Print
West Freeman browsed the handcrafted pottery of Dick Overman of Cincinnati with his mother, Barbara, at last year’s Art on the Lawn. This year’s art fair, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, is Village Artisan’s 30th annual. (Photo by Suzanne Szempruch)

West Freeman browsed the handcrafted pottery of Dick Overman of Cincinnati with his mother, Barbara, at last year’s Art on the Lawn. This year’s art fair, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, is Village Artisan’s 30th annual. (Photo by Suzanne Szempruch)

Yellow Springs Art on the Lawn celebrates 30 years

The first Village Artisans invitational art show 30 years ago wasn’t on a lawn, but in a yard — King’s Yard to be exact. “Art in the Yard” featured the work of about eight local artists, along with some folk music, and was more exhibition than art sale.

In its present incarnation, “Art on the Lawn” draws some 100 vendors and 3,000 visitors from around the region for the one-day art fair, which also features food, live music and lots of arts and crafts for sale.

This year’s “Art on the Lawn” is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, on the grounds of Mills Lawn Elementary School, 200 S. Walnut St.

“It has always been a very laid-back, casual thing,” said local artist Anna Arbor, an original member of Village Artisans. “I don’t even think the first group were charged. When it became an art fair the fee started out at $25 and people could just pay that day.”

Village Artisans, an artist’s co-op store, opened on May 1, 1983 at 220 Xenia Avenue (currently home to Jennifer’s Touch). Founded by Joyce Keister, Christa Metzger, Deirdre Roche and Gail Kort, dues were $225 per year, according to a Yellow Springs News article.

Today Village Artisans, located at 100 Corry Street, has 20 members and relies on “Art on the Lawn” to cover about half of its annual costs, while member dues cover the rest, according to member Nancy Mellon. Village Artisans only takes a commission of 10 percent of what its members sell out of the store, which is unheard of, she added.

This year’s new and returning artists will offer jewelry in gold and silver, beadwork with seeds and metal, paper-craft, watercolors and acrylics of nature and landscape scenes, drawings, caricatures, beeswax candles, garden and yard art, ceramics, stained glass, pressed flowers, masks, fiber art, leather accessories, scarves, fused glass bugs and more.

Returning to the juried show is last year’s “Best in Show,” eco-spiritual artist Kotah Moon, who creates metal sculptures with spiritual, celestial, fantasy and nature themes. Moon, of Evansville, Ind., uses 100 percent recycled metals “as common as a 55-gallon drum lid or as obscure as the hood of a 1929 model A Ford,” according to her website.

Food and live music round out the annual fair. Musicians this year include Mark Camden, who crafts the Native American-style flutes he plays and Bettina Solas of Yellow Springs who plays Celtic, traditional Americana, folk, gospel and modern selections on the autoharp and mountain dulcimer.

During this year’s Art on the Lawn, Village Artisans will give away a “Gift of Art Basket” brimming with handcrafted art from the 20 artists of Village Artisans, including paintings, jewelry, wood carving and wood turning, photographs, books, calligraphy, a journal, fabric art, glass work, ceramics and more. All fair attendees can sign up to win the basket, for which a drawing will take place at 4:30 p.m.

This year is one of the better years for vendors, with nearly 100 already signed up, according to Village Artisans member Leah Groman. Vendors are happy to participate in one of the art fair season’s more relaxing shows, she said.

“It’s just a really nice serene kind of day,” Groman said. “We’ve got all those big trees around Mills Lawn so they’re not out in the blazing sun. It’s a calm, leisurely day.”

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