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Arts and Entertainment

Dunwoody Art Festival celebrates five years of whimsy

A patron browses Shari Grenzow Mauer's booth at the fifth annual Dunwoody Art Fest. Photo by Lauren Ramsdell.

A patron browses Shari Grenzow Mauer’s booth at the fifth annual Dunwoody Art Fest. Photo by Lauren Ramsdell.

It has been a year of fifths for Dunwoody, one of DeKalb’s newest cities. The fifth annual Dunwoody Art Festival ran May 10-11 during a weekend of intermittent drizzle and low-level clouds.

The festival, always hosted on Mother’s Day weekend, was nonetheless a celebration of all things quirky and colorful.

“I personally think the Mother’s Day thing makes it great and gives the family something to do,” said Frances Schube, president and founder of Splash Festivals, the event’s producer. “Instead of going out to brunch or lunch and looking at each other afterward like, ‘What do we do?’ This gives families an opportunity to shop and eat and hang out with each other.”

Schube started the festival in Dunwoody after the first city manager, Warren Hutmacher, transferred his leadership from Norcoss. Schube had been hosting the Norcross Art Fest since 2003 and was asked to start a new festival in Dunwoody.

“What makes us different is we are invite-only,” Schube said. “We look for very whimsical, very fun art. Someone once gave me the best insult: they said that our shows are ‘too happy.’”

Artists are selected from all over the country, including many local artisans. One artist, Shari Grenzow Mauer, made the 13-hour, 870-mile drive from Kiel, Wisc. Mauer has been doing art and craft fairs for more than 20 years.

Schube found and invited Mauer first in 2012, and although she was unable to return last year, this year she made the trip.

“I think this is one of the coolest shows on my schedule,” Mauer said. “It’s unusual because it’s all whimsy.”

Despite the gray skies, the festival attracted hundreds, according to Schube.

“In 2012, we had a beautiful Saturday and awesome sales,” Mauer said. “In order for me to drive nearly 1,000 miles it has to be financially viable.”

Mauer said this year sales had also been good.

“[On] Saturday, the husbands and fathers are shopping for the wives and mothers, and [on] Sunday, the wives and mothers are shopping for themselves,” Schube said.

The next Splash Festivals event is the 11th Annual Norcross Art Fest the weekend of Oct. 10 and 11.

 

This article originally appeared in The Champion Newspaper.

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