Successful Summer Festival Plays on the Power of Collaborative Art

The North Country Arts Council's annual Summer Arts Festival on Saturday in Watertown featured dozens of artisans and several collaborative art activities, including a community mural hosted by the betterArts division of Better Farm.

All-day events at the festival included Plein Air Artists at work, an instrument petting zoo, Kid at HeART Tent, live demonstrations, art vendor sales, an author tent, and food vendors.  Over at Better Farm's table, we set up a blank canvas, which last summer gained some fish, underwater creatures, and vegetation courtesy of artists Scott Mueller (on betterArts' board) and Mark Dilks (former betterArts resident):
Once the canvas was stretched, the paints were laid out, and our literature on the betterArts residency program and Better Farm sustainability internship were fanned across the table, we were ready to begin.

While visitors stopped in to lend a hand with the mural, others down the block worked on a sidewalk-chalking contest; thereby rounding out collaborative activities throughout the day. The benefits of collaborative art for young children (and adults!) is well-documented. Focusing as part of a whole reduces a sense of competition between artists; while also bringing a group together to focus on a common goal.

These sensibilities tie perfectly in with betterArts' mission, to increase accessibility to the arts in the North Country for all people. Whether a professional painter or toddler who loves to dip his or her hands in paint, we believe art is truly for everyone—and that the simple act of art for art's sake has the power to transform and improve lives.

Here are pictures of progress made on the group mural:

Many thanks to Soon Kai Poh, Tyler Howe, Kristen Caldwell, Jeff Krusel, and Nicole Caldwell for running Better Farm's table at the arts festival. Thanks to Scott Mueller for the canvas, Scott Mueller and Mark Dilks for drawing the outlines on the canvas, and Mike Brown for donating paints and brushes.