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Artists get to display their art this weekend
Art in the Square brings focus to North Georgias vast talent pool
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Art in the Square on Saturday will feature about 90 artists selling their works.

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Joe Burnett, Main Street Gainesville executive director, talks about the annual Art in the Square set for Saturday.

Some 90 artists of all kinds are expected to showcase and sell their work this weekend at the Art in the Square festival Saturday.

The fifth annual event, set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will take place in the downtown Gainesville square, with several area businesses and organizations serving as sponsors.

The event will feature a diverse range of artwork, artists and activities. Interactive Neighborhood for Kids will again feature its Youth Artist Market, with children and young men and women up to 18 years old selling wares at their booths.

Art in the Square began as a way to "focus attention on the great art that we have in the North Georgia area," said Joe Burnett, executive director of Main Street Gainesville, one of the sponsors.

The festival was set up as an invitation-only event for artists.

In its second year, "we established the first juried (Art in the Square)," Burnett said.

"We were able to screen the applicants and make sure we were getting the highest-caliber participants in the show and rewarding that effort by giving prizes for first, second and third place and some honorable mentions."

The festival has grown each year, with 40 to 50 artists attending the first event, Burnett said.

As a result, there will be traffic limitations for the festival for the first time around the square.

The block of Bradford Street between Spring and Washington streets, in front of Gem Jewelry Co., will be closed to motorists, Burnett said.

But he believes the closure "will add to the enjoyment by being able to have all the artists in one concentrated area, and it’s easy to get around the square just by going up to Green Street," Burnett said.

"You can still make the circle around the square. That’s the least disruptive block we could close off and accommodate the growth of the (event)."

Kids and teens have until 9 a.m. Friday to register for a booth in the Youth Artist Market, which started last year at the festival as the Children’s Artist Market, said Sheri Hooper, INK’s founder and director.

She said the name was changed to attract a broader age range.

"The first year, we had some incredible (works on display)," she said. "Looking at the applications this year, (the market) is going to be tremendous."

Hooper said the market serves as a way to show that "kids can perform in many different ways."

This year’s festival will feature entertainment, including the North Carolina-based Mountain Marionettes, and face painting by Cherry-O the clown.

Festival goers can munch on food samples provided by restaurants on the square. Also, they can place a secret bid now through Saturday on an original framed painting at Frames You-Nique at 104 Main St. on the square. Bidders don’t have to be present to win.

All of the proceeds from the auction, which is sponsored by the business and The Art League, will go to Challenged Child and Friends, a Gainesville organization that serves children with disabilities.

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