Waterfront Animated By Arts Festival
Festival Boasts Professionals From All Art Genres
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
With glass-blowers and chalk artists, photographers and tap dancers, the array of talent during the 10th annual Boston “Ahts” Festival was extensive, not to mention completely free. With 19 performances and over 55 visual artists, there was something for everyone to stop and admire during this three-day fest.
This year’s event attracted close to 100,000 tourists and Bostonians alike (the festival was unable to get a solid head count since it is an outdoor event with no ticket sales), and to call it successful would be an understatement. As people of all ages walked amongst the wide array of artists’ tents in Christopher Columbus Park, the waterfront glistened in the distance and provided a beautiful backdrop for all who came and exhibited.
Participants considered the festival a great way to showcase their work and for newcomers to get more exposure, especially since the majority of artists were locals who hoped to accrue repeat business. Some of the most crowded and attention-grabbing exhibits were the glass blowing, the kids’ mural, a temporary outdoor public art installation (titled “Ripples” by Carolina Aragon), and a chalk artist who was working on recreating Vincent van Gogh’s famous “Starry Night” in a five-and-a-half by seven foot square.
The glass blowers hailed from the Diablo Glass School, and as onlookers admired the elaborate and beautiful technique, the sense of pride and joy in these artists’ faces was evident. Visitors were then able to speak with the talented artists about their unique craft and purchase the beautiful pieces made before them.
While the glassblowing exhibit was engaging to watch, children were able to take part in and leave their own mark on something unique in the festival. Boston’s budding Picassos used a vast canvas that became more and more covered with art as the festival continued. As paint was offered to passersby, children’s faces almost instantaneously lit up, and they ended up collaborating on a widely viewed and admired “exhibit.” On the last day, it was filled to the brim with bright, shining displays of these children’s art. Peace signs, flowers, hearts, suns, abstract swirls, and playful splatters decorated the mural and made for a heartwarming display.
Another showcase popular with viewers of all ages was the newest art installation from Carolina Aragon, “Ripples,” which stretched along the inside of the park and near the waterfront. Designed to showcase a different viewing experience to each person, the iridescent film “fins” on the huge twisting tunnels shifted depending on the wind and the angle from which it was viewed. Therefore, each person approached the exhibit from a new angle due to the constantly changing weather conditions. The result was clearly a sense of great amusement and beauty as people shifted toward this installation to admire it and take in the endless variation. Children also took to crawling through the structure, gathering a whole different vantage point and experience altogether.
Chalk artistry also took up the attention of a large number of those in attendance as the artist Jerrie Lyndon undertook the task of copying “Starry Night” onto the pavement. Watching her transform the ground into a beautiful night sky and following the gorgeous strokes she made to create the masterpiece was inspiring, to say the least, and onlookers stopped to watch for minutes at a time, entranced by her skill. The artist also made sure to engage the crowd in a special way, looking up from time to time to answer questions, ranging from the piece at hand to her portfolio to the history of the recreated artwork before them.
In addition to these big hits, there were also 19 live performances that transfixed people in admiration of the skill displayed on stage. Such acts included the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Tap Company (which provided an energetic beat and their unique mixture of both tap and jazz), and Love Experiment, who performed on the Garden Stage with a wonderful mixture that blended a variety of musical genres, creating a sound all their own.
These performances kept the energy up throughout the festival as it showcased even more local artists than the traditional mediums. All of the artists in attendance, though, helped to create an unforgettable experience for all those who came out.