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Art in the Park showcases local talents

RUTLAND-Rutland's Art in the Park will celebrate its 51st annual festival of fine arts and crafts put on by the Chaffee Art Center and the Rutland Area Art Association, Saturday and Sunday, August 11-12.

In 1961, Art in the Park started as a small market where just five local artists sold and exhibited their works. Since then, the market has grown to an estimated attendance of 8,000 to 10,000 with 100 vendors selling a variety of works from ceramics, fine jewelry, paintings, photography, food and much more. Artists and craftsmen are joined by a variety of musicians performing throughout the weekend, including the Phil Henry band and the Tim Penny band.

Art in the Park takes place at the corner of Routes 7 and 4 in Rutland from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Donations are accepted at the gate.

The art show is a juried event. Jurors will have to select from a wide variety of authentic, high quality, handcrafted goods. Erin Sheridan works for the company Ghostwriters Communications that has been hired to help organize the event. Sheridan explains: "We have experts jurors. They know what is handcrafted, what is quality-made and what is not. We do not want manufactured, we want one of a kind, and we want handmade. We look for one artisan working on one product. Every media represented at the show has an expert in that field judging the artists for acceptance."

The event is an annual ritual for locals and visitors alike. They come to see new vendors and see what their favorite artists have been working on.


Peak Conditions by Peter Huntoon

One of the most popular returning artists is Peter Huntoon, a watercolor artist in Middletown Springs and a native of Rutland. Huntoon has participated in Art in the Park for 15 years now. His initial acceptance into Art in the Park was a major turning point of his career.

"When I first started painting seriously, my goal was to get into Art in the Park," Huntoon says. "It seemed like a reasonable, attainable goal and I took five years to really hone my craft to the best of my ability before I was accepted. I've been attending every year since. That first public showing couldn't have been better, I do a lot of local scenes and the public is very receptive." Peter Huntoon is now a successful fulltime artist, selling prints and original artwork.

A relative newcomer to the art show is Eric Oesterle is the artisan behind the company Handcrafted by Eric. A few years ago Oesterle decided to take his handmade hardwood cutting boards on the farmer's market circuit and was amazed by the overwhelming positive response he received. One thing that his customers seem to appreciate most is that they are buying a truly local product. "Most of my lumber is purchased from Vermont hardwood retailers. However, I try really hard to find that 'back-woods' Vermont farmer, who just happens to have a barn full of old, Vermont grown hardwood," Oesterle says.

Local food artist Daniel Pol, a transplant from France who has been living in Vermont for 25 years now, runs a small bakery in Rutland called La Oh la la Bakery. He is a well-known fixture at the farmer's markets supplying mouth watering baked goods and freshly made crepes. He is also proud to get many of his ingredients from fellow Rutland producers. Hoping for another successful Art in the Park weekend, Pol will be selling his unique and delicious food to hungry visitors again this year.

Demonstrations of jewelry making, spinning, weaving and woodcarving will be going on throughout the weekend. Tim Pattillo's demonstration is sure to draw a crowd as he shows off his skills with a chainsaw converting reclaimed and storm damaged wood into beautiful sculptures. Pattillo has been at his hobby for six years but is new to Art in the Park. If you've ever wondered how those wooden bears are made, this is your chance to see the carving in action.

Between the foods, the music and the wide variety of arts and crafts available, this is a weekend long event not to miss. The Vermont Chamber of Commerce lists Rutland's Art in the Park as one of the top ten events statewide. Art in the Park is a twice-yearly event. It takes place August 11-12 and again October 6-7. For more information visit

Tagged: Rutland, Art in the Park