Oak Island Art Guild throws its 29th Annual Arts & Crafts Festival this Saturday, September 1. Work by over 130 artists will be on sale, along with hotdogs, funnel cake and kettle corn. The event runs from 9:00am to 4:00pm and is free.
The festival is staged in the soccer field behind Middleton Park in Oak Island (SE 46th St. & Dolphin Dr.). In the event of bad weather, the festival will be held on Sunday. Listen to Mary Beth Livers above; read our extended conversation below.
Mary Beth: The Oak Island Art Guild is about 30 years old. It's an nonprofit organization on Oak Island that is made up mostly of members who are interested primarily in originally painting fine arts, but we do workshops 10 times a year on the second Friday of each month. And they're free and open to the public. We get support through our local grassroots program with Brunswick Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Council. And we also do things such as support scholarships for children who are going from high school to college from South Brunswick. And we also support the local community arts by providing art supply support, working with Cheap Joe's to give to various teachers. Each year we pick a different teacher in the different classroom in the South Brunswick area.
Gina: And the Oak Island Art Guild, that's visual art.
Mary Beth: Well, they do primarily visual arts. Yes. It was formed about 30 years go by people who, their primary interest was painting a solo, the two dimensional painting. However, the workshops do expand. We have a community art show called Arts by the Shore in November. This year it's November, second to fourth, and it's a community show and it has a variety of categories as well as two and three dimensional artwork and sculpture and a category for just, you know, all kinds of unique pieces as well as traditional photography and painting and so forth. Mixed media.
Gina: And how many members do you have?
Mary Beth: We have about 70 active members.
Gina: That's, that's big. Is it all people who are in Oak Island or all people in Brunswick county?
Mary Beth: Primarily. But you don't have to be a resident in order to be able to participate. Our workshops are free and open to everybody and we have people who come up from Myrtle beach and come down from Wilmington to attend our workshops.
Gina: When's your next workshop?
Mary Beth: It's going to be on September 14th. And that's with Jim Mackintosh and that is- a Southport's having a plein aire painting festival on the 14th and 15th of September. And so Jim Macintosh's, who's also a member of the Oak island art guild and is helping to implement that festival will be teaching watercolor techniques on September 14th to the workshop that we'll be doing on Oak Island at the Rec center, about 9:30 or so on that Friday the 14th.
Gina: And that's open to the public, completely open and free?
Mary Beth: Yes.
Gina: How do you have funding?
Mary Beth: Well, our funding actually comes through this event that we're getting ready to do this weekend, which is the 29th Annual Arts and Crafts Festival on Oak Island. And this is really through the booth fees and the various support that comes from 137 or more vendors that come and attend this jury program. It's a one day festival. And the booth fees help support these programs we talked about all year long, the workshops. They help support the free programs that we provide to Ocean Trails, which is in the a retirement home local community facility that we go into once a month and offer programs as well. And as I mentioned, the scholarships and the art supply support for teachers.
Gina: You have over 130 artists ...
Mary Beth: We do. They'll also be some food vendors as well as a other community groups as well who will have some booths there and that. That festival, as I mentioned, is on Oak Island. It's a between 9:00am and 4:00pm this Saturday. It's always the first Saturday on the Labor Day weekend. And it's behind the town hall and Oak Island off of Middleton and 46th street where the soccer field is.
Gina: Tell me about what kind of art and who are these artists? What kind of art are they going to have out there?
Mary Beth: Well, primarily what happens is our prospectus goes out and we post it in February and we start to get applications, and so individuals apply and the committee, vendor committee, meets usually in the beginning of July and makes their decisions as to who's in and who's out. There's a variety of categories from painting to photography to garden to sculpture to wide range textiles, jewelry or wide combination of different types of artwork, woodworking, glasswork. So you'll just see a combination of everything. You will see also artists who are there, they'll have work ready for other clients and clients will come and pick up their work that maybe they've ordered. Because if you don't see it, many of these artists are willing to create it for you, especially that special gift for someone or for your own home.
New Speaker: There's all kinds of food there too, so there'll be kettle corn and icees and of course of the VFW will be there with hamburgers and hot dogs. We do have some food trucks and other vendors as well. Funnel cake. How can you have a festival without all those fun things as well. So come out and enjoy.
Gina: Where are these artists from?
Mary Beth: All over, all over the place. Not just in North Carolina, but they're from all over. We have artists come in from several other states surrounding North Carolina.
Gina: You know, we've talked before about this event and I feel like it's been a couple of times that we've had horrible weather ...
Mary Beth: Yup ...
Gina: ... on the weekend and it's been delayed or even canceled. We've even had a hurricane or tropical storm coming through. It looks like this is a very good-I know your fingers are crossed-it looks like a really good weather weekend ahead.
Mary Beth: Yes it does. But if per chance something happens, the rain date is the following day, Sunday 9:00 to 4:00.
Gina: And what does happen to you all when that happens? I remember one year it was just awful.
Mary Beth: We just do it anyway. We've been very fortunate the last two years. Yes, in 2017 and 2016 we did have to move it to the rain date because of poor weather, tropical storms and hurricanes. And the following day was just gorgeous. So we've lucked out that way but. But absolutely, according to all the weather forecasts that we've seen, it's supposed to be beautiful, upper eighties, and just gorgeous sunny weather.
Gina: You can knock on that wood right there.
Mary Beth: There you go.