Washburn hosts 22nd annual Mulvane Art Fair

The first day of Washburn University’s 22nd annual Mulvane Art Fair began Saturday, June 7.

The fair is an opportunity for artists from both Kansas and other states to exhibit and sell their work. This year 90 artists displayed their art at the fair. The artists each have their own tent in which to display their work. The exhibitions cover a wide variety of art, including paintings, jewelry, photographs, figurines, pottery, clothing and even plants. Prices for the artwork range anywhere between a few dollars into the hundreds.

While there are artists from many cities in Kansas, such as Lawrence, Lenexa, Overland Park and Topeka, other states are represented as well. Artists have traveled from Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas to present and try to sell their art.

Anthony Grant, a resident of Louisville, Colo., traveled to the Mulvane Art Fair to sell his abstract representation paintings, which are made mostly of oils and some acrylics. He said this is his first time at the Mulvane Art Fair but he goes to about 16 art festivals a year. He sells his art for a living.

Stacey Utech, local artist from Topeka, offered intricate fused glass at her exhibit. This is her third year at the fair.

“It’s been a really good show for me,” said Utech. “This is the only show I do, really. It’s a good show for me usually every year.”

The art fair is put on by a volunteer committee, chaired by Jeanie Schuler.

“This is the 22nd year for this art fair,” said Schuler. “This is the first time I’ve been the chairperson, the third year I’ve worked on the committee. It has been a pretty good turnout considering it was raining when we started.”

Artists from around the country are able to follow news of the art fair online.

“We actually use an online publication that artists follow and so they’re looking for art fairs and we have a lot of repeat artists also, and so they like it here,” said Schuler. “They like our patrons, and so they will come back.”

Artists secure a spot at the Mulvane Art Fair by submitting their work to the committee who then has two jurors evaluate the art and determine which artists will be accepted into the fair. The two jurors are Bob Soppelsa, who taught art history at Washburn from 1981 to 2002 and directed the Mulvane Art Museum from 1995 to 2002, and Carol Emert, who graduated from Washburn with a bachelor of fine arts and worked at the Mulvane Art Museum for 29 years.

Food vendors selling items such as hot dogs, barbeque, corn dogs and funnel cakes, and live music were also present at the fair.

An early morning rain had kept crowds down initially but by 11:30 a.m. the fair was quite busy.

“My mom comes every year so I come with her,” said Erica Koontz, Topeka, a browser and customer. “I’ve already bought a couple things, a couple paintings. I’ve been here a few years but my mom’s come for several years.”

The Mulvane Art Museum continues Sunday, June 8 at 10 a.m. and concludes at 4 p.m.

For more information on the Mulvane Art Fair, visit www.mulvaneartfair.org