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New holiday arts event this year

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When Glen Helen announced last fall that it would discontinue its Nature Arts and Crafts Show, it appeared that Yellow Springs would no longer have a holiday-season arts event. But only a few months later, plans are in place for a new collaborative show that also aims to provide income for local artists, unique gifts for villagers to purchase for the holidays, and a magnet to bring shoppers to town.

“What I’m trying to do is to enhance the arts and bring people to Yellow Springs for arts activities,” said event organizer Lisa Goldberg. “The arts are something I feel passionately about, and I see a strong link between the arts and economic development in the village.”

The new event, a collaboration with the Yellow Springs schools and the Chamber of Commerce, is called Art & Soul and will take place Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Mills Lawn gym. The event also coincides with that month’s Third Friday Fling. The new event replaces the longtime Glen Helen art show, which for 30 years was a staple of the village holiday season. However, last year Glen leaders announced that some fund-raising events were being discontinued due to being too labor intensive, including the art show.

Goldberg, a ceramic artist herself, is no stranger to organizing arts events, and finds herself moving more in this direction, she said in a recent interview. She is the organizer of the Yellow Springs Studio Tour, the annual October tour of local artists’ work spaces that draws a large number of visitors from out of town, about two thirds from the Columbus area, which was targeted by marketing efforts, and the rest from the Miami Valley, she said. The Studio Tour has become an important source of income for many local artists, with some saying the event rivals the local Street Fair as their most successful day of the year, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karen Wintrow said. According to Goldberg, she plans to do a survey this year to identify how the event is affecting local businesses.

To Wintrow, it’s clear that art is an economic driver for the village. She hears from visitors that Yellow Springs has a unique ambiance, in that art isn’t only available in galleries, but also on outdoor murals, wrapped around street signs and trees, displayed as outdoor sculptures and even present in the handmade tiles of the benches downtown and in front of the library.

“We say that art is everywhere in Yellow Springs,” Wintrow said. “It’s accessible, it’s fun, it’s creative. That’s what makes Yellow Springs so unique.”

And there is substantial anecdotal evidence that people from out of town who travel to Yellow Springs for arts events spend the day or a weekend here, frequenting local shops and restaurants.

“We hear from a lot of people that more of their customers are coming from Columbus,” Wintrow said.

As well as organizing the Studio Tour, Goldberg has in other ways worked to promote Yellow Springs as an arts town. Last year she produced, with the support of a grant from Xylem (YSI), a free map of public art in the village, now available around town and in the Chamber office. The map aims to help out-of-towners, and villagers as well, to find some of the hidden local artistic treasures.

“It provides a great tool for locals and for people who say, ‘where’s the art?’” Goldberg said.

With that amount of organizing success, it’s not surprising that when Wintrow realized that there would be a gap in the Yellow Springs holiday arts season, she turned to Goldberg for help.

“I threw out the idea and Lisa jumped on it right away,” Wintrow said. “I felt Lisa was a natural for this.”

One of Goldberg’s first tasks was to find the venue for the event, and the central downtown location of the Mills Lawn gym seemed a good fit for the show. Goldberg and local fiber artist Pam Geisel, who is assisting with design and organization, next came up with the “Art and Soul” theme for the event.

“I believe artists put their souls into making art,” Goldberg said.

Like the Glen Helen event, the new art show entrees will be selected in a blind jury process, with three arts professionals judging submissions without being aware of the artists’ identities. Organizers seek a mix of media, including paintings, pottery, glass, jewelry, photography and fiber arts, Goldberg said, and they also hope that participating artists are a mix of locals, some of whom lost a source of income with the Glen show’s demise, and out-of-town artists.

“We need some out-of-towners as well, because they help to draw more people from out of town,” Goldberg said.

Organizers are doing their best to keep the show affordable, she said, including a reduced $85 fee for a 10 ft. by 10 ft. booth for artists showing for the first time. The show will charge $3 at the door, and organizers plan to use proceeds to benefit both the local schools and the police department coat fund.

“I believe it’s so important to give back, and build into things a way to give to others,” Goldberg said, stating that organizers also hope to display artwork from Yellow Springs students. And she hopes to have an artist who grew up in the village each year donate a work for sale, with the proceeds going to the schools.

Artists interested in taking part in the show can find applications online at, and they are also available around town. For more information, interested persons can contact Goldberg at 767-7285.

Goldberg is pleased to be able to help launch a new venue that not only helps the economy, but also helps local artists remain viable. She’s grateful for the Chamber’s efforts in this direction, and believes that group has enabled local artists to remain in the village, which of course allows Yellow Springs to continue to flourish as an arts town.

“I respect what I believe Karen and the Chamber have done in successfully moving Yellow Springs to a new level in bringing people to town,” Goldberg said.


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