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The Boston Arts Festival

by Defne Karabucak

Photograph courtesy of Boston Arts Festival

The 15th annual Boston Arts Festival took place at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park on September 9 and 10, where 50 local artists and 16 bands showcased their work. Artists showcased their paintings, jewelry, scarves and photography at the festival. The musical performances included genres of rock, pop, folk and indie, from local musicians from the Greater Boston area.

The Boston Arts Festival, an annual program that started in 2003, helps support local artists and encourages more art galleries to open in Boston. Businesses and companies ranging from Tufts Medical School to restaurants in the area sponsor the festival.

Local artists must apply for the opportunity to show their work. They submit photos of their work and get selected through a dual jury and lottery process. Among the artists, several stood out for their creative ideas.

Sydney Hardin, the owner and creator of Pop Zoo! specializes in the customization of critter portraits. She paints people’s pets, so their life-long friends can be commemorated on their walls. Sydney’s business began after painting some of her friend’s pets, and because so many people loved them she decided to make it a business.

Ever since she was a child, she wanted to be an artist, paleontologist, veterinarian and unicorn. “People will send me pictures of their pets and I’ll make them into a canvas,” said Sydney.

Artwork was not the only thing on display at the festival, but some unique items as well. Laura Cleminson, the brains behind Hoist Away Bags, has been selling bags of all sizes made from recycled sails for seven years. “I love creating useful things with a long life that are sustainable,” said Laura. “What’s equally important to me is to share a bit of the history of these sails.”

To make what Laura is doing more special, she interviews each person who sends her sails and then with your purchase of a bag she includes a small story of where the sail originated. One example says a sail came from a garage, “Evan Zahner and his family purchased [a home] in Cotuit, MA from Arthur Hughes… [who] left… this sail, several anchors, a rudder but no sail boat.”

Amongst local artists, there was also a tent representing groups of women across the world. Fashion For Empowerment, a group dedicated to preventing poverty and violence towards women and girls, showcased scarves made from Turkey and other countries. The goal is to eliminate gender-based violence through economic empowerment of women and girls by selling items they have made.

Brynn Anderson (COM ’19) said, “I love the idea of buying a cute scarf and also giving money to a good cause. It’s nice to see something like that at an arts festival.”

The Boston Arts Festival was a great event that shed a light on inspiring local artists and attracted thousands for a wonderful weekend full of great weather, food, music and art. Hopefully next year will be just as successful.

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