Art-by-the-river attracts 8,000

By Joel Charron

What started out as artists laying their work on blankets has flourished into one of the largest art events in the area that even Michelangelo would be proud of.

For the 45th straight year, Art by the River was held at Fort Malden Historic Site this past weekend.

Well over 8,000 art lovers passed through the gates to witness the art and crafts produced by Essex County Artists.

“It’s a really good crowd,” said exhibit chairperson, Sue Brewin. “We are very pleased about everything, the weather, the people, our vendors. This is shaping to be a very nice weekend.”

Brewin mentioned because the Fort Malden changed the grounds, the layout of Art-by-the-River was altered as well.

“The grounds are a little more spread out than they have been in years past,” said Brewin. “It’s a little bit of a different flow.”

Daniel Rufo, 4, works diligently on his painting in the kids area during Art-by-the-River

Brewin also credited their volunteers for working the gates, as well as, the Friends of the Fort for working the concession stands.

Brewin also thanked the Gibson Gallery’s board of directors, stating that the small group of 12 is responsible for putting on such a show.

The arrival of the Pride of Baltimore II added something different to the long-standing art show, as the large crowd gathered by the river to watch the tall ship fire its cannons.

Over 140 vendors had their work on display in hopes of enticing attendees to sway to their booth to find a hidden treasure.

“We have a few more vendors than we did last year,” said Brewin. “We are growing a little bit.”

There was a little something for everyone at the art show. While parents roamed the grounds, children were able to paint their own art masterpiece, as stands and an assortment of paints were available to the future Van Gogh’s.

Artist, Elizabeth Matlock said she has been waiting for the Gibson Gallery’s Art-by-the-River show all summer.

“I’ve really been looking forward to this show. A lot of people come to this show and it’s always a fun event to attend,” she said.

Although Matlock said it’s important to get her name out in shows like these, however, she hopes to make a little money for her efforts.

“I’m an artist, this is what I do so I’m hoping to make a little money but it’s also important for people to see my work and maybe tell others about it,” Matlock explained.

Brewin said people flock to Art-by-the-River because it’s not an over sized show and the grounds of Fort Malden provide majestic scenery.

“It’s a beautiful setting in a beautiful little town,” said Brewin.

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