At Goffstown’s Uncommon Art on the Common Festival on Saturday, Aug. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., art will be created in real time.
Thirty artists will show and sell their finished work in various media, including oils, pastels, watercolors, photography, jewelry, fiber arts, beading and sculpture. However, many artists will also be creating new works throughout the day while visitors watch.
“We invite all of our artists to paint, draw, do whatever it is they do, right alongside their booth. We’ll have any number of painters producing new, original work that day, and everything on display is for sale,” said Robbie Grady, executive director of Goffstown Main Street.
Artwork will be scattered throughout downtown, on lawns, on greens, on the sidewalk — tents will be placed throughout Goffstown’s parks and lining Main Street.
“Goffstown is a rather large town, but our downtown is a village. It has a village scope, with yards, parks, walkable areas. Part of it is in a national historic district,” Grady said. “It provides a nice backdrop for New Hampshire artists.”
Local artists, like Nina Duval, will be showing their work and demonstrating their crafts throughout the day.
“I work with a lot of mediums — painting, photography, printmaking … there, I’ll probably be working on a watercolor,” Duval said. “But my daughters will also be showing some of their work,” said Duval, whose daughters are 15, 13 and 11. “I’ll sometimes go to the New Hampshire craftsman fair in Sunapee, but up there, everything is juried, whereas this is not a juried event. It gives newer, up-and-coming artists a place to show their things, to get out there and get exposure,” she said.
This is one of the few shows she takes part in each year. “With four kids, I don’t always have the chance to show far and wide,” she said. Not only does Goffstown’s Uncommon Art on the Common enable her to show her work, but the festival also enables her to admire other artists’ work.
“I enjoy going from tent to tent to see what people are doing, to see their process,” Duval said.
Right now, her work is also featured at the Local Color Gallery (35 Main St., Goffstown). The gallery features work by artists from all over the town, and on this day, visitors will be able to meet the artists who created these pieces. “It was meant to be a temporary installation, but the landlord was very generous — he gave us an opportunity to turn this vacant storefront into a gallery for a short period of time,” Grady said.
This year, kids will also be making a splash of color in the Common. The Kids’ Paint Out event lets young visitors pick up a brush and create something fabulous on the spot.
“Everybody should be an artist, but somewhere along the line we talk ourselves out of that. Kids haven’t yet made that judgment,” Grady said. “Last year, they made beautiful artwork,” she said. She has a piece of artwork from last year’s event still hanging in her office, a painting of aquatic life by Lily Cadorette.
“When I see a professional artist at work, I marvel at what they can accomplish. Just to see the process, to see how colors are layered, is exciting. When you don’t do something, you really don’t know how certain pieces come to be, but watching it, from sketch to final product, is a learning experience,” Grady said.
Goffstown Main Street organizers want two things to happen at this festival, Grady said: They want festival-goers to gain an appreciation for New Hampshire art, and they want visitors to invest in Goffstown, to shop and dine here and enjoy the town.
“This is a good place to be, and to make this known is one of the Goffstown Main Street program’s goals,” Grady said. “Everything we do is to remind people that downtowns are important, that Goffstown is important. We preserve our unique character — this isn’t anywhere in the U.S.,” she said. “We’re building a sense of community here.”