57th annual Ways Garden Art and Craft Show begins Sunday

It’s time to take part in one of Williamsport’s finest annual traditions when the 57th annual Ways Garden Art and Craft Show takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 9, at the garden at the corner of Maynard and West Fourth streets.

Established in 1946, the Ways Garden show has provided an exhibition opportunity for artists from all over the county and beyond all presented in a non-juried atmosphere. All art forms are welcome and are valued as an integral part of Williamsport’s rich artistic community.

The free event is sponsored by the Bald Eagle Art League again this year, according to Deb Trate, membership committee member for BEAL and event co-chair. Gretchen Mangiardi, vice president of BEAL, also is co-chair.

“There’s still time to enter this non-juried show,” Trate said. “We just like everyone to come, no matter what their level. It’s just a lot of fun.”

Trate said this year also will include the seventh annual Eve Archer Award, which is presented to the artisan voted by the public as “People’s Choice.” Voting ballot boxes will be located at the two entrances and exits to the park and the votes will be tallied at 3 p.m.

“Some people especially beginner artists may be shy about showing their work,” Trate said. “This is a great venue for them because you get better by being around other artists.”

Trate, who has been a member of BEAL off and on since she was in high school, said she also will have her artwork on display. “I go through phases with my work,” she said. “I used to do wildlife scenes, but now my specialty is horses.”

Trate prefers to work in watercolor, oil, pencil, and pen and ink anything but acrylic. “I love pen and ink, but it’s very difficult because you can’t erase a mistake,” she said. “I just love horses; I’ve had them since I was 9. When you know your subject, you can do it better.”

A children’s art corner will be manned by Jillette Andrews, and Mangiardi also will have her acrylic and watercolor art on display, along with the large, handcarved wood pieces by Jack Strouse and artwork by Archer.

Trate said it would not be a Ways Garden Art and Craft Show without Archer’s presence.

“I wish I had her as an art teacher when I was younger,” Trate said about Archer, who retired as an art teacher for the Williamsport Area School District. “She brings out the best in a person.”

The event also will coincide with the annual Trinity Episcopal Church strawberry festival, which always provides a tasty respite from the show in one of the city’s oldest churches. Show attendees also are encouraged to bring folding chairs to listen to the free performance by the Repasz Band from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the center of the park.

Vendors will be along the street between the church and the park to keep in line with the will of J. Roman Way, who donated the land for the park to the city in 1913 with the stipulation that it never be used for commercial purposes. Because of this agreement, all money must be transacted outside of the park, which adds to the unique charm of the event, Trate said.

Although it has only had to be held indoors about three times in 56 years, Trate said that in the event of rain, the exhibit will relocate to the YWCA. “We will decide at 9 a.m. that morning if it will be held indoors at the YWCA or not,” Trate said. “Those who want to know can call me at 419-2599 because if it is moved, I will be running around that morning and not able to call every exhibitor.”

All applications and fees are due to Gretchen Mangiardi at 1209 Shiffler Ave., Williamsport, PA 17701. There is a $25 to participate as an exhibitor for non-BEAL members, which also includes a membership in BEAL for the remainder of 2013. Applications are available at den-art-show.html, which also has details for vendors who are interested in setting up outside the park.

“The show is only for artists who hand-make their crafts and photographers,” Trate said. “You can still sign up the day of the show and bring your stuff because the show is open to anyone.”