The Huronia Festival of the Art and Crafts (HFAC) opens a new section this summer at Kempenfest. The Emerging Talent area will feature artists from Barrie and Simcoe County.
“What we’ve heard in the past is people wanted to join festival but didn’t want to take the gamble,” said festival coordinator Ashlea Growcott. “They’re all young entrepreneurs – two are older individuals – but (all) are emerging in their field. It’s a huge commitment and it’s a gamble.”
Fifteen artists applied and it was juried down to 12. None had participated in a large show in the past, one of the requirements they were required to meet. The artists will share space and have smaller booths than other artists in the festival which will allow them to be included and featured.
“It gives them exposure and it’s a way of giving back to the community, the people who have supported us for so long and to give an opportunity to new (participants),” said Growcott. “A lot of people (don’t) realize we are not-for-profit and everything we do goes bake into the community.”
The festival is organized by the Barrie Art Club (BAC) and The Kiwanis Club. The first show, back in 1971, was organized a member of both clubs, Raymond Marshall, along with several BAC members. Today, it continues to be run by volunteers.
Growcott is in her first year as HFAC coordinator. She is working with a team of eight, currently assisting Michael O’Shea, who retires at the end of this year.
She has an artistic background and currently works as a wedding stationary designer, which includes painting in watercolur. She has a degree in fine art and has been painting portraits since she was 15 years old. She also used to teach portrait painting across Canada and the U.S.
All artists go through a jurying process before being accepted into the HFAC, including the new section. Lindsay Russell is one of 12 artists selected to show their work in the Emerging Talent section which will be located near the basketball court, toward Lakeshore Drive.
Russell is a self-taught woodworker and mixed media artist. Currently based out of Stayner, she makes unique, live edge furniture and charcuterie boards and calls her company Backwood Design Co.
Her most popular product is a line of epoxy art cheeseboards called Georgian Bay Boards®. The functional art pieces are made from salvaged, local wood and include hand-painted, epoxy artwork inspired by the Georgian Bay shoreline.
The title for the longest standing artist in the festival goes Mark and Shelli Eisenberg, who mark 41 years this summer. Based out of Hamilton, their company, Delicate Touch Jewellery, specializes in sterling silver and gold jewellery ranging from rings to necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Find them at booth #178 this year.
HFAC runs from Aug. 2-5 along Barrie’s Waterfront from Saturday to Monday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.