BANGOR, Maine — Dan and Staci MacLean of Holden were among the hundreds who headed downtown on Saturday to support local artists.
While attending the 21st annual WLBZ 2 Sidewalk Art Festival, the couple’s two children, Jayden, 6, and Carson, almost 2, created some colorful artwork of their own with provided sidewalk chalk.
“I made a flower, a puppy,” said Jayden, who was followed closely by her chalk-carrying younger brother.
The elder sibling also used her creative skills to draw Zuko and Aang, characters from the cartoon “The Last Airbender.” With no red to work with, Jayden had to use pink chalk to create Zuko’s burned eye, but the characters were easily recognizable.
The children worked on their sidewalk art on Broad Street, which was closed for the daylong festival, while their mother looked for something to decorate the family’s house.
“She’s somewhere buying something,” Dan MacLean said of his wife. “We like to look at art and she likes to buy something to support the locals. We shop at farmers markets too.”
The couple had plenty of art styles to choose from with 63 vendors at this year’s festival showcasing traditional oil paints, watercolors and pastels, photos, fiber arts, glass, jewelry, carved wood and even weighted hula hoops.
The festival was created by the TV station as a way to spotlight Maine artists. It is sponsored by Camden National Bank and Husson University.
Each year, judges take a look at the displayed art and select three top prizewinners, and this year a fourth category was added for photographers.
“Last year was our first [Sidewalk Art Festival] show, and he got second in show,” said Dianna Moran, wife of photographer Robert Moran, who took home this year’s Best in Show Photography award and its $500 cash prize.
“I’ve been shooting photos, this dates me, for 40 years, and everything I did up until last May was in black-and-white,” the Bar Harbor resident said. “She [Dianna Moran] had a digital camera and I found I could steal it from her” and take photos that judge David Brown described as “ethereal” but with “enormous impact.”
Many of Moran’s photos feature Maine scenes draped in misty or foggy weather.
“Because I did black-and-white so long, I find color more difficult and more fun,” the photographer said, adding he has a Portland studio and will be featured in a one-man show in December at the Running With Scissors Gallery. “I still do black-and-white.”
Melissa Post Vanderburg of Augusta earned the Sidewalk Art Festival’s First Place Best in Show award and its $800 cash prize; pastel artist Donna Grande of Montclair, N.J., earned the Second Place Festival Prize and $700; and Third Place Festival Prize, with $600, was awarded to oil painter Edgar Reims of Gorham.
“The judges make their decisions based on the artist’s body of work,” said Judy Horan, WLBZ 2 president and general manager.
Horan selected a fishing boat scene created by artist Jan Kilburn of Damariscotta to be displayed at the TV station’s Mount Hope Avenue studios, and awarded her the Festival Purchase Prize, which includes a $700 cash award.
The downtown event is a great avenue for local artisans who want to display their items, said fiber artist Roxanne Rolleston of Sebec, who creates needle-felted sculptures from sheep she raises at Autumn Mist Farm.
“Needle felting is a relatively new craft,” she said. “You felt sculptures.”
Her booth included soft, woolly sheep and goats, trees, autumn vegetables, men and Santas and wall hangings that feature the faces of dogs.
“My sheep [sculptures] are the most popular,” said Rolleston, who has been a fiber artist for 30 years. “I do all the processing from sheering the sheep, washing it, carding it and dyeing it.”
Artist Tom Minder of Dover-Foxcroft said he has been a part of the Sidewalk Art Festival for four or five years and keeps returning because it’s close to home and a great place to display his colorful fantasy art, which he describes as “mind’s eye.”
“I like this one because it’s local,” said Minder, who is a construction worker by trade. “It’s fun and I enjoy it.”