Former beer distribution facility is home to Artomatic 419!Written by Matt Liasse | | email@example.com
This year, Artomatic 419! is mixing old and new traditions.
Established in 2006, the volunteer-run, biennial event aims to spotlight to Toledo art and unutilized venues. It began April 13 and will continue on April 20 and 27.
“It’s a really great community-building event for the art community in Toledo and a really great opportunity for [that community] to show the city what amazing creativity [is] here,” co-founder Kelly McGilvery said.
This year the event is at 911 N. Summit St., the former home of a beer distribution facility. Additional art displays are at the church located behind the building. The venues for the festivals chosen by The Arts Commission.
“We typically look for spaces that are located near Downtown that are handicap-accessible as much as possible,” McGilvery said.
New at this year’s event is Handmade Toledo’s Maker’s Mart, an indie craft fair that will feature handmade work from 50 local vendors. Items include soap, artisan jewelry, home décor and hand screened T-shirts. Maker’s Mart is only on April 20.
In a way, the two events were bound to be joined together.
“The first Maker’s Mart was actually held in the same building as the very first Artomatic at 1717 Adams St.,” Jessica Crossfield said in an email. Crossfield is in charge of Maker’s Mart; she has been planning the mart since January.
Crossfield will offer some items during the event, including plush toys, retro-styled clothing and accessories from her craft business Oh Sew Betty! (Crossfield is also known by her roller derby name, “Betty Floored.”)
Maker’s Mart is produced by Handmade Toledo. This is the second Maker’s Mart event; the first one took place in conjunction with UpTown Association on Nov. 17.
Local artist Adrianne Lee will feature her “Home Is Where The Heart Is” necklaces at the event, among other pieces from her Ninkybink brand. She heard about event from her mother, Vicki.
“I realized it would be the perfect opportunity to sell the self-created items I have produced,” Lee said in an email. “I think Maker’s Mart will be an amazing opportunity for Ninkybink to grow its customer base and also I hope it will inspire other locals to create businesses of their own. There is nothing better than being the captain of your own boat, so to speak.”
The “Home” necklaces are $10 each and come in mirrored silver and black. Lee had them laser cut locally using an original drawing of Ohio with a heart cut out in our local area.
In addition to Maker’s Mart, more than 400 artists are involved in Artomatic 419! Entries were not judged and anyone interested could sign up.
The event is based on a festival in Washington D.C., called Artomatic. The D.C. founder, George Koch, approached The Arts Commission about doing a spinoff in Toledo.
“We really like the spirit of the festival,” McGilvery said.
Planning for the event has taken a year.
“We tried to do one in 2007 and then realized if any of us wanted to have our own lives we were going to have to do it every other year,” McGilvery said.
She said she thinks it works better as a biennial event.
“It gives people time to recharge and work on their own projects,” she said.
The event spans three Saturdays in April, starting last weekend. It will be open April 20 and 27 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. It is free to the public, but food trucks will be on hand and purchasing of art is encouraged.
Also new this year, aerialist Erin Garber-Pearson will perform. Some artists will offer workshops too, demonstrating how different art pieces are made.
“It’s just a great place to hang out during the day and a great opportunity to meet new, creative people,” McGilvery said.
The event is also a great way for artists to meet each other, she said.
“We’ve had a lot of really strong friendships and even professional relationships that have come out of working together on this festival,” McGilvery said. “It’s a really great opportunity for people to put some time into a community-based event that helps unite the creative community.”