Community Spotlight: Vendors Come Out For Art In The Park
Art In The Park weekend in Bemidji will usually see around 2,000 people, and on a warm day in July, many of those people will tell you that there’s nothing better.
“It is one of our best fundraisers. We actually rent booth spaces and try to bring a variety of different artists to the community for the weekend every year,” says Lorie Yourd, Watermark Art Center board president.
A wide variety is an understatement in this case. This year, there were more than 100 booths on the grass at Library Park. The show continues to grow and has become a sort of not-so-well-kept secret among the art community.
Randy Napier of Napier Photography says, “I live over in North Dakota. Typically, I’m in another part of the country doing shows this year. I heard about this one, so I thought I’d give it a try.”
Some attendees would say the Art In The Park show is the best place to get some creative inspiration.
“From booth to booth, you have a chance to speak to the artist in person and ask about their process – what did they do during the year to create their craft or art,” says Yourd.
If you took the time to stroll through the park this weekend, you were able to meet dozens of vendors. They were selling everything from photography to clothing and jewelry. One of the unique things about Art In The Park is that some of the artists have been coming for decades, while for others, it’s their first time in the show.
“I started coming in 2010. A friend referred me to this show way back then, and it’s been my best show out of all the shows I do every year, which is about anywhere from 15 to 20,” says Sandy Kuhlers, who created Simply Homemade.
“I think this is our year 11, and they do a phenomenal job here. It’s called our home show. We’re from Bemidji, and we do anywhere from 10 to 20 art fairs a year,” says Dave Towley from David Towley Woodworking.
Art in the Park is a draw for the creative types partly because of the energy the Bemidji community brings.
Towley says, “It’s a true destination for the arts here. We have the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra. We have live theater all year round. We have the city band. We have the sculpture walk. 365 days a year, 24/7, there’s art happening in Bemidji.”
For the vendors, it’s also nice to see their regulars, who have over the years become more like friends.
“I have people that come back every year and some come here just to see me and to get their jam supplies for the whole year,” says Kuhlers.