Tuesday, April 28, 2009

40 Years Old and Looking Better Than Ever

By Brianne Harrison

In 1968, a group of women in Montclair decided to open a one-room schoolhouse devoted to progressive education. As with any venture, this one needed money to survive, so to provide funding, they also began an arts and crafts fair. The first event mostly featured a collection of handmade items displayed on card tables.

Now, 40 years later, that arts and crafts fair has exploded into a three-day juried exhibition that draws in some of the best artisans from around the country. Art in the Park, held at the Montclair Art Museum and still presented by the Montclair Cooperative School (which has outgrown its single room considerably), also brings in thousands of visitors and is a staple of the local calendar.

What can one expect to find there? Work by more than 80 artisans, chosen by a distinguished panel that includes the curator of decorative arts at the Newark Museum, the executive director of the American Craft Council, and a highly respected artist who has shown extensively both nationally and abroad. Works of art in sculpture, glass, metal, ceramics, and fibers as well as exquisite and unusual jewelry will be available for sale. For a preview, visit montclaircoop.org/artinthepark.

For those who would rather take in the good weather than the art for sale, there will also be live musical performances throughout the weekend, including hometown band Parents who Rock. Applegate Farms will be providing a make-your-own sundae tent, and a Whole Foods barbeque will take place on Saturday. For the youngest members of the family, there will be arts and crafts activities, including doll making, beading, toobers and zots, and t-shirt decorating; as well as a rock-climbing wall.

The 40th Annual Art in the Park will be held May 1-3 at the Montclair Art Museum, 3 S. Mountain Ave., Montclair. Suggested admission for families is $10.00. Hours of operation are Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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