Saturday July 14, 2012 was the second annual Wheeling Arts Festival, which set up shop at West Virginia Northern Community College Square, West Virginia Independence Hall, and the Ohio County Public Library. Hoping to bring arts awareness, the festival is a combination of history, culture, craftiness and a community artist’s market. Some artist spotlights include The Mitch Collective , which “provides an avenue for local residents to explore the arts by providing access to specialized equipment and facilitating interaction with guest artists and artists in residence…in addition to offering professional grade cameras for the documentation of all collective work,” and Arts and Crofts, husband and wife Andrew and Patricia Croft, who “create fine art as well as offer other professional creative services including, but not limited to, photography, artist prints, murals, and commission based painting.” Other accessible forms of art included Oglebay Institute’s Hot Glass Roadshow Glass Blowing, hands on visual arts and music and movement for kids, Plein Air, and poetry readings and book signings by West Virginia’s poet laureate Marc Harshman and one of my former college English professors, Dr. Mark DeFoe.
Two separate stages of music kept the festival lively and lovely – the 16th Street Stage and the WVNCC College Square Stage. Opening the festival was Stellar Winds, who I caught live and also interviewed. Ryan Mowrey kept the music commencing, followed by The Adrian Niles Band who gave us good grooves, with some special guests. The Other Tribe then transfixed us with some African beats, accompanied by Grant Coleman. Black Slaney started the evening off and captivated the crowd with their Irish-inspired music and Matt even made time for an interview. I closed my coverage with Uncle Eddie and Robin, who played to a packed tent and took the time to talk.
The festival had a familial feel and the artists here are a collective, collaborative, capable community. Not only music, but the overall talent of all the artists took center stage. All kinds of artists were acknowledged, from visual to literary to musical. It was a delightful day with many displays, free fun, and all kinds of art!