Young Artist Market a hit at Waterfront Art Festival

August 2, 2015  |  by Bonifas Fine Arts Center
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Young artists offered a wide variety of work at the Waterfront Art Festival. Items included paintings, wall hangings and even medieval swords and shields.

"The reaction to the Young Artists Market from the festival goers was tremendous," said Brook McGinnis, events coordinator at the Bonifas. "The kids really like knowing that people appreciate their work."

Youth programming has always been a priority for the William Bonifas Fine Arts Center. Their Art Scene program, Fourth Grade Afield, and annual Youth in Art exhibit alone would be considered prodigious for any non-profit arts organization. But add to that their yearly partnership with Players de Noc to host the Missoula Children’s Theatre, and the opportunities they provide students at the Waterfront Art Festival, and the Bonifas is truly a leader in bringing arts to the youth of this community.

Each summer the Waterfront Art Festival appears, Brigadoonesque, near the Karas Bandshell in Ludington Park. This summer’s festival was on Saturday August 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s a chance for artists of all types, including kids, to display and sell their wares to the public.

Part of what the Waterfront offers each year is the Young Artists’ Market, where students are able to set up shop and display their own works. And as long as it’s all original and handmade by the student, the sky is the limit in terms of what they can sell.

As one of those students, Gabe Peterson has been participating in the Young Artists’ Market for the past three years. His Medieval-style “Wooden Weaponz” typically sell out long before the day is done. Last year his entire stock was gone before noon.

Like most of the students, Gabe makes all of his items by hand. In his case he starts as early as April, researching the weaponry of the time, purchasing his materials (using the profits of his previous year’s sales), and creating templates for each of his pieces to ensure consistency in his product.

He was just one of potentially 18 students who sold items such as bracelets, beaded night lights, keychains, earrings, and even hand-decorated flip flops. Clearly, when youth and exuberance pairs up with art, it obviously pays off.

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