Gwinnett County Arts Festival: Barefoot in the Park, May 9-10 2015

Duluth town greeThe heart of any successful arts festival depends upon a combination of great weather, skilled artisans, delicious food, enjoyable entertainment, and a beautiful venue.  Barefoot in the Park, May 9-10th, guarantees all of those components, except for Mother Nature!

Showcasing approximately 50 artists and a variety of 20 performance groups, the upcoming 2015 Barefoot in the Park is an annual Mother’s Day Weekend event that has become a Northeast Georgia tradition. An acclaimed mix of jewelers, painters, photographers, potters, sculptors, wood workers, and a folk artist, will display their beautiful and unique works on the scenic Duluth Town Green.

Starting Saturday, May 9, this group of talented individuals will welcome visitors to view their artistic offerings. Hours for Barefoot in the Park are 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Saturday, May 9th and 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday, May 10th. Friendly, leashed dogs are welcome accompanied by their human companions.

Vendors will travel from such distant locations as Michigan, Ohio, and Texas, and from our Southeastern neighbor states, to welcome Barefoot in the Park patrons. One artisan is Ceramicist Sam Hitchman, who will be traveling to Duluth from his Cincinnati studio for a third consecutive Barefoot in the Park appearance. He cites the “supportive, friendly environment” as the primary reason for his journey. Participating in both large arts festivals, which include hundreds of vendors, as well as smaller festivals, like Barefoot in the Park that has more select offerings, Hitchman enjoys the relaxed pace and our beautiful venue as his reasons for returning.

Local oil painters and 2 Smith Art Gallery owners, Larry & Pam Smith, began their tenure with Barefoot in the Park in 2005, the introductory year of this annual event. Mr. Smith won “Best of Show” in 2013 and the “Merit Award” both last year and in 2009. His area of artistic expertise is “Impressionistic landscapes” while Pam’s specialty is as a portrait artist of both humans and canines, so the couple offers a variety of talents.

Meeting as Auburn University students, they opened their gallery in December 2012, located at 3150 Main Street, Suite 101. 2 Smith Art Gallery also offers classes for aspiring painters. Larry Smith’s teaching talents will be showcased at the Binders Art Village, along with demonstrations by an array of Barefoot in the Park artists. View the complete schedule of classes and demonstrations.

Performance entertainment is equally as diverse at the 2015 Barefoot in the Park festival. The Atlanta Chinese Dance Company is a crowd favorite and has also performed annually since the festival began.  This Norcross-based group, founded in 1991, has mentored an estimated 300 students in the art of Chinese dance. Comprised of women, and currently three young men, the troop of 80 performers ranges in age from the youngest at age 4, to the oldest at age 60 who is a group-veteran of 20 years.

Artistic Director Hwee Eng Y. Lee and her daughter, Kerry Lee, make up the innovative team who inspires these “Chinese Humans & Super Humans.”  All of the troop’s colorful and ornate costumes are handcrafted in China. Several troop performers have ascended to larger stages, including Kerry Lee, who for two years performed professionally in New York City with several dance companies.

The Atlanta Chinese Dance Company will grace the Main Stage from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., Sunday, May 10th. The group’s most recent performance was April 4th in front of a near-capacity crowd at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center.

The City of Duluth and Barefoot in the Park arts festival welcome you, family members and friends this upcoming Mother’s Day Weekend to the beautiful Duluth Town Green.  Shop, eat and be amazed by the variety of arts, activities, food, and talented performers all scheduled for the 2015 event!

Celebrate Barefoot in the Park 2015 on the Duluth Town Green

Shoes might be optional, but fun is guaranteed at the 11th Annual Barefoot in the Park.  This celebratory first spring event occurs May 9 – 10 on the beautiful and spacious Duluth Town Green.  Offering an eclectic mix of artistry, food, music, hands-on learning, performances by talented locals, Barefoot in the Park has become a memorable Mother’s Day Weekend tradition for many families, adults, or anyone else enjoying the much anticipated arrival of spring.  After a long melancholy winter of hibernation, Barefoot in the Park offers the perfect venue for escaping outdoors!

Barefoot in the Park

An expected 60 exhibits by acclaimed artists will welcome first-day visitors May 9th. Friendly leashed canines can tour the booths with their owners, starting at 10:00a.m., to enjoy the festive atmosphere.   Rain or shine, this event is one of the best and was granted the “Community Impact Award for A Visual Arts Organization” in 2014 by Artworks Gwinnett.  Parking is abundant and admission is free, so no more excuses!  Come enjoy the festivities with friends, neighbors or new acquaintances in scenic Downtown Duluth.

Participatory artists expected at 2015 Barefoot in the Park, include those talented in acrylics, folk artistry, glassblowing, jewelry, photography, and pottery, both metal and wood sculpting, watercolor, and woodworking.   The Student Art Exhibit area will spotlight Duluth youth, and a Silent Auction will offer adults the opportunity to bid on a gamut of unique items.

After viewing and potentially purchasing some of the Barefoot in the Park art, how about creating your own?  The Jay Shapiro Adult Learning Village is a hands-on artistic experience for interested students of all ages.  Kudos to Binders Art Supply and Frames, one of our 2015 sponsors, for a busy two-day schedule of lecturers who will share their talents with aspiring amateurs.  Attendees can enjoy learning techniques specific to acrylics and oils, calligraphy, pastels, pottery, converting recycled objects into art, stained glass, and watercolors.  View the list of lecturing artists.

Delectable gourmet food is another reason why many visitors frequent Barefoot in the Park, and this year is no exception!  Proof of the Pudding will offer their catering talents with an assortment of delicious items for all discerning palates.  Beverages to accompany the chef-inspired cuisine include “adult” options from the Beer Garden, with both wine and beer available.  All drinks and food items can be consumed while visiting the booths or other performance areas.

Along with the artistry, hands-on learning, and the gourmet cuisine, included in this two-day celebration is also a montage of beautiful music, and a multitude of spirited dance performances.  Featured first on the Main Stage, Saturday at 11:00 a.m., the Gwinnett Community Band is a talented group of area citizens, and always a crowd pleaser with their diverse repertoire of patriotic and fan favorites.  The early afternoon performers include the Atlanta Harmony Celebration at 12:20 p.m., Compa Flamenco at 1:05 p.m., and the Lawrenceville Community Orchestra, scheduled for 1:50 p.m.

The Second Stage venue doubles the entertainment options for this year’s Barefoot in the Park guests.  The Mexican Ballet Azteca opens the Saturday line-up with a 12:30 p.m. performance. The Green Flag Band is scheduled at 1:00 p.m., with an encore by Compa Flamenco occurring at 2:15 p.m.  View the complete listing of scheduled Saturday and Sunday stage events.

Come join the fun this year and enjoy one or both Barefoot in the Park days with your mother, another special someone, or just solo.  An estimated crowd of 12,000 visited our successful 2014 event.  If you missed us last year, it is time to experience one of the best artist forums in the Southeast, while also finding a unique gift for a memorable Mother’s Day.

Our thanks to the sponsors who help make Barefoot in the Park possible.  Including Binders, we appreciate the generosity and support of Costco, the Duluth Fine Arts League, Forrestall CPAs, the Georgia Trail at Sugarloaf, Graphic Communications, Gwinnett Medical Center, Gwinnett Magazine, Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts, The McGarity Group, Mobile Communications, Primerica, and our advertising partner, Rock, Paper, Scissors.

We hope to see you Mother’s Day Weekend and “Come Capture the Spirit of Good Living” with a future visit to Duluth for Barefoot in the Park or one of our many upcoming scheduled summer activities!