Augusta Has Heart – Arts in the Heart of Augusta

A few weeks ago, Farmers Market Finds hit the road to the annual Arts in the Heart Festival in beautiful downtown Augusta, Georgia. Celebrating its 35th year, the festival was truly impressive. From the global village, featuring foods from around the world, to the live entertainment, and gorgeous art on display, the festival had something for everyone. This year’s festival broke attendance records with the Augusta Chronicle reporting that on the first night the festival sold over 77,000 admission pins!augusta entrace

Let me start by saying how much I love the “admission pin.”  Now, we’ve been to alot of concerts, fairs, and festivals but I have never seen a better admission ticket. The beautifully designed pin allowed visitors to come and go throughout the three day festival. Pinning it to your clothes was a fun, easy way to keep track of it throughout the festival. Honestly, nothing would stress me out more than having to keep track of a paper ticket for 3 days!

Upon entering the festival the first thing I noticed was the enormity of the global village and the global food selection. There were everyday favorites such as German, Spanish, Mexican, Chinese and Greek delicacies and more uncommon fare from Pakistan, Laos, Cyprus, Lebanon, and South Sudan. Next year I will be sure to come hungry and eat first. When I arrived at the Festival the food lines were manageable and I could’ve eaten to my hearts content (which was my plan!), but instead I decided to see the vendors first. The vendors were amazing, which I will tell you more about in a minute, but by the time I went back to eat the food lines were enormous. I am not the most patient person, especially when it comes to waiting for food, so I passed on the international food and grabbed a bit down the street at the wonderful Augusta Farmers Market.

Some of the many food tents at Art in the Heart of Augusta - Next year I am coming hungry and eating first!

Some of the many food tents at Art in the Heart of Augusta – Next year I am coming hungry and eating first!

Allow me to side track for a moment to send a brief shout out to the Augusta Farmers Market. The Augusta Farmers Market is a small, weekly Saturday market with 30-40 vendors right on the shore of the Augusta River. The market is open from 8am – 2pm and features live music, low country food like shrimp and grits and Beaufort crabs, and wide variety of handcrafted products. Too satisfy my hunger, I grabbed a delicious chicken, cheese, veggie wrap from the Wrap ‘Em Up Cafe. I am glad I found them at the market. I also found out they have a restaurant in Augusta which, based on my wrap, is definitely worth checking out.

Augusta Market on the River was a great compliment to Art in the Heart of Augusta

Augusta Market on the River was a great compliment to Art in the Heart of Augusta

Ok, back to Arts in the Heart! Now that we’ve discussed the food, let’s talk about the art! There were so many amazing artists were on display at this festival. For people who have been attending Arts in the Heart of Augusta this may seem like the usual assortment of arts and crafts, but for folks like us who are first timers all I can say is “WOW!” The amount of creativity, art, music, and drama all in one place was just amazing. While there were truly too many fantastic vendors to list, I would like to share some that I thought were truly special.

One of the first vendors that made me stop in my tracks was Grunge Goddess Pottery. Not only was her pottery exquisite, but her booth included a working pottery wheel that was teaching child after child how to work clay on a wheel. For me, this is true art – an artist willing to take the time to open the eyes (and maybe world) of a child in the crowd. Kudos to you Juliet King – beautiful work, beautiful heart.

Some of the exquisite work from Grunge Goddess Pottery

Some of the exquisite work from Grunge Goddess Pottery

The show hosted a myriad of both large and small class glass designers, but the one whose worked I couldn’t stop looking at was Lisa Mote. I have a great appreciation for the amount of work that goes into all glass work, so when I happened upon the size and scope of Lisa’s work, I was just blown away. Lisa’s work is a show stopper which is why she has done many private and public commissions. If you are looking for a breathtaking piece of glass work, please make sure to look at her work.

Just a glimpse of Lisa Mote's glass work. Pictures don't do it justice!

Just a glimpse of Lisa Mote’s glass work. Pictures don’t do it justice!

Under the category of “you don’t see this everyday” was Aquatic Impressions from Tallahassee, Florida. Aquatic Impressions specializes in the ancient Japanese art of Gyotaku. The art of Gyotaku fish rubbings was created by Japanese fisherman to accurately depict the size of their prize catches. Aquatic Impressions designer Fred Fisher uses his catches and this ancient art form to create beautiful art and home decor. Fred offers original fish rubbings and limited fresh and salt water fish prints. They have also created unique cutting boards using these prints.

Red Snapper Cutting Board with 11" x 8" clear tempered glass cutting board with image applied to backsid. Handy size for slicing vegetables, lemons, limes, etc. Great for gifts or just for yourself. - See more at: http://aquatic-impressions.com/cutting-boards#sthash.pJ2W8umC.dpuf

Red Snapper Cutting Board with 11″ x 8″ clear tempered glass cutting board with Gyotaku image applied to backside.

Quite frankly, this is one of those blog posts that could go on forever. If you are reading this and didn’t get to attend the 35th Arts in the Heart Festival, I recommend following this link to the vendor page and checking out the artists that attended. While not listed on the vendor page, I would like to give a huge shout out to the young artists that displayed their work at the festival. While I think the young artist section could’ve been better marked and highlighted, some of the work I saw there was as good as the professional work across the aisle. I hope the praise and exposure given to the fabulous young artists  keeps them all following their dreams.

The Arts in the Heart Festival was truly one of a kind! Mark your calendar for next year – September 16-18, 2016!

Augusta Farmers Market
15 8th Street
Augusta, GA 30901
Every Saturday 8 am- 2 pm (Until November 28, 2015)

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