Laurel Arts Council to host second Artist Block Fair this Saturday

By day, Lisa Madden is working on computers at NASA, but when she’s out of the office, she’s making pottery by hand.

“I call it dysfunctional pottery,” the Laurel resident said, as her arthritis makes it difficult for her to use a pottery wheel. “It’s the other side of the brain, not the analytical side that fixes the computers. It gives me a break from that.”

The senior system administrator for NASA will be having her pottery works on display, including plates, small dishes and plaques, at the Laurel Arts Council’s second Artist Block Fair on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 1-4 p.m. at the Farmer’s Market Lot on the city’s Main Street.

Twenty-five artists and craftspeople and three musical groups are registered to participate in the block fair. Participants are coming from Anne Arundel, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and about a third are right from Laurel, said Kelsey Eustace, a chair of the arts council.

“Very excited that we have so many artists signed up,” said Eustace. “October is National Arts and Humanities month, It is nice we can have this event and connect to the national theme.”

This past April, thecouncil co-hosted the inaugural Artist Block Fair with the city of Laurel as part of the city’s Second Saturday program, which featured events along Main Street ton the second Saturday between April and November.

When the Second Saturday program disbanded due to WHAT?, the 11-member council decided to still host a second block fair.

“It was very important for us to provide opportunities to artists and bring more art to Main Street,” Eustace said. “Even though we are an all volunteer group, we are really trying to bring an impact and bring art to Main Street.” In the past year, the arts council has participated in three Second Saturday events, the city of Laurel’s Open House and the Main Street Block Party Ellicott City Fundraiser.

The council is also working on its first public art installation, a tile bench, Eustace said. In September, a workshop was held for participants to make the tiles and glaze them for the project, which will showcase the city’s history once completed.t been given a home just yet but it will located within the city.

The council also received a Prince George’s special appropriations grant to conduct another public arts program in the spring.

The block fair will feature fpainters, printmakers, potters, textile artists, glassworkers, jewelry makers, mixed media artists, and wood and metal makers all showcasing their work, according to Eustace. Some artists will offer demonstrations, too.

There will also be a face painter, a henna artist and food. Live music will be performed, too, including the Laurel group Rob Zuzin Trio.

Comprised of Rob Zuzin on lead vocals and guitar, Mike Landavere on drums and percussion and Kevin Armstrong on bass guitar, the group formed about six months ago, and performs classic rock by the Rollins Stones, Johnny Cash and more, as well as some blues and country, all Laurel-based resident group primarily performs classic rock covers but leans in on roots, blue and country, Zuzin said.

“We just want to have fun,” Zuzin said.

For the arts fair, the band “is looking forward to getting back on the stage with like-minded people and have a good time,” Zuzin said.

Madden, who participated in the April event, fenjoyed being able to talk to people and seeing other local artists’ work.

“It gives people something to do that is fun … [it] brings people out and let’s them meet their neighbors,” Madden said.

Angie O’Neal, a 23-year-old Laurel resident, also participated in the first fair but will be unable to attend Saturday’s event.

“I think it’s fantastic and awesome to have an avenue for local artists to display their work in the city that they reside in,” said O’Neal, a visual artist who paints still-life paintings and portraits. “We have a lot of hidden talent in the city ,” she said. “Having something like this [the fair] to say, ‘Hey, I’m an artist and this is what I do and I enjoy it, thank you so much for appreciating my work,’ is a great opportunity,”

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