Community Celebrates Creativity with Hazel Park Art Fair
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 1, 2019)
Hazel Park, MI – For one weekend each year, Green Acres Park transforms into a mecca of artists, makers, and performers for the annual Hazel Park Art Fair.
Local bands set the tone with music from the stage, while street performers and aerial artists dazzled those who came to walk through the loop of booths beneath the canopy of giant oak trees.
Espacia Fotiu was among the artists. With rows of collage-like, watercolor, abstract paintings, Fotiu likes that everybody sees something different in each one. Where one might see a sunset, another may see a face, or a boat. The shapes, colors, and lines may spark different feelings in each person, making it’s viewing a personal experience for those who take the time to look at what they’re seeing.
In addition to being skilled at art, Fotiu took the time to learn about building her business as an artist. She regularly does art fairs, plus she has an online store for her work. Her main piece of advice to new artists is to “be yourself” and “not to settle.”
“Don’t do art that you think people will like or will buy, do what feels right to you,” Fotiu said.
The event featured a variety of work, from freestyle crochet to hand-carved furniture, tee shirts, jewelry, and wind chimes made out of repurposed wine bottles.
Another booth featured a rainbow of items made from yarn and love. Jennifer Xerri, the woman behind Starlilly Creatons, learned to crochet as a teen while living with her grandmother Lily. She grew up to make crochet her business, and named it after her “nana.”
She said she loves being able to do something that only can be done by hand. “I love teaching other people and selling my patterns,” she said. “It’s not just about, oh here’s something I can do. It’s a dying art and I want to see more people doing it.” More of her dream catchers, scarves, and apparel can be found at https://starlilycreations.com.
Local organizations had some of the tables too, including the Hazel Park Library who has regular programs for teens and adults to make arts and crafts. Their booth featured necklaces made by members of the library’s Friends club, the sale of which helps with funding such programs.
Mullberry Hill Wildlife did have roasted coffee and cards to sell, but mostly they wanted people to know about their nonprofit located in Hazel Park.
Grace Vatai is the group’s director. Their mission is “Conserving and protecting wildlife while providing access to conservation and research opportunities, community enrichment, habitat restoration, preservation, and more. These resources help establish vital Nature connection and appreciation for all Life.”
Vatai said it’s all about helping individuals and families find small ways to help the planet and improve their own lives. “Even just taking a short walk around the block helps you grow as a person and appreciate nature,” she said.
Other tips include composting, adding native plants to one’s yard, and investing in reusable bags for groceries. “Even if someone lives in an apartment and all they have is one window, they can put a potted plant near the window and that’ s alittle thing that makes the world better,” she said.
The event was not just about the vendors. There was also a children’s area under the pavilion that had crafts, including the ability to transform sticks found in the park into magic wands. Chalk drawing and a giant Connect Four game kept kids and adults entertained.
“This is one of those things that brings the community together every year,” said City Manager Ed Klobucher. “It’s a great day for Hazel Park”
For more on the Hazel Park Art Fair visit www.hpartfair.org.