Unlike previous festivals, this year the foundation will host a VIP preview party Friday, the night before the two-day event. The ticketed party is open to the public. Proceeds will go to the Piedmont Park Conservancy, to show appreciation for the organization.
“We want them to be able to get recognition for the enormous amount of work and progress they have made,” said Patrick Dennis, the foundation’s executive director.
The festival will feature the work of about 250 artists. Although Dennis said the festival has “definitely gotten larger and more sophisticated” in its fifth year, the organizers keep the number of participants down in order to make it a festival that can be covered over the course of one day.
According to Dennis, the expected turnout is anywhere from 20,000 in bad weather to 50,000 or 60,000 in good weather. There are over 300 participants including the business sponsors, food vendors and artists. The festival will have two new judges this year, Yu-Kai Lin, a gallery owner in Atlanta, and Ellen Stein, a local art expert. It will also feature a world record attempt in hula-hooping, set for Saturday.
One artist who will be featured at the festival is Michael Zavison. Zavison works with steel and uses chemical processes to bring out its colors and impurities to create his art. He lives and works at the Goat Farm Arts Center in west Midtown.
Zavison attributes some of his style to his upbringing in the inner city of Chicago.
“Old neighborhoods seemed to influence me a lot,” he said. His art depicts “deteriorating, old things going back to their natural state. I don’t paint over the steel. I’m bringing out the original colors.”
Zavison has been an artist for over 10 years and is exhibiting his work at the festival for the third year. It is one of three festivals in Piedmont Park he shows his work in each year. Zavison said this is his favorite festival of the year.
“Last year was one of the best Atlanta shows and one of the best shows for me even nationally. I really like this organization and how they handle the set up on the day of the festival,” he said.
Dennis said, “It’s worth every single drop of sweat, because the artists that come have a good time, the food is spectacular, it’s a really lively and good-looking event, and we just have a great time.”
If you go:
o What: Piedmont Park Arts Festival
o Where: 1215 Piedmont Ave., Midtown
o When: VIP preview party at Greystone Manor Friday from 7 to 10 p.m.; regular festival hours are Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
o Cost: festival free to attend but includes food and art for sale; VIP preview party costs $30 for Piedmont Park Conservancy members, $20 for new members, $35 for nonmembers and $50 for VIP tickets, which include access to the quick sale where works of art can be purchased for a $100 flat rate before the festival.
o Parking/transit: Parking is available but attendees are encouraged to take MARTA and use the Midtown station.
o Information: www.piedmont parkartsfestival.com