Saturday, June 2nd, the34th Annual Coolidge Corner Arts Festival and 5th Annual Brookline Food Festival were held on the grounds and in the cafeteria of the Devotion School. The weather was damp and dreary, but die-hard Festival fans and participants alike enthusiastically kept the tradition alive.
Organizer Lea Cohen explained “In its 34 years, the Coolidge Corner Arts Festival has generated a devoted following, both among the artists and everyone from collectors to the casual browser. It is those folks who made Saturday’s festival a success despite the rain and soggy conditions. Twenty of our 83 accepted artists were willing to take the chance with Mother Nature, unloaded their cars, vans and trucks to set up the displays of their wares. They were all rewarded by a great turn out of shoppers. Some made sales equal to their best and sunniest past Coolidge Corner Arts Festivals. It was an intrepid bunch that braved the elements and subjected themselves and their artwork to the rain and slog. And they were glad they did.”
A Festival regular, James Guggina of James Guggina Ceramics agreed. Identifying himself as “one of the artists who ‘risked’ the weather”, Guggina was glad to participate in the event again this year despite the soggy conditions. He said of the day, “I set up and broke down in the pouring rain. I didn’t melt away, and I’m still here to tell about it. Loads of people with umbrellas and rain coats showed up to the show, and I made sales from 10am until 6pm. I had one of the best, if not the best, Coolidge Corner shows ever.” He credits Lea Cohen and the whole CCAF staff with “putting on yet another great show.”
While some wondered early on if the Festival would still be held under such rainy conditions, Cohen explained, “We decided years ago not to offer a rain date. That the event would be held rain or shine. To bring an event like this to the heart of Coolidge Corner we have to coordinate with a great school staff, the DPW and police dept. We get one shot a year and try to make the best of it.”
While the weather demanded a little flexibility, some of the Festival’s traditions remained untouched. This year, the Susan Lichter Jury Prize, awarded in memory of former committee member, was presented to handblown glass artiist Tony Faith. A resident of South Deerfield, MA, Faith holds a BFA from UMass Amherst, and studied at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts with Jose’ Chardiet and Jack Wax and at Pilchuck Glass School with Robbie Miller and John Drury. He taught at Snow Farm School for Crafts, and currently sells his glass art at local galleries and regional craft shows.
That not even the soggiest of days kept Art Fesitval fans away is testament to its staying power and the amazing collections of participating artists. CCAF Organizers Lea Cohen, Lisa Clark, Mike Kerstein, Jennifer Hill and Sue Stein went above and beyond to ensure this year’s event was a success, providing ample reason to look forward to next year.
By Catie Hayes, Editor