For the first Second Thursday of the 2018 season, there will be live entertainment, poetry readings and a variety of artwork available as the Laurel Arts Council is partnering with the city to organize the event. For the young organization – it was formed last September – the event is a chance to showcase itself and get involved with the community.
“We’re very excited,” said Kelsey Eustace, chair, of the Laurel Arts Council. “This is the first time for us to co-host. We were invited to participate last October and had a table only.”
This is the second year for the Second Saturday program, which runs from April through November (except in May, which is the Spring Festival) and is sponsored by the Laurel Board of Trade.
“Second Saturday is a community event to help promote the Main Street area, bring more visitors to the area, and to encourage shopping local from both the vendors participating in the Second Saturday events and the locally owned stores located on Main Street,” said Leigha Steele, economic development coordinator for the city, in an email.
Each Second Saturday has a theme, and on April 14, it is the Artist Block Fair. To help the young organization, the standard vendor fee was waived, allowing artists to participate for free. The event is also free to the public.
“We have over 25 artists currently signed up,” said Eustace, listing jewelry, face painting, drawings, visual arts, a doll maker, sculpture. live performances and poetry readings.
“We were hoping for 10 artists. We’re overwhelmed that we have over 25,” she said.
The Arts Council will also have a table at the event to promote its goals, which include the installation of public art works, contests and more.
“We want to create a piece of public art to reflect the history of Laurel,” Eustace said. “We have applied for a grant.”
Cheryl Dyer, a former art teacher and a member of the arts council, is leading the project, which she envisions as a cement bench made with tiles either created by individuals or using molds she has designed featuring various Laurel landmarks like the train station.
“Anybody can do it,” Dyer said. “We can have a workshop for making them and then I will fire them. A second workshop will be for glazing and I will fire them again.”
Another good first project, Eustace believes, will be a photography contest featuring places in Laurel.
“Almost anyone can participate. Just take a picture,” she said.
A panel would review the photos and select ones for a possible calendar, Eustace added.
Dyer is also reaching out to local schools and senior centers for their involvement in projects.
“A lot of people have never heard of the arts council. They still don’t know we exsist,” Dyers said. “We have open meetings once a month. Our newsletter features a local artist a month.”
The 11 council members – all volunteers- were interviewed and selected by Mayor Craig Moe.
“We’re a very diverse group,” Eustace said.
By hosting the Second Saturday event, the Council hopes to attract more individuals to its programs.
“The April art event is a way to engage all residents and is an opportunity for all artists,” Eustace said. “We would love Laurel residents to come out and attend.”
Laurel Main Street’s Second Saturday “Artist Bolck”will take place on April 14, from 1 to 3 p.m., at 378 Main St. For more information, go to firstname.lastname@example.org or secondsaturdaylaurel.com.