Mt. Lebanon hosts Art in the Park

Published Sep 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm (Updated Sep 25, 2013 at 10:39 am)

An ordinary parking lot in Mt. Lebanon will be transformed into an art-lover’s paradise Oct. 5 and 6 for the 12th annual Art in the Park fundraiser, sponsored by the Mt. Lebanon Sunrise Rotary Club and the Mt. Lebanon Police Association.

“We have been so very pleased with the overwhelming community support of this event year after year,” said Nate Navela, president of the Mt. Lebanon Sunrise Rotary Club.

Art in the Park or Art in the Park-ing lot, as it is often called since moving from Mt. Lebanon Park two years ago, will be held in the Academy Avenue parking lot.

“It grows every year,” said Suzi Neft, who has helped out with the event for the past few years. It is estimated that nearly 5,000 people will attend the event.

The two-day juried arts and crafts show enables artists to display and sell their works. Arts and crafts include oil, watercolor, pastel, textiles, weaving, needlework, florals, glass, ceramics, jewelry, photography, wire sculpture and woodcarving. Prices range from $10 to $5,000.

Judges for Art in the Park include Tamara Pavlock of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and George Nichols of South Arts. A best-in-show, second, third and five honorable mentions will be awarded.

In the past two years, Art in the Park has raised more than $40,000 for local organizations. In the dozen years it’s been in existence, the event has raised approximately $240,000 for charity. Most of the money stays in the Mt. Lebanon and South Hills area and has been distributed to organizations such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Club, Lifespan Senior Centers, the Mt. Lebanon Police Association, the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department and the Mt. Lebanon and Dormont Libraries.

The event starts at 10 a.m. Oct. 5 and runs until 6 p.m. Hours Oct. 6 are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. In addition to the artists, there will be activities for children including face painting and a booth where they can make their own bracelets. Food vendors will also be on hand.

Elaine Rosenfield, of the Mt. Lebanon Sunrise Rotary Club has been involved in Art in the Park since its inception. As event coordinator, she said most of the artists at the festival are from the South Hills but others come from Portersville, Morgantown and Pittsburgh.

“There’s a lot of talent in this area,” Rosenfield said.

Stephen Douglas and Blake Anthony are two local talents featured at Art in the Park. Both are from Mt. Lebanon.

For the sixth year in a row, Douglas will be selling his handcrafted metal art.

“For me, it’s in my backyard,” said Douglas, who owns Dark Waters Metal in Carnegie. “There’s always the right amount of people,” Douglas said he likes Art in the Park because he’s allowed to demonstrate his metalwork and forging at the festival.

“The forging really draws attention,” Douglas said. “Every time I look up, it’s a different crowd,” he said.

Douglas will have two booths at Art in the Park. One booth will feature smaller metal art pieces for sale and the other booth will be a designated work/demonstration space. Douglas said he also works with individuals from the ground up to help them design pieces to compliment their homes. He makes anything from railing, to fireplace screens to flowers – all using metal forging.

This year’s Art in the Park will be the first for Anthony as a vendor. He’d been a buyer at past festivals.

Anthony and his girlfriend, Laura Sendacook, operate Pittsburgh Pottery from the basement of their home. While Anthony has been making pottery for nearly 15 years, he only started his business nine months ago.

Most of his pottery is Pittsburgh-themed. He uses black and gold as the primary colors in his mugs and bowls.

In addition to the wares of Douglas and Anthony, some of the more interesting items include metal chain art, figurines made from olive wood, blown glass and handmade ceramic beads made into jewelry.

“Everything’s original,” Rosenfield stressed.

Since Art in the Park is running at the same time as the Plein Air art event, Rosenfield added, “it makes for a very artsy week in Mt. Lebanon.”

Quick facts

What: Mt. Lebanon Art in the Park

When: Oct. 5-6

Times: 10-6 Saturday; 10-5 Sunday

Where: Academy Avenue parking lot

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