Summer’s first Art in the Park to offer handmade work of all varieties

Katie McLean | Daily File Photo
Jeanie Kerns tries on earrings from Beading by Linda during a 2013 Art in the Park. The first Art in the Park of the 2014 season is from

Predictions of sunny weather for this weekend have both the coordinators and vendors of this summer’s first Art in the Park excited and hopeful that rain and gray skies will not damper the popular event.

The rain-or-shine event will be held from 12 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday in Miller Park.

Cathy Digel, who co-chairs the event with Kenny Koblitz, called the non-juried show very “democratic,” the only requirement being that the all of the pieces are handmade.

The pieces tend to be more affordable than what would be found at other shows, providing a perfect occasion for early Christmas shopping, she said.

All of the proceeds from the sale of spots at the show go directly towards scholarships for students of the School of Art. Between the two VACI Partners shows this summer, just under $9,000 has been raised, Digel said. 

Digel said that spots for both of this summer’s shows sold out earlier than ever — before the season had even begun — and that 73 artists will be selling their work.

“I think the word is out that it’s a really good show,” she said.

Vendors selling their work in the show seem to unanimously agree.

Wendy Cohen spends her summers at Chautauqua and has been selling her fused glassware at Art in the Park for many years. She said she is grateful for the opportunity that the show provides.

“It’s a wonderful way for people to be able to come and see what I do and it is probably the best way I sell my work up here,” she said.

She will have two tables this year, one featuring bowls, plates and platters that will be manned by her “well-trained” husband. She will manage the other table that will have pendants, earrings, barrettes and other accessories that need a “woman’s touch,” she said.

Cohen said she likes the setting that Miller Park provides for the show.

“It’s a great venue,” she said. “They do such a wonderful job of organizing it, and I give a lot of credit to the people who have spent their time to help us craftsmen.”

Jewelry-maker Paula Nettleship has been making the trip up from her hometown of Pittsburgh to sell her work at Art in the Park for several years.

Nettleship, whose jewelry is also sold in the gallery store at the Strohl Art Center, will be selling bead-woven pieces at the show.

Like Cohen, she loves selling her work at Art in the Park. She said being in a community like Chautauqua, where the people who buy her work are also interested in her process, is very gratifying as an artist.

“I love the people who attend the show because they’re, in general, a group of people who are interested in art, who like to have a discussion about your process and the products,” she said.