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Gainesville square filled with artists, art lovers of all ages at annual festival
Deb Kutay of Gainesville looks at an assortment of birdhouses Saturday made by JVS Rustic Birdhouses during the annual Art in the Square event in Gainesville. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Regional artists, local organizations and art enthusiasts filled the downtown square of Gainesville at Saturday’s eighth annual Art in the Square.

From paintings to photographs and handmade jewelry to pottery, almost any kind of art could be found at the festival. Artists from all over the region were there hoping to get noticed.

Sisters Carolyn Simmons and Marcia Scroggs were among some of the regional artists on hand. 

Simmons, from Commerce, was selling her functional and folk pottery. 

“I have a friend who had a booth here last year and did well and had fun,” she said. “I decided to give it a try.”

Among her pottery were pieces made especially for Gainesville with chickens painted on them.

Scroggs, from Habersham County, was there selling her clay necklaces. She also had some art she made using antique tiles she had found in a junkyard. She said using the tiles “makes it fun.”

Although this was the sisters’ first time at Art in the Square, they have displayed their art in at least five different shows and festivals.

“At the end of the year, it will probably be about seven,” Simmons said.

Dahlonega artists Helen Miller and Chris Morris attended, Miller with Raku pottery, Morris with hand-painted pottery and earrings. 

“We do them together,” Miller said. “I also have a gallery in Dahlonega, Bleu Gallery. I have worked there and so does she.”

This wasn’t their first time at Art in the Square.

“It’s been a couple of years since we’ve been here,” Morris said.

“We’ve done it before,” Miller said. “It’s a nice location, and we’ve had fun. Nifty art.”

Nonprofit organizations also were on the square, including 11 booths by Interactive Neighborhood for Kids as a part of its Youth Artist Market, featuring young artists selling their works.

“We have anywhere from clay earrings, oil paintings to drawings,” said Sheri Hooper, founder and executive director of INK. “It’s amazing how many creative young people we have in our community.”

The young artists ages 5-18 were able to set up their art, sell it and keep the money they earned.

Hooper said this experience is  “truly creating entrepreneurs at an early age,” 

“INK is all about giving kids hands-on exhibits,” she said. “This is just an extension of what we do. It’s a good opportunity to do it.”

A silent art auction was held to benefit Challenged Child & Friends, with art donated by local artists. 

The People’s Choice Award for Favorite Artist allowed visitors to pay $1 and vote for their favorite regional artist. The winner won an award ribbon and the money raised.

“We get our artwork out there and meet some other artists,” Miller said. “We make contacts. That’s always important for an artist."