There's a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes of an event like the Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival! And not just for us at the Ridgeland Tourism Commission! The artists themselves work for weeks and months leading up to the festival to have their very best pieces ready to display (and hopefully sell!) for festival-goers.
One such artist is Elizabeth Robinson with Spirit House Glass based in nearby Jackson, Mississippi. Elizabeth has been a part of the Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival since its inception, and agreed to give us a little insight into why she has stayed with us for eight years!
1. You’ve been a part of RFAF for years! Why do you keep coming back?
I have exhibited since the first one! Having known of Chris (H.C.) Porter’s interest in bringing a national level show to Mississippi, I was one of the artists waiting in anticipation to submit my app. For those of us, Mississippi artists, who aren’t equipped to travel and participate in well-known shows in other states, this show represents an opportunity to not only exhibit in a national show but to meet the artists who make their living exhibiting in larger format events.
2. What about Ridgeland makes it a good host city for a fine arts festival?
Artists travel from across the country for this show. They often speak of the pleasure of arriving in a beautiful small city where parking their “rigs” is easy, finding wonderful food right in their location and then, receiving a warm welcome by all those they encounter. Ridgeland and the Renaissance at Colony Park prep every year to be sure that these artists and festival attendees leave with a warm taste of southern hospitality.
3. What is your favorite part about RFAF?
A hard choice! As an artist I look forward to seeing the artists I’ve met in the past and meeting the new artists that will join this show. As a participant I enjoy the detailed attention given by Mary Beth Wilkerson (Executive Director of Ridgeland Tourism Commission), Bob McFarland (Event Producer) and the Ridgeland Tourism team to each aspect of this outdoor show.
As a local, I am so proud to see the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi tents with FUN children’s activities and craft demonstrations showing the amazing talent in our State. And while the local musicians set the mood, the partnered activities like Santé South and OBO Tandem surround the event with interesting conversation and interactions.
4. You’ve done the artist awards for several years as well! Why is this a special project for you?
That first year, the goal of the organizing team was to do something unique – no “Best of” ribbons or plaques. I was honored when H.C. asked me to take a shot at
creating awards that would give a distinctive feel to the RFAF awards. Since then it has been a gratifying journey of creating pieces that capture the event but also communicate and connect the work of the chosen artist’s image. This year’s piece by Debo Groover is filled with imaginings of birds, flowers, dragonflies. It is making me crazy happy to work with this image! My studio is filled with sketches of small parts emulating her creation as I attempt to capture her beautiful energy in my glass.
5. Why in your opinion should someone attend RFAF?
Ridgeland’s commitment to this Festival has provided an event for us to enjoy fine art from Mississippi and from across the nation. Each person who attends has the opportunity to learn more about artists who have devoted their lives to their artistic pursuits - makers, artists and designers fervent to share their creations with you. Don’t miss out of the opportunity to breathe in the art, the music, and the ambiance!
Thanks, Elizabeth for your dedication to your beautiful art and for your support of RFAF! Don't miss out on the chance to meet Elizabeth and dozens of other artists at the Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival April 2-3!