“Such a lovely day. Great festival, we love this event!” and “My husband and I enjoyed this show immensely!” were just two of the hundreds of glowing reviews posted following the 7th annual Arts in the Middle Fine Arts Festival held at Hewick Plantion June 5 & 6. Great weather, incredible artists, live music, and a beautiful scenic location all contributed to another successful event that set a new attendance record. Thousands of art lovers from across the Mid-Atlantic came out and enjoyed the works of fine artists from across the country, the VMFA On the Road Artmobile, live music from 13 groups, the Champagne tent, and the culinary creations of Adam Ginsberg. The new additions of the Literary tent and Museum of Middlesex exhibits this year proved to be popular with attendees. These new additions offered attendees the ability to meet and hear local writers read from their works at the Literary tent, while the Museum volunteers helped take them on a journey through the history of the plantation, our region and the “Explorer”, the replica of John Smith’s vessel that was on site.
Bringing in some of the top fine artists from across the country is great for art lovers attending the show, but it makes for a very difficult job for the show judge. The show this year featured a diverse collection of outstanding works in 12 different mediums. This year’s judge, Pam Doss, Executive Director at Bay School Community Arts Center was tasked with the tough job of awarding 10 winners. The list of winners are: Best in Show - John Cheer – ceramics, 2nd Place - Phil Shampine- mixed media, Best Photography - Laura DeNardo, Best Painting - Karen Trimble, Best 3 Dimensional - Jason Benkendorf – wood, Honorable Mention - Russell Turnage – ceramics, Honorable Mention - Lia Harmon – jewelry, Honorable Mention - Mary Huennekens – fiber, Local Artist - Karen Pittman – painting and Student Artist - Lauren Anhemann.
While the show features some of the top fine artists, it has become known for a great musical lineup as well. Attendees were treated to everything from folk, americana, alt country, indie, Celtic and contemporary music genres. This year saw national acts like Jeff Little, an award-winning musician from North Carolina and Mare Wakefield and Nomad, a duo from Nashville take the big stage in addition to 11 popular local and regional groups.
As with any large event, it takes a dedicated and generous group of supporters, sponsors, and volunteers to be successful and the AIM Board is so grateful for the incredible support. The business and local community came together to help make this event a success and a welcoming environment for attendees, many of whom drive 2-3 hours to attend. Reviews like this one are a testament to those efforts - “We’d never been to Urbanna. This was our first time coming and we loved the show. We also ate lunch at the Half Shell Grill and went in several shops in town. We had a great day and will be back.”
To see pictures and videos from the show or to find out more information you can visit the website www.artsinthemiddle.com or follow @artsinthemiddle on Facebook or Instagram.