Topeka community explores annual Mulvane Art Fair

Angel Tolstikhina

The 24th annual Mulvane Art Fair, sponsored by the Mulvane Art Museum, opened to the public June 4 on the Union lawn of Washburn University.

The event was free for members of the museum and $10 otherwise, which allowed access into the world of art represented in tents of artists from different parts of the country. The Mulvane Art Fair had brought in a wide range of unique pieces including ceramics, jewelry, painting, photography, printmaking and sculptures that the Topeka community explored and connected to.

Laura Simone from St. Louis, Missouri, has had her own fused glass jewelry tent for 17 years.

“It has been delightful,” Simone said. “I got to talk to a lot of people and it has been really busy.”

In addition, guests of the fair enjoyed participating in the creation of their own art projects in the ArtLab tent, experimenting with water collages, tamarins and letting the wildest ideas come true.

Jenny Lang, fourth-time volunteer at the ArtLab through the Art Museum, brought her daughter along to help the kids expand their creative side.

“We both love children,” Lang said.”We come to the art tent [and] we get to play with kids and have fun.”

The event began with the Patron’s Breakfast on Saturday morning during which Topeka art lovers pledged their commitment to purchase art objects at the event. Year after year, such a commitment helps to fundraise money for a successful reoccurrence of the fair.

After the Patron’s Breakfast, more than 80 artists showcased and sold their art for two days: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Each artist had his or her own tent to display their art mediums that varied in cost as well.

Jason Wallace, who mainly photographs local places and Italy, participated for the third time at the fair after he had skipped a couple of years to create new pieces in Italy, which were displayed at this year’s fair.

“It has been fairly exciting these couple of days,” Wallace said. “The crowd is good, the weather is fantastic and the show is very well-ran. I am very impressed with it.”

To receive an opportunity of displaying their pieces at the Mulvane Art Fair, each artist was selected by a jury board of the fair and paid an entry fee. Virgil Penner from north Newton displayed his paintings for the first time.

“I applied to participate in the show through Zapple website,” Penner said. “[I] had to send pictures in, be juried and got accepted.”

Several artists came to display their pieces from different parts of Kansas including Overland Park, Silver Lake, Salina and Topeka. Other artists traveled from different states such as Texas, Georgia, Colorado, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Nebraska and Alabama.

The event also featured a live music stage with overturning singers and bands, a wine and beer garden, olive oils for sale and tasteful dining options.

The Topeka community got to see ceramic art objects in a tent hosted by the Washburn Art Student Association (WASA).

“I saw a lot of interest in student work and wonderful people coming through,” said Kathy Falk, auditor of WASA.

Mulvane Art Museum is now getting ready to start the preparation of the next Mulvane Art Fair in June of 2017.