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!

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