Middletown Arts Festival evolves

Event returns for third year.

“We’ve grown a lot, and people – artists, food vendors and entertainers – are reaching out to us, so it has evolved in that way. Plus, the Middletown Arts Festival is becoming a household name, and the community is talking about it. It’s only our third year, so we’re excited,” said Jackie Phillips, president of Middletown Art Center’s Board of Governors and Chairman of the Middletown Arts Festival Advisory Committee.

Middletown Arts Festival will return to downtown on Saturday, Sept. 10. The free, family-friendly event will be held across several sites throughout downtown.

Phillips said Middletown has always been a city that loves their arts. The festival will give guests an opportunity to be exposed to a wide-range of wonderful art and entertainment. The festival also gives back to the various arts organizations in Middletown. Phillips is also the health commissioner for the City of Middletown.

Artists from across the region will showcase their talents through a number of different mediums, including leather, jewelry, metal sculpture, drawings, watercolor and glass-blowers. Additionally, there will be a tent that will highlight famous artists from Middletown. Approximately, 50 artists will be represented over the course of the festival.

“Middletown has always honored, respected and supported art, no matter what else is happening, and that’s any form of art — music, theater and other art mediums — and this is an opportunity to celebrate the arts themselves, the participants, and to share it with the City of Middletown,” said Richard Isroff, Middletown Arts Festival Advisory Committee Member and logistics director of the festival.

The festival will kick-off with an opening ceremony from the main stage at noon. It will also feature a variety of musical entertainment from gospel, jazz and pop/rock to bluegrass, country and reggae, starting at noon. For example, the Bobcats will perform from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on the main stage. The entertainment line-up will include the Bethel AME Gospel Choir,

Kip Moore, Edde Osbourne, Chuck Evans and Scott Gold, Samuel Day and the Cliftones, and more.

Middletown Arts Center Executive Director Hilary Nauman said the MAC will host a new Animal Art Extravaganza from noon to 6 p.m. with a number of pet-related activities and events, including Chloe the Painting Dog.

“Our events this year will be pet-focused. We will be having Chloe, a border collie, in the studio, and she actually paints with a paint brush in her mouth. Her art will also be on display and available for purchase,” Nauman said.

MAC will also offer pet portraits completed while you wait, animal art of all kinds, and the opportunity for pet owners to bring their pets to create their own painting or clay keepsake. Michael Boyd will offer pet portraitures. There will also be “Create a Creature” workshops for children at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Another new feature is “Urban Art” from 4:30 to 8 p.m., hosted by the Middletown High School Arts Club, outside of the Pendleton Art Center, near Governor’s Square. Highlights will include sidewalk chalk artists, spoken word, live ceramic demonstrations, reggae music and more.

Students from the Performing Arts Academy will present a full performance of “Mulan” from 2:30-4 p.m. Children can also enjoy the YMCA Kids Zone with a bouncy house and hands-on art projects.

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Contact this contributing writer at gmwriteon@aol.com.