Chris Vance

Chris Vance

COURTESY PHOTO

CEDAR FALLS | The usual spot.

That’s where you’ll find the College Hill Arts Festival – beneath the canopy of shade trees at the corner of 23rd and College Streets. On June 20 and 21, this corner of the University of Northern Iowa campus will be transformed into a gallery without walls.

Approximately 75 artists – a mix of new and returning participants from as far as Texas, Arizona, Florida and Kentucky – will exhibit and sell paintings, ceramics, wood, fiber, glass, sculptures, basketry, pastels, mixed media, graphics, prints, photography and jewelry. Musical entertainment, food and the Young Art Collectors gallery will add to the festival atmosphere at the 36th annual event.

“Artists and festivalgoers love the location. So many festivals are set up in parking lots or spaces without trees, and in the summer, that gets hot and uncomfortable. Artists are always impressed with the grounds and the way we take care of them while they’re here,” says Mary-Sue Bartlett, who co-chairs the festival with Vaughn Griffith.

The volunteer-run CHAF is a juried event with a national reputation for top-quality art and original design. It’s been named to Sunshine Magazine’s list of best fine arts shows for five consecutive years.

The number of artists is kept at 75 so visitors can see all the booths and make their way back for purchases. Artists value the festival’s personal approach to ensuring a successful weekend of sales, says Bartlett.

“The public doesn’t have to hurry through, and that gives them time to interact with the artists. That’s part of the appeal,” she explains.

Last year, CHAF underwent something of a shake-up. Dates were shifted from mid-July to June, a move embraced by exhibitors and visitors alike. “The feedback was tremendous, the weather was better, we were able to land several nationally-known artists, and saw an increase in attendance because fewer people had left town on vacation,” Bartlett explains.

Noted artist Gary Kelley will design the festival posters, and posters and T-shirts will be sold at the event.

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Arts/Special Sections Editor

Special Sections Editor for the Courier

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