Art festival slated for July 14

Local artists and art patrons will soon have a new place to celebrate Owensboro's growing art scene.

The Rex Robinson Visual Art Center Outdoor Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 14 at the The Rex Robinson Visual Art Center., Fifth and Locust streets.

The event is festival of local artists and marks the opening of The Rex Robinson Visual Arts Center, a project of local artist Rex Robinson.

Robinson said he will use the location to exhibit art, both indoors with the Regional Showcase, and outdoors with a sculpture garden. The Regional Showcase will feature works provided by the Owensboro Art Guild. As well, Robinson's various works and portfolio pieces will be on exhibit.

The center also offers studios for classes and artist workspace. Other galleries are the PHANTASMALITEXTRAVAGANZA gallery, combining florescent color and black lights; and the Gospel Revival Gift Gallery, which uses images and other items to focus on telling a religious story.

Robinson said he wanted to use the center as a way to connect artists and art supporters, both through exhibition and education.

Members of the guild are local artists, as well as a few spouses or patrons, according to Robinson. Artists come from Owensboro and surrounding counties in Kentucky and Indiana. Robinson said the guild has tried to create multiple venues for local artists to exhibit their work and allow art supporters to experience the local art community, which Robinson said is growing.

"Our most common reaction is 'I didn't realize we had this much talent here at home,'" he said.

The guild has more than 60 members, and Robinson said every event is an opportunity to meet new artists.

The festival will exhibit pieces of all media, including sculptures, paintings, original graphics, clothing and drawings.

He said some artists prefer to paint "en plein air" -- or "in the open air" -- creating the piece as an event occurs. Another interesting aspect to the guild is an influx of younger artists, whom Robinson says have a more digital approach to art.

While some pieces will be for display only, some art will be available for purchase. The opportunity to speak to an artist provides a unique experience, according to Robinson. Knowing the story behind a piece is something he said allows you to connect more deeply with a piece of art.

"When people collect art, they go away to buy art, they go to larger areas and galleries, but the festival is a face-to-face encounter with living artists," Robinson said. "Every work has a story and once people are together in that environment then they start to share that experience."

Robinson said there is often more variety at a festival because artists are experimenting with their work and looking for reactions and feedback.

As an artist himself, Robinson said appreciating and creating art allows wide-reaching connections.

"The universal language of art helps people to communicate globally," he said."

The event is open to the public and free of charge. Performance artists will also be at the event. Parking is available across the street. Those interested in getting a sneak peek of what the Owensboro Art Guild offers can do so on July 6 at Independence Bank, 2425 Frederica St., where guild members will be presenting their work to promote future activities.

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