SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — The upcoming weekend is already shaping up to be beautiful, and hundreds of artists will do their best to make Saturday and Sunday even more magnificent with their stunning work.
Oil painting, watercolor, sculpture, ink and acrylics, and many other mediums will be on display all over Wickford for the 57th annual Wickford Art Festival. Sunshine magazine ranked the festival as the seventh best art festival in the United States of America.
Though the artwork won’t be free, there is free admission and a free shuttle to the festival. Anyone who’s out on the water this weekend and might want to stop by can dock just a give minute walk away.
Of the over 200 artists who’ll be in attendance at the festival, 11 are North Kingstown residents.
“I draw much of my inspiration from South county and living by the ocean,” Cate Brown, a photographer from North Kingstown, said. This will be her fifth consecutive year at Wickford Art Festival. “I will be showcasing a mix of coastal abstract photography, aerials, nautical imagery, and a few photo canvases and metal prints.”
Vanessa Piche, a painter and resident, is also showcasing her work in Wickford for the fifth year. She said that about 90 percent of her work is local scenes. Some Wickford residents and visitors may have seen her out by the harbor with her “to-go kit” easel.
“I go out a lot to paint on location,” she said, including sailboats and marshes. It usually takes about two hours on the spot and she then returns home to turn the scene into a bigger painting.
“My inspiration comes from many places,” Marshall Poole, a sculptor from North Kingstown, said. “Nature, jewelry, hang gliding, movies. And many other places. You never know what’s going to strike in your brain for inspiration.”
Poole, who creates bronze sculptures, said it can take as little as one month or as long as six months to complete a piece.
“I have three new sculptures,” he said. A sea turtle is one. I also have two different dragonflies, and eagle, and many abstracts with a Southwestern feel. I have drawings of sculptures I have yet to do which I will have with me.”
Lawrence O’Leary, another North Kingstown resident, is an disable Vietnam war veteran who paints full-time with his service dog. Once of his pieces is currently hanging in the White House.
According to many of the artists, the layout for the display is a very important aspect of preparing for the show.
“My pieces are framed mostly white to allow the colors of the photographs to show vibrantly,” Browns aid. “My display mimics a contemporary gallery appeal with clean, light gray walls where pieces are hung.”
“My booth will consist of three white panels with all my sculptures hanging on both sides,” Poole said. “I will also be doing patinas on some of the sculptures right there so people can see how the color is applied.”
“I try to do every side I can, because customers really walk all around,” Piche said. “I find that the Wickford Festival, people really come to buy.”
Piche has a collection of big paintings and a few small paintings that she’ll have on display, along with a rack of unframed work. She also has a clothing line based on her paintings, and she travels around New England every weekend selling apparel along with her oil paintings.
The festival will span all throughout the streets of historic Wickford Village. Attendees can also enter a raffle to win artwork donated by artists at the festival, the proceeds of which will go toward 3 scholarships for public high school students in the community worth $3,000.
Though the festival is very important and beneficial to the local community, it also draws artists and crowds from far beyond Wickford’s borders. According to the North Kingstown Police, it attracts approximately 60,000 people over a two day period.
“I like just to stress that Wickford’s one of the top rated festival and every year it’s one of the top ones that I look forward to,” Piche said. “It’s my hometown, which makes it even better.”