Canby’s first downtown arts festival was a colorful, musical and magical success

Hundreds of people descended on Wait Park on Saturday for the whimsical celebration of all things artistic which was the first Through the Looking Glass art festival, organized by the newly revived Canby Arts Association.

The event was a showcase of a wide variety of visual arts, including painting, photography, sculpture and ceramics, glassware, weaving and more, as well as music, food, literary arts , theater and even a bit of street magic courtesy of local illusionist Scott. Anderson.

Local actress Grace Peterson charmed many attendees as Alice from Alice in Wonderlandthe favorite book of festival co-founder Shelley Arndt and one of the main themes of the event.

Photos by Tyler Franke.
Photos by Tyler Franke.

Chalk artist Emra Nation paid for his tease earlier in the week, a series of bunny footprints pointing the way to Wait Park, with two sidewalk masterpieces, one in honor of the festival of Canby and the other in homage to Alice.

Food vendors were also encouraged to adapt their menu items to the theme, such as Odd Moe’s personal heart-shaped pizzas or Wayward Sandwiches’ “Mad Hatter Burger”. (Don’t get us started on the hot dog on a stick that Wayward’s team dubbed the “Weiner Wand of Whimsy.”)

Activities for the kids abounded, including a bouncy house, Canby Kiwanis take-out art projects, face painting, and balloon animals.

Photos by Tyler Franke.
Photos by Tyler Franke.

Tyler Clawson and Hannah Ray Lambert, co-hosts of the literary podcast Between Lewis and Lovecraft also brought a unique touch to the festival by hosting several live interviews on stage at Wait Park throughout the day.

Attendees spoke positively about the new addition to Canby’s calendar of events.

“I am so in awe of Megan and Paul Waterman, Shelley and Eric Arndt and Kayla DeShazer for their hard work and creative vision,” said Luana Hill, Canby resident and longtime Kiwanian. “These are five of the best things that have happened to Canby in recent years. So nice to spend a beautiful day in the park, totally dedicated to the creative spirit.”

Photos by Tyler Franke.
Photos by Tyler Franke.

Shelley Arndt, who is president of the Arts Association and also owns Art-O-Maddic Gallery and Gifts with her husband, Eric, called the festival a success, saying they had exceeded their attendance expectations with more of 500 art lovers and curious passers-by. -by filtering throughout the day.

“I think it turned out better than any of us thought,” she said. “There were a few hiccups, but it was nothing we couldn’t handle. The audience really seemed to be having fun and that was a win in my book.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the turnout,” said Paul Waterman, association secretary and co-owner of The Book Nook. “It exceeded our expectations. After so many years with the Canby Arts Association on hiatus, there was little to base attendance on historically.

Photos by Tyler Franke.
Photos by Tyler Franke.

Founded in 1982, the Canby Arts Association is a volunteer-run non-profit organization with a rich history in Canby.

It grew out of the earlier efforts of a group of local artists known as the Canby Art Squad and did much to shape the community fabric that so many residents now enjoy, including founding the original General Canby Days and leading the construction of the iconic Wait lookout. To park.

The group led the Canby Centenary Murals on the historic Police Building by prolific muralist Larry Kangas, and also helped launch the Slice of Summer concert series and the Canby Wine and Arts Festival, as well as the Richard Brown Fine Arts Center at Canby High School.

Photos by Tyler Franke.
Photos by Tyler Franke.

But it had lain dormant for several years before the Arndts, Watermans and DeShazers came on board.

“It was a great experience for us to host a free family event in our beautiful downtown core,” said Kayla DeShazer, the association’s director of marketing. “From councilors to local business owners to families, they all said they had a wonderful time and can’t wait to go back next year.

“We also received many comments on our social media platforms from members of the Canby community who were disappointed that they could not come due to their absence. Many vendors have told me this is the best art festival they’ve been to and encouraged us to make it a two-day event next year!

Photos by Tyler Franke.
Photos by Tyler Franke.

The outpouring of positive feedback has inspired the team to look forward to next year’s festival — as well as dreaming up another new event, DeShazer teased. More to come.

Association Treasurer Eric Arndt thanked his fellow board members, the generous financial support of the Regional Arts Cultural Coalition, Clackamas County Cultural Coalition and local sponsors, as well as the many volunteers , artists and vendors who all contributed to the making of the festival in the first year. live.

“It really took a village to make this happen – including our friends and family who help keep us sane,” he said. “And of course everyone who showed up to support us or spread the word. Each element was equally necessary for this to succeed.

Photos by Tyler Franke.
Photos by Tyler Franke.

The Canby Arts Association is already planning some fun additions for next year, with entries for Through the Looking Glass Arts Festival 2023 due to open in October.

“We are excited to feature even more local artists, authors, musicians and food artists next year,” said Megan Waterman, vice president of the association and co-owner of The Book Nook.

For more information, connect with the Canby Arts Association on Facebook.

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