On May 30th and 31st, Downingtown will be ground zero for 49 of the finest artists in the country, with the unveiling of the first annual Downingtown Fine Arts Festival. For artist and one of the founders of the Chester County Studio Tour, David Oleski, the decision for Downingtown to host the Art Festival was an easy one. “In winter of 2014, Adrian Martinez cornered me to ask what I would suggest to bring the arts to Downingtown. While another artist might consider buildings and spaces and galleries, my experience was in events. My suggestion was a big public event, and with Adrian’s enthusiastic and unstoppable spirit, I couldn’t help but to get caught up in putting together the Downingtown Fine Arts Festival.”
The event is sponsored by Victory Brewing Company, Green Street Grill, Main Line Concrete, and Barra Rossa, and
will host some of Chester County’s finest eateries along the Main Street corridor. Over a two-day period, the artists’ tents and the Victory Brewing Company Brewery on Wheels will be located at the parking lot adjacent to the old Minquas Fire Station. Opening day, Saturday, May 30th, visitors can access the festival and beer garden, and on Sunday, May 31st, the Downingtown Main Street Association will host the addition of food vendors and live music along Lancaster Avenue between Brandywine Avenue and Green Street. Downingtown Main Street Manager, Steve Plaugher has organized the annual Downingtown Fall Fest activities for several years, and recognizes the potential for a Spring-related event to kick off the warm weather, “We heard loud and clear from people that attend Fall Fest, which gets between 5000-7000 people to attend. They think this is great, and we want more of these events in the borough.”
The interest in bringing the arts to Downingtown stems from the inspiration of Adrian Martinez, who is a resident-artist, and President of the Downingtown Main Street Association. Over a broccoli rabe pork belly sandwich and a pint at Victory Brewing Company, Martinez asked Oleski, “Can you bring some of the best artist you know here for a weekend art fair to help us celebrate Downingtown?” Oleski thought a long moment over his sautéed scallops with jalapeno aioli sauce and said, “Sure!”Although the passion of art is clear between two artists, the borough of Downingtown is seeing a resurgence of artistic expression, with creative businesses such as Home Eclective, restaurant galleries in The Station Taproom, Marsh Creek Sixth Grade Center art displays in Main Street store windows, and especially the new Public Library, which hosts its own brand-new mural painting by Martinez, which was unveiled in April.
While the beer garden is not a normal accoutrement to his shows, Oleski sees a unique endeavor in Downingtown, “The presence of Victory Brewing Company will add a flair of style and celebration, as Victory is well-known as a combination of excellent beer with an artful and stylish marketing program. For me, this will be my first major local event that brings many of the artists I know from the national circuit right here to my own town. I’ll be proud to show off the charm and beauty of Downingtown and Chester county, and I’m especially thrilled to have everyone meet Adrian and some of the other great friends I’vemade on this journey to make this show happen.”
Be sure to follow the Downingtown Main Street Association Facebook pageand www.downingtownmainstreet.com for up to date postings for the Art Festival, and check out http://www.downingtownfinearts.com for more information on the artists and the event details.