The annual arts festival celebrates 10 years and creates an additional opportunity for local artists.
Columbia’s art scene is ever-bursting with creativity. Throughout the year, many artists working in various media showcase their work at festivals like Art in the Park and First Fridays, which help to keep the community alive and bubbling with new artistic ideas. Added to this plethora of exhibitions is Fall into Art, held in the Plaza Event Center at Parkade during a weekend in November.
Fall into Art began in 2009. This festival is geared toward artists from Columbia’s surrounding areas who do not regularly get to display their artwork publicly. Hence, the festival gives artists the experience of exhibiting on a professional, public platform while gaining exposure from local consumers. The festival is also indoors, allowing artists to create strong relationships with consumers while being shielded from the nascent impending cold.
The festival was created by a committee of four local artists. These artists felt the need to establish an additional avenue for more local artists to showcase their work.
“We felt that we needed another arts festival for artists in places that were close by in Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, and Kansas,” says Farah Nieuwenhuizen, one of the founding members.
Farah has been instrumental since the festival’s inception. She has executed her work thoroughly and is now the festival’s chair, overseeing important logistics that initiate seamless festival operations. As chair, she is one of the main communication points between artists and the festival. She applies for artist licenses from the City of Columbia and curates packets that guide artists during the festival.
Although the festival has been gifted with an expert leader, its development has not been without challenges. The beginning was off to a sluggish start.
“When we started, we didn’t have much interest. Only 20 artists showcased their work. However, we now have eighty artists that apply, and we take 55 with beautiful work,” says Farah.
The festival has excelled over the years and attracted many artists. Now, the exhibitions highlight work from various media such as painting, ceramics, photography, jewelry, and mixed media. To show work at Fall into Art, a judge appointed by the festival’s board examines applications and determines what artists make the cut.
“When artists apply, they are required to submit three slides of their best work. They also must add another slide of their booth setup. The judge then selects the final artists to showcase at the festival,” says Farah.
Fall into Art also uses their platform for philanthropy. They host an auction during the festival to raise money for the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. The auction is facilitated by volunteers from the Food Bank and each artist is asked to contribute a piece of their art for the auction.
As they celebrate 10 years of operation, Fall into Art has welcomed local artists to contribute to the local art scene. The festival has continuously and graciously given to Columbia’s art community and helped to care for it. The festival is free and will be held on November 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and November 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.