Come Out And Notice The Enthusiasm That Has Come To Town
Saturday-Sunday, October 12th-13th, 10am-5pm, the annual Edom Art Festival will take place throughout the small artist community known as Edom, Texas. The festival is free, as is parking.
The arrival of young artists and new art establishments in Edom, Texas over the past year have brought an infusion of excitement to the town and the annual Edom Art Festival. The famous East Texas Art Festival is now celebrating its 47th anniversary and this time there are 20 first-time participants joining the dozens of returning crafts people and artists.
For this festival, the hamlet town will swell with thousands of visitors who make the regular pilgrimage. Regular visitors are sure to notice all the new faces and activity. On the town’s main thoroughfare, visitors will find the new Edom Art Emporium, a four-person art collective. Across the street, artist Kelli Holmes and her husband Don Hendrickson have opened The Experience, a large building that is currently housing a restaurant, a gallery, shops, and a yoga studio. The Experience’s central location with outdoor gardens and performance studio is a magnet for locals to lounge and watch the day’s parade. These entrepreneurs join jewelers Zeke and Marty and Potters Brown, the Edom pioneer artists who have been mainstays for almost 50 years.
All this activity and the annual Edom Art Festival will make even regular visitors notice the enthusiasm that has come to town.
The first time participants found the Edom Festival through the artist’s grapevine. Weatherford-based ceramicist Cathy Crain heard about it from ceramicist Mike Grafa. He’s a regular at Edom and when Cathy voiced her appreciation for shows in remote locations that have turned out to be her favorite, he suggested she apply to the Edom Festival. She did and was accepted.
Photographer Steve Riley was encouraged to apply after meeting jewelers Zeke and Marty at a Wimberley art fair. He too was accepted. Jeweler Mary Geisler considers Zeke and Marty mentors and so with their encouragement she also applied and made it.
The acceptance process is by jury, and the festival is run by artists. It is one of the few in the state that can boast that. Leadership has kept the festival vital and tries to make the experience as rewarding for the participants as possible.
Geisler says she can only make it to two or three shows a year, as she is the curator at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts, and has a thriving custom jewelry business. Participating in festivals is stimulating, she says: “I love it. It is very exciting to see so many people buying art. Bringing people into a gallery and seeing them leave the gallery with art is good but a festival is like a feeding frenzy. It’s exciting in so many ways.”
Multi-dimensional artist Gail Delger also finds the festival atmosphere more conducive to sales. For years she owned a gallery on the square in McKinney and still participates in a large artist co-op there, but over the years found that when the art was placed on the sidewalk more people bought. “The sales were out front, not in the gallery,” she says. So now that she has more time, she is planning on traveling to the art fairs.
Regionalism plays a part of the artist’s success, either because the artist feels more comfortable, or the area attracts buyers who are enthusiastic about their work. A rural setting brings in the people who gravitate to Sandy Shiroma’s paintings on bird feathers. She meets many hunters with whom she barters for feathers. “Hunters and birders like what I do,” she says. The feathers speak to her: “They tell you what will look good. Their shape and size does not limit me to a rectangular canvas.”
Photographer Kimberly Clark, who is new to the art circuit, found that the art fair scrum in Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood was not a venue where she felt comfortable. “While it was successful, people were there for other things. It was stressful being in a downtown atmosphere. While I appreciated all the customers, I probably won’t go back,” she says.
Clark spoke to a mentor who lives in the Hill Country and he suggested she look into Edom, “He thought the area might appeal to me. I went looking and found it.”
One thing they all seem to enjoy is watching visitors respond to their work. “It’s immediate feedback,” says Clark. “You can’t get that anywhere else. It’s feeding why I do this. Getting immediate connection is really fulfilling.”
Food and wine vendors will be there as well as continual musical entertainment. Families are encouraged as there is an art program for children.
Edom is located 20 miles west of Tyler at the crossroads of FM314 and FM279. For more info call (903)852-6473 or go to visitedom.com.