Rain does little to dampen return of Tallman Arts Festival
JANESVILLE Multi-colored umbrellas added splashes of color to a landscape already teeming with paintings, jewelry and other vibrant creations Sunday at the Rock County Historical Society's Tallman Arts Festival.
And then the rain lifted.
Madison musician Richard Wiegel put it best. From a stage on the grounds at Janesville's Lincoln-Tallman House, 440 N. Jackson St., Wiegel played an acoustic version of the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun."
Throughout the afternoon, the weather shaped up for the 53rd annual Tallman Arts Festival, the historical society's major annual fundraiser.
The event, which features art sales, auctions, music and food, helps the historical society cover yearly operation costs.
The art festival had been canceled last year. Coordinators had lost a major sponsor in the wake of a sluggish economy, the historical society said.
"We just couldn't pull it back together fast enough," said Joyce Dodge, an administrative assistant at the historical society.
Dodge said the festival's committee worked this year to bring in more vendors, more artists and new features, such as a wine tasting.
"What goes better with art than a taste of wine?" said Gail Nordlof, owner of Northleaf Winery in Milton.
Northleaf and three other local wineries offered samples of wine at the festival, in trade for donations to the historical society.
Nordlof said she entered in the festival because she loves art and historic buildings.
"I'd like to see the Tallman House maintained," she said.
Dodge said about 10 of the show's 80 scheduled artists pulled out of the festival because of the threat of rain. But Joel Van Haaften, executive director of the historical society, said the weather didn't dampen crowds at the show.
"Rain was the worst thing that could have happened, but once that let up, things really improved," he said.
Van Haaften said attendance at the festival was at about 900 to 1,100. The historical society had hoped for 1,000, he said. Van Haaften said he didn't have estimates on how much the festival netted in donations.
Al Godwin, a wildlife photographer from Waukesha, said it was his first time showing work at the Tallman Arts Festival.
He decided to come specifically because it wasn't a huge venue.
"It's not like a large show. People can slow down. They're not caught up in a big crowd. They can come into the tent and visit," Godwin said.
Janesville resident Tess Fielder was eating kettle corn next to a jewelry vendor. She said she was just tagging along with her mom.
"She likes to look at all of the art and stuff. I like the food," Fielder said.
The festival was Janesville artist Jessica Knuth's first-ever art show.
"I just wanted my work to be seen," she said.
Knuth's work was street-art-meets-industrial—a stylized selection of human forms done in acrylic paint on sheet metal.
A gust of wind blew over one of Knuth's creations, but she said she wasn't worried.
"It's not a big deal," she said. "It's kind of hard to break a metal painting."
Janesville resident Bruce Jones had brought his sons Jonathan and Alexander to the festival Sunday. The boys painted coffee cups at a hands-on craft booth.
Jones said he attends the festival every year to visit the Lincoln-Tallman House and to peruse the art show. He said he was glad to see it return.
"This year (the festival's) back, and it's a full house. That's so great to see," he said.
Artist Awards at the Rock County Historical Society's Tallman Arts Festival
Best in show: Trae Leeder (work in wood)
Two-dimensional: Jeffrey Johnson
Three-dimensional: Roger Johnson
Mixed media: Nancy Heiser
Jewelry: Cindy Craig
People's choice: The Speakeasy Restaurant and Lounge, Janesville (food vendor)