Linn Creek Arts Festival captivates town

Artists, photographers, authors and even a horse set up shop Saturday at the Linn Creek Arts Festival at the Fisher Community Center.

Since the 1970s Marshalltown has hosted an arts festival, in the past calling it the Central Iowa Art Festival and in recent years, the Linn Creek Arts Festival.

This is the first year the festival has been held on a Saturday and the turnout was crowded.

Hundreds of spectators attended to browse through 60 different vendors(not including food), listen to live music and watch live entertainment.

“The Linn Creek Arts Festival takes place once a year and it’s what we think is Marshalltown’s premiere art lovers event,” said Pam Swarts, server on the planning board at Fisher Community Center.

More than 50 artists from five different states participated.

“In general I feel like people overlook the stuff that’s around them so my goal is to kind of bring it out. Like buildings in the cities or getting out on some sand dunes or mountains,” said Eric Klamm, a photographer from Kansas City. “I feel like a lot of people ignore them and go on with their daily lives when really there’s a lot of beauty all around.”

Klamm has been branching out throughout the Midwest in an attempt to expand his audience.

Reiko Cunningham, a sculptor from West Des Moines, had a variety of ceramic rabbit sculptures on display.

“I personally, some years ago, wanted a ceramic rabbit myself and I enjoyed creating it so much that I continued with the process,” Cunningham said. “Then these characters started to develop and they multiplied. It came from a love of making them. I create art so people can take it home and enjoy it. I try to keep the functional part of the visual enjoyment of it.”

One particular artist was kind of unusual – he has four legs and stands eight feet tall – Justin the artist horse. He and his owner, Adonna Combs, came to Iowa from Indiana. This is Justin’s first time in the state of Iowa and he drew a big crowd.

“Justin the artist horse is giving painting demonstrations; it might be natural to see a human giving painting demonstrations at an art festival but probably not a horse,” Combs said. “It was his idea, he kind of expressed his desire to paint and I picked up on it. He would take my riding whip and start drawing in the sand with it. I’ve had horses all my life and he’s the first one to have a personality like this.”

Combs has had Justin sine he was two years old.

A new event at the festival this year was the introduction of the Junior Art Lovers’ Gallery.

Children ages 4-13 had the chance to enter the booth with no parents allowed and purchase a painting up to $10 from an artist who was participating at the festival.

The kids then were given a biography about the artist and were invited to meet them at their personal booth.

“We want to instill in them an appreciation of fine art and to become lifelong collectors,” said Karen Berger, from the Junior Art Lover’s Gallery. “To develop their own tastes by choosing their own pieces.”

Live music and entertainment included the Yo-Yo People, the Wind River Band, the Mariachi Los Aguilares, Ballyhoo Foxtrot Orchestra and Craig Beytein the Magician.