Carmel International Arts Festival Executive Director Rachel Ferry describes the energy surrounding the 2021 event as extraordinarily high after a year-long hiatus.
The 2020 festival has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
âThe (artists) who are coming are thrilled to be back in Carmel and to have a festival in person,â Ferry said. âWhat the pandemic did across the country for people was obviously devastating. Many of these artists depend on festivals for their main source of income, so without any festivals last year, artists have been hit hard. Some of them did not recover and could not continue their activity and had to find different businesses to support their families, so we are delighted to offer this opportunity to come back.
About 100 artists will have exhibits at the Carmel International Arts Festival September 25-26 in the Carmel Arts & Design District. The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on September 25 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on September 26. Ferry said the number of performers – 130 – is slightly lower than the usual number.
âWe were close to that commitment, but due to the COVID strains in parts of the country, some artists did not feel comfortable traveling,â Ferry said. “So they’re not participating, but hopefully they’ll be back in 2022.”
CIAF will be the 15th art fair of jewelry artist Carmel Mark Grosser in 2021.
âWe normally do around 25 a year,â said Grosser, owner of Mr. Grosser Jewelry Design. “We’ll probably end up with 20 this year.”
That’s quite a change from 2020, when Grosser only attended five festivals.
âAll of the shows we went to were quite busy,â he said. âCarmel has always been one of our best shows. We love to do a local show, and sometimes that brings people to the store. It’s the only show we do in the state of Indiana.
With the help of website programmers, Grosser set up a sales platform for art fair artists at the end of 2020. He said customers still prefer to touch and smell jewelry and listen. the artists describe how the piece was developed.
Woodworking artist Mark Waninger, who lives in Jamestown, considers CIAF to be his local show and has participated in the previous seven festivals. Waninger said he has taken part in art festivals across the United States and that Carmel is one of his favorites.
âIt’s so exciting for me as an artist to see the continued growth of this exhibition and the overall rise in the quality of art available to clients,â he said. âIt really is an international art festival. This only happens due to purchases made by participants. The impact of COVID has been significant for all professions, and it has been particularly devastating for artists who rely on the personal connections made at festivals like this to sell their work. “
The painter of fishermen Anna Afshar has participated six times in the CIAF.
âHaving art festivals in general, and CIAF in particular, again is very important,â Afshar said. âI survived the pandemic year with no events thanks to the clients / commissions / connections I gained from previous festivals. CIAF is my home base with many followers, so besides selling my existing work and possibly getting commissions / sales in the future, I just can’t wait to see familiar faces and friends.
“Based on the turnout at Penrod (September 11 on Broad Ripple), people are eager to come out and support the arts, and it’s so wonderful.”
Noblesville painter Randall Scott Harden, whose art is featured at Carmel Art on Main, agreed that art lovers can’t wait to see the work.
âI hope they will be there to buy,â said Harden.
CIAF will be Harden’s 10th annual festival in 2021, all in the Midwest. In 2020, he only participated in one small art fair in Michigan.
âI had to go from art fairs to virtual activities (for works of art),â Harden said. âThere weren’t that many classes too.
Westfield painter Sylvia Gray participates regularly in CIAF.
âIt’s a busy month for me as I attend three art fairs,â Gray said. âI was at Penrod Arts Fair and I’m happy to be a Best in Show finalist,â Gray said.
Gray found a small positive from 2020.
âIt was slow last year. However, it gave me time to create new works of art, âshe said.
Set of security measures
With the event being outside, Carmel International Arts Festival Executive Director Rachel Ferry isn’t too worried about the risk that attendees may spread COVID-19.
Ferry said face masks will be available for anyone who wants one. Hand sanitizer will be placed throughout the festival as well as hand washing stations near the toilets.
Ferry said there will be a space of social distancing between the tents.
âBecause of the amazing things Carmel has done with the bumps on Main Street, it allows us to spread it out a bit more,â Ferry said. âI feel like this will be a great layout to have a safe festival. “
The Art Rocks III concert from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on September 25 will feature Blair Clark and The Fun Factor on the Main Stage, which will be south of the Arts and Design District on Range Line Road. Entertainment is scheduled throughout the day on the Main Stage and West Main Street Stage.
Ferry saw Carmel Artmobilia make a successful comeback on August 28 in the arts and design district.
âThe people of Carmel are excited and ready to support extraordinary events,â Ferry said.
To learn more, visit carmelartsfestival.org.