Saturday, March 2, was a busy day in downtown Canton, starting with the first-ever West Main Arts Festival, followed immediately by Glow Night at Cannon Park.

West Main Arts Festival

Timed to celebrate the fourth anniversary of local art gallery Menagerie on Main, it featured North Georgia artists from Canton, Woodstock, Acworth, Marietta, Clarkesville, and elsewhere.

West Main Arts Festival / Glow Night / Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng, Digital Content Specialist, City of Canton

Menagerie on Main is located at 351 West Main Street in Canton. (Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng/City of Canton)

As an inaugural event, getting the word out was critical. Jamie Foreman, the curator of Menagerie on Main, credits Explore Canton and Enjoy Cherokee Magazine for both sponsoring the event and promoting it as well. Even ahead of the final tallies of the estimated number of attendees, festival organizers are confident it met their goal of at least 2,000 attendees.

West Main Arts Festival / Glow Night / Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng, Digital Content Specialist, City of Canton

Jamie Foreman, owner and curator of Menagerie on Main (Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng/City of Canton)

Festival-goers walked the booths admiring the pieces, enjoyed the multiple food and beverage options, listened to the half-dozen bands that performed, and watched the buskers juggling, stilt-walking, and unicycling. Face painters even turned kids into works of art themselves!

West Main Arts Festival / Glow Night / Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng, Digital Content Specialist, City of Canton

(Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng/City of Canton)

The vendors were impressed with the number of attendees, including the many visitors who stayed for a long time to enjoy it all. The works on display were wide-ranging: oils, acrylics, and watercolors, ceramics and glass art, and jewelry. Some of the artists were classically trained, and others self-taught; all commented on the high quality of the artwork on display.

Several artists also displayed works in progress to show attendees the creative process itself, or to explain the techniques in use. The festival featured functional art pieces like ceramic vases and mugs, necklaces and earrings, and also whimsical items like ceramic mushrooms for your garden or yard. There were oil paintings of barns and birds, landscapes and lighthouses, fish and flamingos, fairies and fantasies.

West Main Arts Festival / Glow Night / Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng, Digital Content Specialist, City of Canton

(Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng/City of Canton)

The artists say the opportunity to interact with people viewing their work makes it special for them. Some said their goal is to bring joy or beauty to the world, and seeing their work appreciated inspires them to continue what they do.

One bravely spoke of her art helping her deal with postpartum depression, and said that art allows her to reach out to people and share her knowledge and experiences with those challenges. Another emphatically stated that meeting other local artists and seeing their works inspires her. Another, also a local art teacher, was excited that this provided an opportunity for her students to see her work, which doesn’t happen in the classroom.

The West Main Arts Festival, based on the turnout and the responses from attendees and participants alike, will become an annual event. The next West Main Arts Festival is targeted for Saturday, March 1, 2025. Planning is already underway, aimed at ensuring that next year’s event is even more successful than this one.

West Main Arts Festival / Glow Night / Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng, Digital Content Specialist, City of Canton

(Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng/City of Canton)

Glow Night

For those who stayed downtown after the festival, Glow Night in Cannon Park was filled with family-friendly activities, featuring glow-in-the-dark games: mini-golf, corn hole, spike ball, bucket pong, and even axe throwing with Moving Target ATL, a co-sponsor of the event.

Megan Hall, an elementary school teacher at the event, summed it up nicely: “Glow Night is great; kids enjoy it, it’s family-friendly, and a really good time.”

West Main Arts Festival / Glow Night / Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng, Digital Content Specialist, City of Canton

(Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng/City of Canton)

 

 

 

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