Art Affair on the Square, a multi-arts festival featuring a variety of visual and performing mediums, is set to return to downtown Urbana on Saturday, July 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sponsored by Monument Square District, the Art Affair on the Square is a juried, invitational event that showcases the original work of over 60 artists from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. The event is a primary fundraiser for the non-profit organization, whose efforts work to maintain the usefulness, profitability and beauty of Urbana’s central business and historic district. As always, the event is free to the public.
As in past years, the 2015 Art Affair on the Square will feature the white-canopied artist’s market, a children’s art area, a literary tent, an up-and-coming artists’ tent, architectural tours, horse-drawn carriage tours and live music and entertainment. Multiple food vendors will also be on site throughout the day, including Oakview Farm Meats, The Buckeye Pig Rig, Stevens and Sons Catering, The Depot Coffee House, ML Concessions, Tonya’s Concessions, The Tea Leaf Express and Jerry Singleton’s Kettle Corn.
The event is chaired by Pamela Bowshier and Sarah Thornton, both local businesswomen who manage stores in the Monument District. Bowshier, who owns Cosmic Charlie’s Bread and Threads, is an artisan bread baker for both Champaign and Clark counties. She manages two area farmers markets and is active in the Champaign County Local Foods Council. Thornton is the business manager and primary graphic designer at Main Graphics. A native of Champaign County and graduate of Graham High School, Sarah supports and volunteers for many local programs, including the Champaign County Arts Council and the Urbana Community ParkFest!
The Art Affair committee also includes Betsy Bohl, Bev Evans and Robin Henry.
This year’s event is set under the theme of, “Inspiration Move Me, Brightly!” A reference to a song by the Grateful Dead, the theme is meant to “encompasses the spirit of inspiring from the earliest of ages and encouraging the arts in children by giving them the outlet to develop a passion for the fine arts,” according to Bowshier.
The 2015 spotlight artist, Todd Buschur, embodies the theme well. As the art teacher at Graham High School for the last 26 years, Buschur has creatively encouraged many youth, including Bowshier’s daughter and Thornton, both of whom he instructed as students.
A Kansas native, Buschur received his bachelor of fine arts from Bluffton University in 1989 and a master’s of art from Antioch Midwest in 1998. Buschur also studied at The International School of Art in Italy before being hired at Graham. Buschur is currently represented by the Hayley Gallery in New Albany, Ohio, where he will have his fourth solo show this December.
“I make art because it is something I have to do, I need to share my experiences while in this world and I do this best through painting. As a young child, I was diagnosed with dyslexia, which made primary school especially difficult for me. For the most part, I dreaded school during that time and it is for this reason, I would often escape the frustration I felt for school by drawing and coloring. I believe it was through these early formative years much of my appreciation for making art developed,” Buschur said.
In an effort to emphasize children, several improvements have been made to the children’s activities, including relocation of the children’s area to the square’s southwest quadrant. Led by Bev Evans, the activities will “encourage children to create, express, and embrace their inner young artist,” Bowshier explained. Marianne Kessler, a songstress, will also perform in the children’s area at 10:30 & 11:30 a.m. In addition, a theatrical performance of “Blackbeard The Pirate,” sponsored by The Gloria Theatre and featuring area children, will take place at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids under 10 and seniors, and will be sold beginning at 2:30 p.m. at The Gloria Theatre.
One last special touch for this year’s Art Affair on the Square is a reception being held by the Champaign County Arts Council in honor of the late artist, Paul Reif. The reception, open to the public, will be held on the eve of the Art Affair, Friday, July 17, from 6-8 p.m. at the Arts Council Gallery, 119 Miami St. (see separate article in this newspaper)
Other notable displays and performances at the 2015 Art Affair on the Square:
-Landscape art created by Matt Turner, owner of Turner Landscaping
-Interactive artwork demonstrations by Mike Major, Urbana artist and owner of Main Graphics
-Entertainment on the Champaign County Courthouse steps, including the Champaign County Dulcimers, the Champaign County Youth Choir, The Florals, Michael Fritto, Larry Lyons, The Great Wide Open, and the Champaign County Arts Council’s showcase performer, Daniel Dye and The Miller Road Band
For more information on the Art Affair on the Square, call Thornton at 937-653-3334. The event also has a published Facebook page.
Submitted by event planners.