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New Flowery Branch Festival features art, music
People enjoy the first Southern Fired Art Festival on Sunday in Flowery Branch
Being an artist doesn't mean you have to be perfect.

After all, sometimes it is when you choose to draw outside the lines that you create something amazing.

Artists of all kinds united this past weekend in downtown Flowery Branch for the first Southern Fired Art Festival, which featured almost 40 artists exhibiting their work, live music, such as Ivan Duke and Alex Hall, and fun activities for kids.

Dannella Burnett, owner of Oakwood Occasions who organized the festival, said the idea for the festival sparked with Kym Pritchett, an artist with Paint It Yours Pottery, who wanted to bring an arts festival with hand-crafted sellers to the Flowery Branch area.

"I think a lot of the time, the handmade artists get lost in a festival, so I wanted to give them the opportunity to showcase their talent and bring them to the forefront and have it be all about them," Pritchett said.

"Artists who do handcrafted pieces obviously put more time into a piece," Burnett said. "If they are at a festival where you have handcrafted work right next to something that is being resold by someone, they can get lost in the middle."

Burnett said that Janet Upchurch, who owns Sample Pleasures, was a big supporter of the festival.

"One of the things that I have done with Sample Pleasures is try to bring in local art," Upchurch said. "I have tried to include more and more local art from oils to outdoor art to folk art."

Upchurch said Flowery Branch used to be known for its art community.

"We still have a lot of incredible artists around, we just haven't had a lot of things that draw them specifically to the art events," Upchurch said. "I think after this event, more people will probably get involved next year."

Especially in today's economic times, people need to be doing things that they are passionate about, Burnett said.

"This festival is local - it is about supporting each other and celebrating other people's passions," she said.

Burnett said if people walk around and look at some of the artwork, they see there is some huge talent in this area.

Burnett and Pritchett hope to continue the festival for years to come.

"We are leaning towards doing this in the spring next time, but The Southern Fired Art Festival will be either annual or maybe bi-annual," Burnett said.

Pritchett said that she hopes to add more live demonstrations as well as more activities that help get kids involved with art. "Art is probably the first thing cut in any kind of program for children, but it has been proven time and time again that art and the creativity that goes into making the art helps kids immensely in learning everything," Burnett said.

Burnett said that she believes we all have some artistic ability.

"It may not be drawing - for example, my stick figures are round - but my creativity comes out in my food as a caterer," Burnett said. "So whether it is music or working with something with your hands or being able to draw, I think that almost all of us were wired to have something creative inside of us."