When I picture a festival that celebrates art, I’m not sure what to think. I guess, I don’t get overly psyched. I mean, photographs and paintings are cool, but I can see them at any museum or, as is the case almost every day, the excellent photo blogs I see constantly. Yet, Green Bay’s Art Street, a three day festival in the heart of the city’s downtown, showcased the many facets of the mind’s creativity, from paintings and ceramics to theatre and music. The incredible talent, and the entertaining qualities of the artist’s work, caused me to turn to Heidi and admit that I was pleasantly surprised.
We arrive downtown and immediately, as we emerge from Main Street and see the conglomeration of white tents lining streets and intersections, my interest is piqued. There is definitely a festive atmosphere off to my left. We park in the Cherry Street ramp which is free today, as we find a spot easily.
We enter the soiree that doesn’t require invitation, and doesn’t ask for an entrance fee. The moment I do, my mouth is watering due to the aromas emanating from the food court. Here, local businesses are showing off their cuisine in delicious fashion.
Along with the court, a large stage is propped in front of many tables and chairs. The stage is said to host music, dance, literary and theatrical performances under its lights. As the headlining bands are set for the evening, one could delight in a late dinner while listening to some live music as they ate.
We pass the food section and idle stage for now, and make our way towards the art booths or tents or stands- whatever you want to call them. This is where I’m pleasantly surprised. The art is interesting and there’s talent involved. We feast our eyes on a wide array here, as Heidi and I discover if we ever hit Splitsville it would be due to artistic differences.
She likes the serene landscapes, calmer artistry and fun stimuli. I like the abstracts that compel the mind, brightly colored paintings and am less inclined to cutesy. Yet despite our differences, like any good couple, we definitely find common ground in plenty of what we see-just not the ones that make us say, “Wow! Look at that!” Actually, now that I think about it, there were a few we both really liked. I just can’t afford $700 for an amazing painting.
There’s more than the many paintings and photographs here. I am uplifted by an older gentleman whistling away on a wooden flute. I also see belly dancers, ceramics, metal and glass sculptures, tie-dyed clothing along with other fun and interesting crafts.
As we navigate the downtown streets, and find compelling booth after compelling booth, I have to say I’m entertained by the creativity. We discover everything from cutesy art, suitable for a children’s room, to more edgy and darker stuff. There’s not a lot of dark expressions, just enough to let you know that the genre exists.
After we peruse the many items, wishing we had the cash and space at home for some of these unique proofs of talent, we decide to check out the band. Heidi and I enter the square packed with a ton of people as this typical rock band, accompanied with horns, plays renditions of songs that differ from the norm.
After Heidi gets a bite to eat, and we try a couple craft brews from the Art Street Pub, We enjoy the music, as Heidi savors her pulled pork with mac and cheese from Chef Fusion.
Finally, we decide to meander towards a Washington Street bar with 100 craft beers on tap, known as Ned Kelley’s. I try a fruity concoction spiced up with some habanero peppers. Heidi asks for samples of every Ocoberfest they have on tap and settles for one. We watch the Brewer game and then sit along a garage door wall that is opened, allowing us a view of the festive Art Street and also Passersby.
This whole scene helps the downtown area businesses. People, like us, may saunter into an establishment after enjoying the festive grounds. The entire setting is lively and fun with out an inkling of rowdiness. I will return. Maybe, I’ll save my pennies for a cool $700 painting. As for now, I’ll just marvel at the quality artistry that abounds on Art Street.