|Art can be intimidating, especially in a gallery with white walls, red dots and few other people around to shield our artistic insecurities. But in a park or on a closed street where we can browse freely, mingle with friends, meet the artists and even down an ice-cold brew, we’ll gladly grab our checkbooks and Van Gogh.
Craftfair at Hathaway Brown
On the campus of this private girls’ school, the offerings at the annual Craftfair are affordable. An eclectic mix of 150 artists offers fiber art, jewelry, clay sculptures, paintings and prints.
Check out: Chuck Wimmer’s whimsical images of people and animals, produced using an electronic pen and published as original high-resolution, giclée prints (www.loftprints.com). (Also find his work at Boston Mills and Cain Park art festivals).
The find: Free admission for the first 100 early-bird attendees on each day of the event.
>> Hathaway Brown School, 19600 N. Park Blvd., Shaker Heights; June 15 & 16, Fri. 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; adults $7; children 12 and under free; www.ohiocraft.org/fairs.html
Boston Mills Artfest
With more than 20,000 art patrons and 160 artists selected by a jury, this show is so big it requires the grounds of a ski resort and two weekends.
Check out: Michigan’s Tom Hale (www.tom
halegallery.com) produces original acrylic paintings of vintage cars, which are known for the details and gleaming surfaces of his work. Hale plans to exhibit July 5 through 8.
The find: Two shows in one. Come for both weekends and you’ll be treated to two distinct and different groupings of artists. And to make the event kid-friendly, the show features an Art ‘N’ Play tent in which children are invited to work on their own art projects.
>> Boston Mills Ski Resort, 7100 Riverview Road, Peninsula; June 28-July 1 and July 5-8; Adults $7.50, seniors (60 & older) $6, children 13-21 $6, children 12 and under free; Preview Nights & Wine Tastings (June 28 and July 5) with reservation $35; without reservation $45; www.bmbw.com/artfest
Cain Park Arts Festival
Situated in a scenic wooded ravine, the 22-acre Cain Park (built in 1938) symbolizes Cleveland Heights’ commitment to the arts with its professional theatrical productions, concerts and a highly selective (about 150 artists) juried summer art show.
Check out: Cleveland Heights glass artist Mark Sudduth (www.sudduthglass.com) creates hand-blown, hand-formed Line Series pieces featuring line drawings made of molten white opaque glass, a layer of crystal and a second set of lines repeated on the exterior of the piece to match the first set.
The find: This free show also features entertainment in the Evans Amphitheater.
>> Cain Park, intersection of Superior and Lee roads, Cleveland Heights; July 13-15, Fri. 3 - 8 p.m.; Sat.10 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Sun. noon - 5 p.m.; free; www.cainpark.com
Walk the fitness trail that meanders across the grounds and around the pond of St. John West Shore Hospital’s campus to view the works of 200 artists and craftspeople. The setting is picturesque and the art, affordable.
Check out: Handmade doll clothing, decorations for the yard and wooden toys can be found among the paintings, photographs and sculptures, making this an event for everyone. Looking to return this year is Cleveland native and Florida-based artist, Marilyn Shaker, whose oil paintings of tropical seascapes and florals are crowd-pleasers.
The find: The only art show around that finds a way to blend art with a blood drive, health screenings and a food drive, too.
>> 29000 Center Ridge Road, Westlake; July 13-15; free (Donations of nonperishable food products are encouraged.); www.sjws.net/community/festival-of-the-arts.htm
Lakewood Arts Festival
Though we don’t recommend it, playing in the street can be exhilarating. So when a main thoroughfare transforms into a pedestrian mall in the name of art, we’re in. About 160 selected artists will treat art fans to an impressive and affordable mix of jewelry, ceramics, paintings, prints and musical entertainment.
Check out: Nancy Berninger shares her high-energy expressionistic florals, naturescapes and portraits. Her bold brush strokes and colors “parallel what nature freely gives us,” says the Cincinnati-based artist.
The find: A portion of the money raised by artist fees, sponsorships, donations from local merchants and T-shirt sales is used to fund a fine arts scholarship for a Lakewood High School graduate and arts grants.
>> Detroit Avenue from Elmwood to Belle avenues, Lakewood; Aug. 4; 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. free; www.