Columbia Art League kicked off its 46th annual Art in the Park celebration Saturday with an interesting visitor.
A Great Horned Owl was on display at the art show, giving art enthusiasts a surprise as they strolled along Broadway at Stephens College from one booth to the next. Part of the Raptor Rehabilitation Project sponsored by MU's College of Veterinary Science, the live owl was perched on Amber Edwards's left arm.
"We came two years ago and were invited by an artist this year," said Edwards, an education coordinator for the program. "We want to encourage people to want to draw, to want to paint nature. We want people to bring out nature in their artwork."
The owl and its accompanying booth were just one of 100 booths at the event this year. Their artwork ranged from silver jewelry to framed original art to pottery.
Columbia Art League's Executive Director Jill Stedem said 25 of the 96 artists present are from Boone County while the rest are from out of the
area. About 175 volunteers helped to put on the art show.
New this year is a raffle of various pieces of art that benefits the
Columbia Art League. Also new is the Children's Entertainment Stage, which
is sponsored by KOPN/89.5 FM /89.5 FM Radio.
"It's great we can provide entertainment for such a diverse group of
people," Stedem said. "We try to add new things every year, and the artists
have been wonderful."
Columbia resident Georgia Ferguson brought her 3-year-old granddaughter,
Juniper, to the event.
"There's so much stuff here for adults, they needed to do something for the kids," Ferguson said. "It's a great addition, different and creative. She [Juniper] responded to the children's activities because it's such an interactive thing."
The Main Stage Entertainment lineup included some new faces as well. The New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Angela Hagenback are among those who are performing for the first time this year at the event.
Good entertainment is what helps bring the people to the event year after year, said local artist Sandy Smith. Smith is a functional potter who is participating in her seventh year of at Art in the Park.
"The people in Columbia have a good level of sophistication when it comes to art," Smith said. "They appreciate it, and that's what brings them here every year."
Columbia Art League's Art in the Park will continue today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. just east of Broadway and College Avenue.