Festival has more artists, more events

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 30, 2008

NATCHEZ — A few tweaks here and there will make this year’s annual Art and Soul Festival the best yet, officials said.

Beginning on Friday, the reception will host a new event — an indoor competitive exhibit.

Natchez Downtown Development Association Director Carrie Lambert said approximately 43 works from various artists will be displayed.

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And many genres of art will be represented such as pottery, metal works, jewelry, found or assembled art, painting and photography.

Lambert said all the pieces are great.

“It’s amazing how much talent there is in Natchez,” she said. “And I’m not just saying that lightly.”

When the three-judge panel — all renowned artists — examined all the art that has been submitted, Lambert said they were in awe.

“They said they were shocked at how much talent there is in this area,” she said.

The unveiling and announcement of the winner of the indoor competition will beFriday evening.

Tickets are $20 for future members and $15 for existing members. Refreshments and entertainment will be available and as it’s Halloween night, Lambert said costumes are welcomed.

Lambert said bringing in this new competition was a way of bringing in new artists.

She said in the past, the Art and Soul festival has just been an outdoor event and some artists do not like to have outdoor displays.

“We had a few artists enter the indoor competition which would not have done outdoor,” she said.

Partly because of this expansion and also the growing popularity of the festival, Lambert said the number of artists have grown from about a typical 28 to 30 participants to 52 this year.

Lambert called this year’s number “a record.”

As far as the artists, she said about 75 to 80 percent of them are regional and of those, 50 percent are from Natchez.

Wood workers and even a gourd artist have been added to the expanding list of artists.

“Next year we would like to expand to other fine crafts,” she said.

The artists will be on Main Street from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

A children’s section on 100 block of North Commerce Street will have face painting, a “monster mural” where children can paint and children’s art will also be exhibited. The food vendors will be set up in this block, as well.

In the center of the intersection of Main and Commerce streets will be a large demonstration booth, Lambert said.

From 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday, artists will demonstrate their art and also have readings.

On Saturday night, a new event will storm the 100 block of Commerce Street.

A street dance with music by The Rainmakers will be from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Lambert said the band could be best described as one that makes you want to jump out of your seat and immediately start dancing.

“It’s only three guys, but the sound that comes out of these three guys in unbelievable,” she said.

Tickets for the street dance are $10 and can be purchased at the door or at Natchez Coffee Company.

T-shirts and posters can be purchased at the event or also at Natchez Coffee Company.