Festivalgoers look at industrial, romantic-inspired jewelry during the 2018 Art and Apples Festival in Rochester Municipal Park.

Festivalgoers look at industrial, romantic-inspired jewelry during the 2018 Art and Apples Festival in Rochester Municipal Park.

File photo by Erin Sanchez

Art and Apples Festival to open two hours early Sept. 6

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published August 28, 2019


ROCHESTER — Art lovers can explore the Art and Apples Festival two hours earlier this year.

The 54th annual Art and Apples Festival, produced by the Paint Creek Center for the Arts, will welcome patrons for the festival’s first “soft opening” 2-4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, in Rochester Municipal Park, west of Main Street and north of University Drive.

“It will give people an opportunity, if they have a busy weekend, to get out and enjoy the festival a little early on Friday,” said PCCA Executive Director Beth Chilton. “We are experimenting with the idea of opening at 2 p.m., and we call it a soft opening because there are some artists and vendors who aren’t going to be ready at 2 p.m. We are hoping that most people are ready, but we aren’t guaranteeing it.”

Following the soft opening, the festival’s on-average 85,000 annual visitors can stop by the festival during its traditional hours: 4-7:30 p.m. Sept. 6, 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Sept. 7 and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 8.

The Paint Creek Center for the Arts evolved from the Art and Apples Festival in 1983, the same year it took over the festival management. Since then, the center has continued to produce the annual event, which serves as the nonprofit’s largest annual fundraiser.

“It generates more than half of the income for the Paint Creek Center for the Arts every year, so it is a very important fundraiser for us. It’s just crucial to our survival to have this be a successful festival, so we really want people to come out for it,” Chilton said.

A suggested $5 tax-deductible donation per person at each entrance to the festival will provide funding for the PCCA, which works year-round to promote the arts and artistic excellence through art education, exhibitions, an art market, outreach programs and more. Other nonprofit organizations that benefit from a portion of the entrance donations include the St. John Rochester Youth Group, Music Shapes, the Adams High School boys swim team, the Rochester University Theatre Department and the Onyx Theatre Troupe-Skating Team.

Nearly 300 artists from across the nation will tempt art enthusiasts with unique works in a variety of mediums, including textiles, paintings, glasswork, wood, pottery, jewelry, photography, sculpture and more. Artists are selected to participate in the show by a panel of jurors.

Michael Riley, a sculpture artist from Rochester Hills, will return to the festival for his sixth year. Riley tuned and restored antique pianos for over 30 years before shifting his talents to transform musical instruments headed for the dumpster into artful sculptures in his studio, Roundhouse Sculptures.

“My principal business, that of antique piano restoration, started to wind down as the economy tanked, so during that time I had to do something else,” he said. “I had a neighbor who was quite an artist, and he came over to my shop one day, saw one of my pieces that I had — just as a hobby — made, and he said, ‘Quit doing pianos. Start doing art.’”

The Art and Apples Festival is just 7 miles from Riley’s house, which he really enjoys.

“The availability of a quality show this close to home is just fantastic,” he said. “Artists drive from around the country to come here.”

After perusing the art, parents can let their children check out the popular — and free — Meijer Kids Art Zone, which offers face painting, balloon animals, temporary tattoos, inflatables, make-and-take art projects from the Detroit Institute of Arts and the PCCA, and more.

New to the festival this year is the Manpower Creation Station — located near the duck pond — which will allow adults and teens to pay to participate in hands-on art activities such as screen printing a souvenir bag, using a Shibori tie-dyeing technique to make a souvenir T-shirt, creating an acrylic tile or pouring a candle. Live glass blowing and ceramic wheel throwing demonstrations will also be featured.

Those ready for some entertainment can head to the band shell to watch a variety of performances on the main stage in Rochester Municipal Park.

Festivalgoers can also enjoy a variety of food offerings — including an abundance of fresh apple treats, such as fritters, strudels, streusels and caramel apples — throughout the weekend.

The Art and Apples Festival is consistently ranked among the top art festivals of its kind in the nation. For 2019, the festival was once again ranked in the nation’s Top 10 Fine Art and Design Festivals by Sunshine Artist magazine, out of a list of more than 2,000 that are reviewed.

“We’re very excited about that,” Chilton said. “We are doing so many things to ensure that people are excited about this year’s festival and that they want to ... make this a tradition for every year, because we really want to connect with each new generation as they come along.”

Genisys Credit Union is returning as the festival’s presenting sponsor this year.

For more information, visit www.artandapples.com.