‘No interest’ scraps Owatonna arts festival

For 22 years, the Owatonna Arts Center has hosted the Festival of the Arts, but no more — at least not for a year.

The festival has been canceled because of lack of interest, the Owatonna People’s Press reports.

There’s not as many artists as we would need to fill the park,” said Cindy Rossow, former board member currently serving on the festival committee. “We trust that we will be hosting a wonderful, diverse arts festival next year.”

Rossow said turnout and artist participation last year was less than what the OAC would typically like to have.

The Festival of the Arts was held the last weekend of July since 1993 and, over the past several years, has been coupled with Crazy Days sidewalk sale and the street dance in downtown Owatonna — a time that was dubbed “5 Days of Fun,” later shortened to four.

The festival can accommodate up to 64 artists, but only eight signed up this year.

  • MrE85

    Owatonna: The City Without Art. Not a very catchy motto, is it?

  • Bose

    The business of hosting an arts festival is exactly that: A business. It’s got to compete effectively with others, marketing and promotion have to be multi-faceted, and it doesn’t just need to bring in folks who appreciate art & artists, it’s got to walk the tricky line of drawing buyers. Otherwise, artists and craftspeople won’t pay the application & entrance fees, as well as spring for travel and lodging costs. For them to do otherwise would make them bad at business.

    Generalizing it as “No interest in art” strikes me as a little like pretending the decline in drive-in theaters is due to “no interest in movies”. It’s more complex than that.

  • tboom

    How we value art is one problem, another problem is how we define art. I’ve been to a number of Art Festivals that were actually craft sales. I’ve nothing against handmade crafts and will purchase both art and craft, but there is a difference. I don’t know about the Owatonna Festival of the Arts, but the fact that it’s sponsored by the Owatonna Art Center AND held in conjunction with Crazy Days is confusing.

  • Sareen

    It’s a great reminder when thinking of the Art shows of the summer. What are you getting from going and how is the event benefiting from your participation. We live in the heart of Art-a-whirl, and my young people (even as young as 2yo) are not allowed to go into an artists studio and take any of the snacks on offer unless they engage with the art. Simple questions “why did you decide to use that color? That texture? What appeals to you about making pottery? What the heck were you thinking with this…?” They also get their own cash to spend and negotiate for a piece of art that speaks to them. Feedback from the artists has been amazingly positive. Days of open studios with the masses shoveling through and eating their food/drinking their wine. No one says anything, few people buy. Kids can still see the magic in art – I find it best to allow them to remind me to find the hidden detail.

  • Hi 29

    The real issue isn’t the loss of the Art Festival is that MPR negates to mention the Owatonna Art Center has been struggling for years financially. Resulting in many layoffs and board members leaving