The Children of Children’s Day…All Grown Up.
For over 40 years Arts Festival has been not only showcasing talented professional artists but also nurturing younger artists-in-training.
Kirstin Demer falls into both of those categories.
Kirstin first exhibited in the Children & Youth Sidewalk Sale at age eight and, over the next seven years sold a variety of crafts including clay jewelry, tissue paper flowers, dolls, and watercolor paintings.
Now, as a professional artist she still finds inspiration from those childhood Arts Festival days – her letterpress and bookbinding company is called Green Trike Press after a watercolor painting created for Children’s Day (that went unsold and now hangs in her parents’ home). “When thinking about a name for my business I thought about that painting and the promise it held so long ago,” Kirstin says.
2010 marks Kirstin’s second year as a (grown-up!) Sidewalk Sale & Exhibition artist – and she sees it as a homecoming of sorts. She’s spent years away from Central Pennsylvania – including interning and working at the Women’s Studio Workshop and earning her MFA from Columbia College Chicago – but, as she says, is “happy to say that I’m a local again!”
What should you expect when you visit Kirstin at her booth on Fraser Street (booth R-03)? Amazing hand-bound journals made from recycled and upcycled materials. “I really enjoy creating artwork from material that has had a previous life,” she says.
And what lives these materials have had! Kirstin’s journals may have components from an old briefcase, coat, map, or postcard book. She collects materials from flea markets, antique and thrift stores all over the world. “I love the search for recycled material,” she says, “…the places are endless!”
But this place, State College, holds many memories for Kirstin, including feeling like a “real” artist every time she participated in the Children & Youth Sidewalk Sale.
“The Festival treats young artists with a great amount of respect,” Kirstin says. “(Children and Youth Sidewalk Sale) was always a great experience for me and I believe an enormous stepping stone of encouragement for my future in the arts.”
Don’t be surprised if one of the younger artists you meet tomorrow, July 7, at the Children & Youth Sidewalk Sale become the awe-inspiring professional artist you see in the future. Just like Kirstin Demer.