Whether it is arts and crafts, literature, music or food, the 13th annual Art Affair on the Square is bound to have something for everyone – young and old – to enjoy while visiting downtown Urbana from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 15.
Hosted by the Monument Square District (MSD), this year’s event will feature numerous vendors offering a variety of arts and crafts, literary works and plenty of food options. In addition, downtown businesses will be open and numerous musical acts will showcase their talents on the steps of the Champaign County Courthouse (Common Pleas).
For eventgoers interested in arts and crafts, around 50 vendors will display and sell a variety of items, including fine art, jewelry, floral art, metal art and leather work.
Sarah Thornton, event chairperson and a Champaign County Arts Council trustee, said the theme of this year’s event is “The World Through Watercolor,” which came about in honor of the 2017 Art Affair on the Square featured artist Rhonda Sloan, a St. Paris resident.
A graphic artist by trade, Sloan has dabbled in a number of art mediums, but specializes in watercolor paintings.
On her website (rhondasloan.com), Sloan states she has been interested in the arts for as long as she can remember.
“From an early age, I found myself painting alongside Bob Ross on Saturday mornings as he created majestic landscapes,” she states. “I started painting in acrylics, moved onto oils, then landed with the most interesting and sometimes frustrating medium of all – watercolor.”
Sloan adds, “Watercolor intrigues my senses and mesmerizes my mind. Telling a story and creating a sensation is the key ingredient to my paintings.”
In her quest to master what she calls a “versatile medium,” Sloan has participated in various painting classes, taken part in watercolor workshops, and joined groups like the Western Ohio Watercolor Society.
Locally, Sloan is a member of the Champaign County Arts Council and Springfield Museum of Art. She is on the Champaign County Arts Council Board of Trustees.
Honoring late artist
Well-known local artist and former longtime Urbana High School art teacher and athletic trainer Mike Simpson, who passed away late last year at the age of 76, will be recognized during the event for his impact on the local art scene.
A 1959 graduate of UHS, Simpson was selected as the 2009 Art Affair on the Square featured artist.
In his honor, Thornton said, many of Simpson’s pieces of artwork will be on display. In addition, all previous Art Affair on the Square posters will be displayed, including Simpson’s poster.
Along with downtown food establishments being open for business, various food vendors will offer a variety of food options.
Food vendors scheduled to be in attendance include Stevens and Sons, The Buckeye Pig Rig, Zerkle’s Food and Concessions, Court Street Café (Presbyterian Church) and The Flying Pepper.
Seven musical acts will perform on the steps of the courthouse at 200 N. Main St. The schedule is as follows:
•10 a.m. – Champaign County Youth Choir
•11 a.m. – Champaign County Dulcimers
•12 p.m. – Michael Fittro
•1 p.m. – Leah Grommon
•2 p.m. – Mack McKenzie
•3 p.m. – Daniel Dye and the Miller Road Band (part of the Champaign County Arts Council’s Sounds of Summer Concerts in the Park series)
•4:30 p.m. – Larry Lyons
Along with the countless vendors lining the streets of downtown Urbana, Art Affair on the Square will feature two tents – one for children and one for those who enjoy a good book.
Thornton said the children’s art tent will feature watercolor painting activities, and those who stop by will be able to take their artwork home with them.
As for this year’s literary arts tent, the following authors will be featured: Addie J. King (contemporary fantasy and paranormal mystery), T. Wade Ervin (fantasy and science fiction), Amber Morant (fantasy), Sandi Eyman (children’s literature), Linda Locke (children’s literature), Ann Corfman and Nancy Sherwood (children’s literature), William Welty (westerns and mystery), and Dan and Patti Verin (historical fiction).
From noon to 3 p.m., eventgoers can hop aboard a horse-drawn trolley for an architectural tour of historic Urbana buildings.
“There is something at Art Affair for everyone,” Thornton said.
For more information on the 2017 Art Affair on the Square, visit the MSD website at monumentsquaredistrict.com or contact Thornton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.