Biggest, most diverse ‘Renaissance’ set for downtown Roanoke Oct. 10

Artist Jeanne Carroll (right) shows a piece of her garden art to Sandy McGill, of Roanoke, during A Renaissance in Roanoke in 2014. This year’s arts festival will be held in downtown Roanoke on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Artist Jeanne Carroll (right) shows a piece of her garden art to Sandy McGill, of Roanoke, during A Renaissance in Roanoke in 2014. This year’s arts festival will be held in downtown Roanoke on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. TAB file photo.

This will be the eighth year that A Renaissance in Roanoke has allowed area artists and artisans to showcase their talents and sell their works in downtown Roanoke, and Rick Fischer, event organizer and president of the Roanoke Arts Council, says this year will likely be the biggest — and most diverse — yet.

“Weather plays a big factor in that, you know, and how many people show up,” he says. “The artisans themselves — we’ve gotten numerous responses … every year we always seem to get a big crop of new vendors. And then we see a lot of people we haven’t seen in a while coming back.”

Whatever the weather, the event will be held along Main Street in downtown Roanoke on Saturday, Oct. 10, starting at 10 a.m. and going until 5 p.m., featuring around 50 juried local and regional fine artists and artisans, plein air painters at work, a farmers’ market, food and entertainment throughout the day.

New this year, Fischer says, the lineup of booths will be stretched along Main Street from First Street to past Third Street, ending at Crestwoods Gallery, where several of the festival’s events will take place.

The booths themselves will be situated in the center of Main Street this year, back to back and facing the storefront buildings, allowing people to more freely meander in and out around both sides of the street and easily access the stores that may be open as well.

“The vendors will still have three sides to exhibit,” Fischer added.

Crestwoods Gallery is hosting the Plein Air Paintout competition this year and providing cash prizes for the top paintings.

“The plein air painters come in and they’ll paint. (They) pick their subject or a scene or building,” Fischer explains. At 2 p.m. at the gallery, Judge Charles Shepard, director of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, will announce a winner. The freshly painted canvasses will be on exhibit for the remainder of the day, and some may be for sale.

Crestwoods will also host an artist reception from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., showcasing 28 artists from the art department at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. Refreshments will be served at the reception.

The Renaissance in Roanoke sixth annual College Exhibition will feature juried 2D and 3D artwork created by students from local colleges, including IPFW, Manchester University and the University of Saint Francis. The exhibition will be on display at Fine Consigns, 164 N. Main St., with prizes awarded for first, second and third place. Dan Swartz, owner of Wunderkammer Company Gallery in Fort Wayne, will be the exhibition judge.

Some of those students will also have an opportunity to win a $1,000 scholarship toward their tuition, provided by the Roanoke Arts Council. A panel of three judges will examine scholarship applications.

Visitors are invited to be a judge of that exhibition as well and cast their votes for the People’s Choice Award inside Fine Consigns.
Those who hanker for some hands-on art can find a few classes in session at the American Specialty Insurance Building, at 142 N. Main St. Budding artists can take a quick painting lesson or try their hand at pottery making.

“Kids can be involved with their parents or not,” Fischer says.

Artistry in food can also be found for hungry visitors. Food trucks and booths will be set up at the intersection of Third and Main streets, with cuisine ranging from Mexican to Sushi. Ragin’ Cajun, Naked Tchopstix and Sol Kitchen trucks will be represented, along with Roanoke favorites Moose and Mollie’s, La Dolce Vita and the Roanoke Lions Club. Also open will be the Village Inn and Joseph Decuis Emporium, both located downtown on Main Street.

The Roanoke Farmers’ Market will also be going Saturday, located in the parking lot behind The Trove, also at Third and Main. The fall fare offered by vendors includes seasonal fruits, vegetables, soaps, candles, arts and crafts, and gourmet popcorn and fudge.

Entertainment during the day begins at 10:15 a.m. with the Huntington Children’s Choir. At 10:45 a.m. musician and singer Joe Justice will take over and provide entertainment throughout the rest of the day. Fischer describes Justice as a “one-man band.”

“He’s very diverse,” Fischer said. “He does quite a variety of top 40 hits, both country and older tunes too, from the ’60s and ’70s era. We’re really impressed with him.”

But the stars of the show will be the artists, whose booths will offer many different kinds of art, from oil paintings to creatively-styled clothing and leather accessories. Booths will also display oil and watercolor paintings, wood, jewelry, sculptures, photography, clay and ceramics and glass art.

Ruth Marsh, who coordinates the vendors, says there will be something for everyone this year, with around 50 vendors expected to set up shop.

“We have a good variety of vendors coming,” she says. “For the Renaissance, everything has to be hand made. It’s a juried show. Some jewelers can’t get into the actual art fair, but we allow some to participate in the farmers’ market section.”

Several new vendors will be at the show this year, including two new woodworkers, a new fiber and fabric artist, a leather worker and several potters. Some will also demonstrate their skills at their booths.

Fischer says the committee is still accepting last-minute artisans who are interested in being in the show. For more information, visit A Renaissance in Roanoke on Facebook.