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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ArtFest brings families but not students

    Organizers of ArtsFest 2008 covered all bases when transforming the La Encantada Shopping Center into a bustling art gallery for a weekend. The sale of beer and wine appealed to dads who would rather be watching football while a table full of coloring books kept anxious children occupied, and more than 150 fine art and craft exhibitors displayed talent reaching a variety of tastes.

    “”I think it’s really a family event,”” said Kate Marquez, executive director of the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council.

    The council, a non profit organization that coordinates more than 40 arts events in the Tucson area yearly, ran the festival Oct. 18-19.

    “”It’s a beautiful place that accommodates the arts,”” Marquez said.

    ArtsFest 2008 was an unjuried show, meaning any interested artist could apply for a spot. This created an enormous array in mediums, from Southwestern jewelry to metal sculpture. Blown glass, photography, oil paintings and pottery also decorated the mall.

    Perfect weather helped draw large numbers to the open-air setup.

    “”You couldn’t find parking space for about five hours here yesterday,”” said Marquez.

    Not everyone was thrilled with the location.

    “”I’m not sure the mall is the best place for an arts festival because the retail can be distracting,”” said Tucson artist Betty Amendola, who also blamed a struggling economy for low sales.

    The festival’s sunny courtyard featured live music ranging from Tucson High School’s Jovert Steel Drum Band to the soothing acoustic guitar of local artist Amber Norgaard.

    While most current UA students missed out on the festival – and there were surprisingly few UA students with artwork on display – alumni were already making their presence felt in anticipation of Homecoming.

    “”I’ve noticed, only because Homecoming’s next weekend, there’s been a lot of people with UA outfits on,”” Marquez said.

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