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The Madison Record
At Madison Street Festival, areas with more focus on art and creative influences are the Student Art Tent, Artist Alley and Crafters Cove. The photo shows the handiwork of Johnny Cash with Foot of the Mountain Wood Crafts from Huntland, Tenn. CONTRIBUTED

MSF shows artistic influences at Artist Alley, Crafters Cove and Student Art Tent

MADISON – Informal artisans, budding artists and purveyors of fine art all have a place at Madison Street Festival.

ARTIST ALLEY

Artist Alley participants use their skills to design immaculate pieces of art.

Amber Keyes, who is chairing Artist Alley, first attended the festival in 2016. “My family and I really enjoyed the festival and decided to make it an annual event for us,” Keyes said.

This year, her friend Keegan Mumaw used Facebook posts to recruit volunteers. “I had never volunteered before but thought, ‘Why not give it a try?’” Keyes said.

A crafter, Keyes enjoys crocheting, sewing, painting and other pursuits. Also an artist, Keyes’ daughter loves to draw.

Artist Alley is focused primarily on the fine arts. Past vendors have created pottery, raku, photography, glass, woodworking, literature, drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and metal smith. The artist must make all displayed artwork.

Artist Alley is a juried event. All applications must include a link to the artist’s portfolio website, Facebook or Etsy page, Instagram and others. If an artist doesn’t have a website, the artist must submit photographs of their work.

Current categories in Artist Alley are photography, drawing/prints/graphics, jewelry, ceramics, glass by author, oil/acrylic/watercolor painting, mixed media and other types.

The juried area will stand at Artist Alley’s entrance. “We have a ballot box for patrons to vote for their favorite artist. At day’s end, we count votes and award the winning artist with our ‘People’s Choice Award,’” Keyes said.

MSF also will award “Best Display” and “Best of Show.” Winners will receive a plaque and cash prize.

CRAFTERS COVE

Crafters Cove, east of Madison United Methodist Church, has experienced artisans who create handsome arts-and-crafts pieces.

Crafters Cove will offer an acre full of treasures and handmade crafts. “Sixty vendors will be selling items for birthday presents, Christmas, home decor and more,” Crafters Cove Chair Brenda Parker said.

Parker has worked with the MSF Committee for about 20 years – the longest time of service by any committee volunteer.

Vendors often create pieces of Americana, like Johnny Cash with Foot of the Mountain Wood Crafts from Huntland, Tenn. (No, not THAT Johnny Cash). At the festival, Cash will sell cutting boards, wooden trays, children’s chairs, jewelry boxes and other designs. All of Cash’s work is devoted to handmade wooden items.

Shannon Rosenthal with Living My Dash Life from Madison will have wooden serving/charcuterie boards, Parker said. Rosenthal has boards in the shape of the state of Alabama, embellished with resin to resemble the ocean. She also creates ceramic hand-painted coasters, ring holders and trinket dishes.

Vendors in Crafters Cove also will bring jewelry, candles, soaps, crocheted scarfs, aprons and beard products, Parker said.

STUDENT ART TENT

The Student Art Tent contains submissions from students in Madison City Schools.

After her first visit to Madison Street Festival in 2015, Deborah Burke was impressed with the mix of different areas – events, food, entertainment and vendors.

“It was ‘an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.’ Of course, I had no idea of the hours and hours of coordination, number of volunteers and dedication to make that ‘enjoyable way to spend the afternoon’ actually happen,” Burke said.

In 2019, Burke again visited MSF with encouragement from friend Beth Mumaw, who described both how much fun and work the one-day event involved. On her second visit, Burke visited MSF for hours, fully immersed in the festival – roundtrip on the shuttle, tasting at food trunks and buying vendors’ merchandise.

She walked away with awareness that MSF required tremendous work for ‘an enjoyable way to spend the day.’

An advocate for giving back to the community, Burke decided to volunteer with MSF for the first time this year. Burke is chairing the art tent.

“I’m excited to learn the ropes and make fun changes in the future to the Student Art Tent,” Burke said. Art teachers at each MCS campus – elementary through high school – were invited to display their students’ artwork. “It’s the sole discretion of the art teacher as to what art is selected to display.”

To respect teacher requests, students’ artwork will not be judged or awarded with ribbons.

“The Madison Street Festival Committee is an enthusiastic, hard-working and committed group of individuals who give willingly of themselves to ensure the festival is a complete success,” Burke said. “So much happens behind the scenes that festival attendees have no idea what occurs. It’s such a seamless event,” Burke said.

“So many hours have been donated by so many individuals with one common goal — to ensure that 2022, the “We Are Back” Year, is a complete success,” Burke said.

“The MSF Committee is comprised of individuals from all backgrounds, all occupations and all age groups,” Burke said. “We’re like a big family. We care about each other and have fun together . . . and that’s a big reason why I’ll be back next year.”

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