Artists showcase work at Stephens Lake Art in the Park

Sunday, June 5, 2011 | 6:50 p.m. CDT
Glass candleholders crafted by Michael and Jennifer Burt dangle in the sweltering air during Art in the Park on Sunday at Stephens Lake Park. This is the 53rd year for the annual event.

COLUMBIA — After an eventful Saturday at the Columbia Art League's Art in the Park festival, more than 100 artists were once again ready to show off their work Sunday.

Artists from as far away as New York and as close as the local community packed their white tents with various types of work, including paintings, lawn ornaments, jewelry and ceramics. 

Lamp-working artist Eric Brunson of Fulton displayed his glass work for everyone at the festival to see, with hopes to sell his latest creations.

“I primarily make pendants, paperweights, marbles, Christmas ornaments and other decorative objects,” Brunson said.

Brunson has been practicing the art of lamp-working since 2003. As a laboratory technician at the Columbia Environmental Research Center, Brunson said he first learned how to work with glass after the company that supplied the center's glass shut down.

“Instead of sending off and having someone else make our glass parts, I figured it’d probably be easier for me to learn some simple lamp-working techniques,” Brunson said.

The artistic side of lamp-working came when Brunson was learning these techniques at the Pittsburgh Glass Center.

“While I was learning the stuff I needed for my job, I got exposed to the more artistic applications of glass working,” Brunson said. “I decided when I got back that I would buy a torch and an annealing oven and just try it out myself.”

For the last seven years, Brunson has been creating works of art with his glass and selling them at local art shows, as well as at Village Glass Works.

Brunson said his interest in fossils inspires the design of his glass pendants.

This is Brunson's third year showing at the Art in the Park festival.

“This has been a good festival,” Brunson said. “I don’t really produce enough to do a lot of shows, but this has been a really good show for me.”

Martha Moore, a photographer from Blue Springs, was excited to show off her photographs in her first Art in the Park festival. Moore specializes in taking photos of animals.

“I’ve always been interested in animals. I find them fascinating,” Moore said. “I also think we’re privileged to have them.”

Moore said she takes a trip a few times each year to national parks in order to shoot some of her photos. 

“Yellowstone Park is my favorite,” Moore said. “And this year, we’re going back to Yellowstone in the winter.”

She also takes day trips to parks around the Kansas City area to photograph animals in their natural habitat.

Moore said she would like to start taking dog portraits and pictures of people’s pets in the near future.

While she may be new to Art in the Park, this was not Moore’s first art fair. Moore said she participates in nearly 20 art fairs each year.

Moore said that while the hot weather has been a slight drawback, the Art in the Park festival has had a good showing overall.

“I am amazed at how many people buy art in 95 degree weather,” Moore said.

Five-year-old Olivia Watts gets a pink butterfly painted on her face by local artist Amber Atkisson in one of the activity tents during the Art in the Park festival Sunday at Stephens Lake Park.
One of Bill Brackett's metal daisies meets blue sky during the 53rd annual Art in the Park festival Sunday at Stephens Lake Park. Brackett studies plant growth and anatomy in order to make his steel sprouts mimic the growth patterns and symmetry of real flowers.
A metal giraffe made by Amy Ludwig greets visitors with a shimmering gaze for the annual Art in the Park festival Sunday at Stephens Lake Park. Artists from all over the country brought their creations to Columbia to display and sell them at the festival.
A stained-glass panel made by Michael and Jennifer Burt colorfully blurs the crowds passing by their display tent at the 53rd annual Art in the Park festival Sunday at Stephens Lake Park. To create the intricate patterns for their stained-glass windows, the Burts must cut and grind each piece of glass individually.
Artists and art enthusiasts converged for the 53rd annual Art in the Park festival Sunday at Stephens Lake Park. The festival consisted of more than 100 artist galleries and activity tents, which ran along the park's playground and walking paths.

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Toni Messina June 6, 2011 | 8:40 a.m.

This is a nice photo essay of an event that seems to get better every year. It's good for artists and for Columbia!
Congratulations to the CAL!

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