August 14, 2009
Uncommon Art festival a success


GOFFSTOWN - Whether patrons were looking for homemade jewelry, photography, landscapes or even collaborative finger painting, it was all on hand at the Uncommon Art on the Common festival last weekend.

Goffstown residents came out, along with the sun after many a rainy weekend, for the festival, spearheaded by the Goffstown Main Street Program. Twenty-five artists from Goffstown and the surrounding areas had signed up for the event, Robbie Grady, executive director of the Goffstown Main Street Program, said.

“We had two goals. One was, as always, to highlight the downtown,” she said. “The second thing is, of course, to promote our own artists from the area.”

She said the program had to turn away some artists, but hoped to include more next year.

“The response from the artists has just been very gratifying,” she said.

At the "finger smear project" booth, anyone visiting the festival could help paint in a drawing by Diane Ryan of the town’s popcorn stand and add his or her signature. The painting will hang in the Town Hall in October, Tammy Gross, who was manning the booth, said.

“Everybody’s come by so far and added their touch,” she said. “Today, everybody’s an artist.”

Guests dipped their fingers in little pools of paint and filled in the outlined popcorn stand and surrounding flowers and trees.

“You know what’s the nicest part? Everybody’s smiling when they’re painting,” Gross said.

David Grant, and his wife, Michelle, who is an amateur artist, contributed their own touches to the painting. David Grant said he had previously painted a few leaves but came back to add more.

“This time I branched out and did a flower,” he said.

Local artists found the festival a good opportunity for exposure.

“It’s a great way to get out there and get established,” said Andrew Stearns, of New Boston, who will start at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston this fall.

Stearns was displaying photography and print making for the festival, and he sold a piece 10 minutes before the festival began. He said the photographs were of places and people encountered in his travels.

“It’s basically a visual diary,” he said.

At the next booth over, Marissa Girard, of Goffstown, a student at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, and Carroll Berg, had a booth selling artwork, posters and t-shirts.

“It’s pretty good, we’ve had a lot of people come in and look,” Girard said.

Among the shirts Berg was selling were bright yellow ones that said, “Too Bee, or not to Bee…” devoted to saving disappearing honeybees.

“I do a lot of t-shirts and posters,” he said, dealing with “social and political activism.”

Meanwhile, Bobbi Sym, of Nashua, who takes painting lessons in Goffstown with her sister Gail Dodd, of Goffstown, put the finishing touches on a painting during the festival.

“It’s so relaxing. It just takes you into another world for a while,” she said.

She had not sold any paintings yet, but she was not concerned about that.

“I don’t care if I don’t,” she said. “I like to keep them anyway.”

Some of the youngest artisans, Gabrielle Longchamps, 13, and Samantha Myrdek, 11, best friends from New Boston, were doing good business selling homemade earrings, hair flowers and other trinkets at a picnic table adorned with a sign for Gabbi and Sammi’s Homemade Items.

“We sold out of some our items,” Myrdek said.

“We have been making earrings and stuff, so we kind of thought that we could make some money,” Longchamps said.

The two were impressed the amount of art available at the festival.

“The paintings are pretty cool,” Myrdek said. “I’m surprised what people can do.”



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