Art on the Avenue, at Last

Today was the day! Thousands of people gathered in my neighborhood for our yearly arts festival, Art on the Avenue. This outdoor street festival usually takes place in early October, but had to be postponed this year due to bad weather that day.

I was volunteering as a Block Captain, walking up and down my assigned block to stop in at the booths to see if the artists needed anything, and answering questions and giving directions to attendees. Some of the job consists of standing in an artist’s booth, watching over it while the artist leaves for a few minutes to find a snack or a bathroom. It also means I get to look oh-so-official (and oh-so-dorky) wearing a big green canvas apron with pockets, and a dayglo orange vest like security guards and construction workers wear. And I got to carry a walkie-talkie and a clipboard.

Mostly, my shift was uneventful. But we had some drama in my final ten minutes. I was near the last booth on the block, and a women who was there looking at the art suddenly started calling a boy’s name. Her four-year-old had wandered away. There was a police officer standing at the end of the block, so I ran over and told him we had a missing child. He did not seem alarmed (he later told me that missing children at such events almost always turn up safe within a few minutes). I connected him with the boy’s mother and used my handy-dandy walkie-talkie to contact my volunteer coordinator. I could hardly hear her, with musicians playing Eagles tunes right behind me, and a crowd of thousands enjoying the day. As it turns out, she couldn’t hear me either. But the little boy’s mother recovered him a few minutes later; he had just wandered away in the crowd, as four-year-olds will do.

As for art, yes, I bought some. If you know me at all, you probably knew that. I saw a small still life I loved, by an artist I’ve bought from before, and a surrealist piece from another artist I have several works from. I loved some decorative, bas-relief ceramic tiles that hang on the wall. But mostly, a large, vivid canvas of flowers and vegetation against a gorgeous watery blue background was calling to me. I was sure it would fit beautifully high on the wall in my family room. I’ve been looking for a bold piece of art for the space, without too much detail, since it will not be seen close up. I texted to my husband to get his opinion. He said it was too Impressionistic for him, but if I liked it and it wasn’t too expensive, he had no problem with it. He hardly notices art, anyway. It was rather expensive, or I probably would have just bought it on the spot. I decided to think about it a bit. But by the time I received Bob’s text, it was getting late, and I had to rush down the street to get to my assigned Block Captain block.

After my shift, I rushed back to buy that painting — and it had already sold. Oh well. So did the surrealist painting. But the little still life was still there, and would look perfect grouped with the other two painting s bythe same artist that brighten my dining room. I bought the ceramic tiles, too.

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