More than 160 Artists have transformed downtown Syracuse into a five -block art gallery, as the 48th annual Arts and Crafts Festival is underway. Alice Maggiore with the Downtown Committee says Syracuse residents seize this opportunity to express their love of the arts.
"This weekend gives us the change really draw attention to that. Everyone here knows that's the case year round. But sometimes they need a big event to rally around, to celebrate, and to make that really known. This brings the community together”
Artist Dave Pollot sees that firsthand. He repurposes abandoned thrift paintings.
"People definitely are more interested in art in general. You see that with not just art, but with the whole craft movement like craft beer. I've seem craft olive oils. People are starting to take an interest in something that's less mass produced and cookie-cutter, and looking for something they can sink their teeth into."
Textile designer Esther Yaloz of Elmira there's a demand for locally made products.
"It comes down to people, these days, finding hand-made items more unique, more precious, knowing that there's a person behind the items. I think it has greater value. It has soul. It has a unique feel to something that you can only get here, it's one of a kind. You're supporting a local maker”
Artist Peter Valenti has noticed a change in the quality of the artwork in the 28 years he’s been coming to the festival.
"I think the quality of the artists that have been coming to the show has been getting much better because people who are selling are making money. When shows have a good crowd and artists make money, it draws in better artists."
Relative newcomer Eugene Perry is one of those who's seeing the benefits. He's a metal sculpture artist.
"For my season, thus far, it's been great. People have been buying art, decorating their house. Each time I do this show, for me, it's been very successful."
The Arts and Crafts Festival continues through the weekend at Columbus circle and surrounding streets rain or shine. More information is at Syracuse arts and crafts festival.com.