Wichita Autumn And Art Festival Grows In Popularity

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

There's an art to the way Dana Swenson approaches the annual Autumn and Art street fair at the Bradley Fair shopping area in east Wichita.

"We're looking for something that catches our eye," Swenson said. "We usually go through the entire fair, decide what we want and then go back and see what's here and make our decisions."

In her second year shopping at the festival, Swenson purchased three pieces Saturday.

"We made a conscious decision several years ago to buy original art to supports the arts and to enjoy in our home," Swenson said.

Saturday's finds included a pastel painting by Wichita artist Don Coons.

"It's really rewarding having this (festival) in my hometown, and being able to kind of display my work among my fellow artists," Coons said.

He says the festival, now in its third year, is only getting better with time. The show features 13 categories of art.

The booths are open Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Coons says the festival is drawing more and more support from the local public. Organizers say they expect more than 14,000 people to attend the three-day event.

The festival is also bringing in artists from across the country such as Dallas' Stephen Hackley.

"I do fairly well with prints, (I sell) some originals here and there, but most of what it is, is that I make contact with people," Hackley said.

Hackley's unique style of painting in front of his booth and his bright colored oil-on-canvas flower artwork on display, help to attract that attention.

"I've had people buy work as long as two years after seeing me," Hackley said.

Selling his work brings him joy and brings joy to the customers who then enjoy it in their home or workplace.

"The whole idea is to create a reaction, an emotional impact, so that when someone walks up and sees a piece, they smile," Hackley said.

That's just what Dana Swenson says she'll do all the way home Saturday, smile, knowing she has three new pieces in hand.

"We take it home and enjoy it," Swenson said. "That's just what we do."

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