That handmade touch

Artists and artisans display wares to crowds at 17th Annual Arts in the Park

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comMay 19, 2013 

Everywhere she looked Sunday at the 17th Annual Arts in the Park artist Robin H. Harrell saw people she figured would be interested in her work. That's because they brought their dogs.

"There are sure a lot of animal lovers here," said Harrell, whose tent in Lakebottom Park featured portraits of a variety of dogs, including her own Gracie.

More than 25 dogs were featured in one portrait.

"There are more homes with pets than there are with children," said the Columbus woman.

When commissioned to do a pet portrait, Harrell takes a photograph of the animal and paints from that.

"It is another way to remember a beloved pet," she said.

She was glad to see a

threat of rain did not keep many people away and called Arts in the Park a "good excuse to get the community together."

Cars lined the streets.

Those in attendance walked the grounds eating polish sausages, barbecue and funnel cakes and listened to bluegrass music. Kids went down a big inflatable slide and took pony rides. Some had their faces painted.

Visitors saw not only paintings but wood sculptures, handcrafted jewelry and photography.

Antonio Grady, of Columbus, brought his three-year-old daughter, Maddi.

"She is asking me a lot of questions about the art," Grady said. "It is good that she is exposed to something like this when she is young."

Asked if she was having fun, Maddi smiled and said, "yes."

Harrell agreed with Grady that it is good to expose children to the arts. She said the children might not think about it much now, but it is the beginning of developing an appreciation.

This is the second consecutive year Harrell has brought her work to the Arts in the Park. Harrell, who studied art at Columbus State University, displayed her work several times in the early years of the event but raising children and doing a variety of jobs did not allow her to dedicate as much time to her painting.

"There is a lot of art in me that has to get out," she said. "As I get older there is an urgency about it."

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