Art in the Park brings new and seasoned artists from all over
Art, crafts, food and performances filled Alexandria's City Park for Andria Theatre's 'Art in the Park' for the first time since the pandemic.
ALEXANDRIA — After a two-year interval, artists, vendors and visitors were graced with sunny blue skies for the first day of Andria Theatre's "Art in the Park" on Saturday, July 30, 2022.
Christine Reilly, Andria Theatre’s executive director, said overall the event was overwhelmingly positive and people were beaming with smiles as they walked into Alexandria's City Park.
"I think everyone was so happy to have it back again," said Reilly. "It's very obvious that people missed it. We've certainly been hearing that in the last few months that people were excited about it."
Reilly said the event itself wasn't the biggest ever, as far as the number of vendors and artists, but there were steady streams of people walking in, the parking lot stayed full and Rainbow Rider bus kept busy hauling people to the park from the fairgrounds. Some of the vendors told her this was their best year yet.
Reilly says the theater is very happy with how things turned out.
"I think it's good for artists to keep involved. And I think it helps bring people closer together," said Sofia Wray, 17, of Alexandria when asked why an event like "Art in the Park" is beneficial for the community.
From a horse sculpture made out of motorcycle parts, and acrylic paintings to photographs of Minnesota's beautiful Lake Superior North Shore, and many more, the event brought artists from all over to showcase and sell their work to the Alexandria Community.
A booth with a hanging sign that read "paintaholic" displayed dozens of acrylic paintings from Kristine Cantey of Eagan. Cantey says she began painting just over a year ago after the pandemic gave her more free time at home. This was her first time at "Art in the Park" and she said it is the best show she has done since deciding to sell her paintings.
"Everyone seems really interested. I have sold quite a few pieces this weekend," said Cantey. "There is a lot of people. It is fun. Everyone seems to walk by with a big smile on their face. It is just a great atmosphere."
Cantey says art events are important for artists to get exposure and important for the community "because it makes them happy."
"I am really glad that I came here. This has been a really eye-opening experience. I have learned a lot and met a lot of other vendors and people," she said.
Down the hill from Catney, along the shores of Lake Agnes stands a chrome horse made up of Harley Davidson tailpipes and pieces of steel. The metal hoofed mammal was crafted by Craig Palm of Ashby who first ventured into the art of metal sculpting 15 years ago during the winter months when he is laid off from his construction job. He now has an art business called Creations by the Palms. His work can be found on his Facebook page, facebook.com/CreationsByThePalms/ .
"A friend of mine gave me a welder and that is how it all started," Palm said.
Craig's wife, Traci Palm, says he has always been an artist and is inspired by his dad who is a painter that has had his work on display at "Art in the Park" several times over the years.
Craig says he met a lot of nice people and received many compliments. He says he enjoys being at the park because it allows him to mingle with other artists.
"When I'm building stuff, I'm usually in my garage by myself doing it so it's nice to be able to talk to people once in a while," said Craig.
"Craig has always said he likes when he makes somebody smile. That makes him happy," said Traci. "Looking at the creativity that's out there, it just makes people happy."
"Arts an emotional thing, it makes us feel good," said Sauk Rapids native David Barthel of North Shore Images Photography . "When we see art that we can connect with, I think it brings peace to the mind and to the soul. And sometimes it can even stir the soul in different ways that maybe we don't expect."
Aidan Staples, 18, of Alexandria says it's awesome to see all the people that come out to the event to support the community and its artists. He speculated that Art in the Park sparks a lot of interest among the younger generation to pursue art themselves.
Sidney Johnson, 18, of Alexandria says the event brings the community together and allows artists and businesses to have "their time to shine."