Monday, September 27, 2010

Vacant lot becomes art fair for Equestrian Games

Story and photographs by Rachel Bryant
University of Ketucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

A new green, public space in downtown Midway was created with the World Equestrian Games in mind.

Mary and Eric Thoreson and Doug and Donna Farmer, couples who each own half the vacant lot next to the Thoresons’ Damselfly Gallery, spent all summer creating the courtyard to host an art fair during the games, as a way to attract tourists to Midway.

The Damselfly Gallery Courtyard Art Fair will be set up through October 10, showcasing 20 artists from Kentucky.

One of the painters in the show, Dick Weir, right, has already noticed people coming to the fair from the games. “You hear a lot of languages, especially the thick English accent, and they’ve all been very friendly,” he said.

Weir is a self-taught painter who started painting after he retired from Toyota six years ago. “I like to paint memories, all of art is impressionistic, and an artist paints what he sees,” Weir said. I’m painting memories of what I’ve seen.” He sells his pieces at Madelein’s – Photo Studio, Gallery, and Gifts in Midway.

Jim Jones, owner of Forge On Metalworks, is a blacksmith showcasing at the art fair. He hopes it will be a good opportunity for business but recognizes there is always a risk. “You might sell everything or nothing, but I do it because I enjoy it,” he said. Jones not only sells his pieces in the Damselfly Gallery but has an online store and does custom work. “Typically I try to make something that is useful. In the declining economy it’s great if it looks good but even better if it’s useful,” he said.

A watercolor and oil painter, Charlotte Ploetner, left, says she hasn’t seen many people from the games yet, but acknowledges that they have just begun and expects to see more people as the week goes on. Ploetner, another self-taught artist, likes to paint landscapes and floral designs.

In light of the games, 58 flags, representing every country competing have been hung above the courtyard.

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