Standalone Art on the Parish Green-2

Pottery gets the attention of a group of people during Art on the Parish Green at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in 2017.

The popular Art on the Parish Green festival celebrates its 13th year this weekend at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 11th and Main streets in downtown New Albany.

The event, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, features nearly 100 select fine arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, a beer/wine garden, live music, a YMCA Kids Art Place, and a Jazz Mass on the Grass Sunday at 10 a.m.

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Below is a Q&A with festival coordinator Fran Fach about this year’s event.

Question: What’s new for this year’s Art on the Parish Green [AoPG]?

Answer: Well, some things are always new — like about 25 to 30% of our artists are new to AoPG, and we always have several new jazz, bluegrass and classic rock musicians to add to the Music Tent. This year we’ve actually added a whole new venue for music — we’re scheduling quiet and more relaxing music in the church sanctuary both afternoons of the festival, so if folks go inside to enjoy the air conditioning and cool off, they’ll have instrumental and vocal musicians to chill with. The big news this year is our new beer sponsor, Donum Dei Brewstillery, will be supplying all of the brew for our beer and wine garden, joining Best Vineyards Winery there. Besides our returning food trucks, we also have Dock Seafood’s new food truck. Of course, we’ve got some sweet treats and even Lemon Shake-ups this year, so there’s no excuse for being hungry.

Q: How does Art on the Parish Green stand out from other art festivals in the region?

A: The most common thing I’ve heard when people talk about the festival is the atmosphere: it feels like a small town community festival; everyone is so friendly; it’s just the right size; the artists and craftspeople are right there at the booths so visitors can actually see who made the jewelry or painted the landscape. We focus on local and regional arts and crafts, and you won’t find any commercially made products. That just isn’t what we’re here for — we’re creating a venue where artists and craftspeople can meet the public and create a following for their work. We’re also building on the growing interest in downtown New Albany because we are a downtown church, and we want people from all around the region to have a reason to come downtown and explore all the exciting things that are going on here. And, of course, we are very family friendly — the Floyd County Family YMCA is a great partner in planning and running the program in our Kids’ Art Place tent all weekend.

Q: What does it mean to raise money each year for St. Paul’s Shepherd Kitchen through Art on the Parish Green?

A: St. Paul’s is in an ideal downtown location to operate a ministry like Shepherd’s Kitchen. We dish up 70 to 80 hot meals every Friday night of the year, and we have no paid staff — it’s eight teams of volunteers who rotate to provide cooks, servers and the clean-up crew for those meals. St. Paul’s supplies those volunteers, but so does Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Bethel AME Church. All of the proceeds from Art on the Parish Green go to purchasing ingredients for the food we serve! Over our 13 years of festivals, we’ve probably raised over $80,000 — and this is really our only fundraiser. We have also had some great community partners, like Horseshoe Foundation and the Elks Lodge 270, that have also helped supply Shepherd’s Kitchen’s financial needs in some years.

St. Paul’s is really in the business of community and ministry, and Shepherd’s Kitchen is one of the main ways we do that. But Art on the Parish Green is a ministry as well. A community needs a reason to gather and celebrate together, to get to know and appreciate each other’s interests and talents, and to allow music and art to expand the emotional and spiritual experience they can share. We are so happy that we can give these gifts to the community we love.