HAZARD—A new art festival series has hit the Hazard area, and its organizers are hoping to pick up steam as it continues throughout the summer.
The first of six festivals, dubbed “Thursdays on the Triangle,” kicked off at Triangle Park in downtown Hazard on Thursday to a large crowd.
“What we’re really doing tonight is trying to encourage folks to see that art has value in our economy and that it’s good for downtown,” Les Roll, who works with the Mountain Association for Community economic Development (MACED), explained before the event started.
MACED received a grant earlier this year from the Rural Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC) to put on the events in downtown Hazard in order “to promote local art and culture,” the Herald reported in May. The festivals are being held in conjunction with MACED, InVision Hazard, the Hazard-Perry County Tourism Board, the Hazard-Perry County Chamber of Commerce, the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, and other local organizations.
“It’s about helping our community see artists as a business and as something that may be a potential option for them, as well as helping our artists see the value in participating in our downtown economy—helping them see that there are opportunities for them to be here and in business,” Roll added.
The festivals, which will be held every other Thursday at the Triangle park until the end of August, starting on June 11, offer the public not only a venue to appreciate and buy art, but to also hear live music, eat local food, and support other local businesses and nonprofits.
“We haven’t had things specifically like this in a while, so it’ll be good for our community,” Roll said.
Something else that will help draw a crowd, Roll added, is having more hands-on art at the events.
“At every one of these ‘Thursdays on the Triangle,’ we will feature a demonstration artist that will interact with the audience, that will actually make art and create art at the festival while people are watching,” he said, adding that there will be a new demonstration at each festival to help incorporate more art education into the events.
The demonstration artist at last week’s festival was local chainsaw carving artist Tim Crager, from Wolfpen.
“That was an important one for us to feature—one, because Timothy is a young entrepreneur. He’s supporting himself; he’s making a living for his family by producing his art and selling his art. Two, he’s from here in the community,” Roll said.
Roll added that the events are free and open to the public. The next festival is scheduled for June 25, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
“I think we’ve all heard, time after time after time, that there’s nothing to do here, there’s never anything to do in Hazard, and this is a good example of how false that is,” Roll said. “We have lots to do and lots to see and lots to offer both ourselves as a community and others that may happen to be in our community for a short time.”
“Festivals and things like this are a great way to come together as a community, and to interact, to socialize, to be together, and to really get a chance to see what our community is offering,” he added.
Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.