There is something for every arts lover at Norton Commons Arts Festival 2019

Besides the tulips blooming and Derby festivities abuzz, another sign that spring has arrived is the Annual Art Festival at Norton Commons Town Center. This year’s two-day extravaganza will be held May 18 and 19 from 11 am to 5 pm.

With about 100 artists, craftspeople and food vendors participating, you will find a fine array of hand-made artisan products to peruse and purchase. The event also features live music, a kids’ area and food and drinks available, so you can plan to make a whole day of it. Event entry and parking are free.

From fine art to hand-crafted soaps to pottery to bourbon barrel art, jewelry to stained glass to steam punk industrial metal art, there is something to catch the eye of any arts lover at the festival.

We talked with a few artists who will be on hand at the event to get their perspective on Norton Commons Arts Festival 2019.

This is the second year at the festival for Tonya Tate and her company Nature’s Bath hand-crafted bath and body products. “It’s the perfect clientele to appreciate what I do,” said Tate, who started the company with her sister, Rene, who passed three years ago from pancreatic cancer. Tate wanted to keep the business going for her sister and to give back to other women.

“You see women that walk up to your booth and you become best friends with all these females because you care. Women just work so hard and wear so many hats. We wanted a way to give back and also be ‘green,’” she said. The Nature’s Bath product line is all-natural and includes products for skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne and rosacea as well as products for anti-aging, moisturizing and exfoliating.

Last year’s appearance at the Norton Commons Arts Festival led to Tate’s products now being stocked on the shelves at Kroger stores. The business owner said she sees great value in Norton Commons as an incubator for new small businesses. “Louisville needs what Norton Commons offers – they need to give entrepreneurs a chance.”

Margaret Cooney’s appearance at last year’s Arts Festival was her first show after a 25-year hiatus. The potter and ceramic artist is returning this year with a new outlook and new work.  After two decades of raising and home-schooling five children, Cooney said she is starting over and the look of her pieces reflects that.

“I used to use darker colors and now I have started using white clay and developing my own original glazes,” said Cooney. “I am excited about the new direction I am going.” Cooney’s daughter told her the new work perfectly reflects the mother she knows now. “She said this is ‘so me’ right now.  I do think art reflects the artist where they are. My slogan is earthy elegance.”

Cooney said the atmosphere at the Norton Commons Arts Festival is warm, welcoming and high-quality. “Other artists and the people walking and viewing – everyone had such encouraging comments. My family came last year and really enjoyed the whole show. I love everything about it.”

Thirty-somethings Shane Crady and his wife Leigh are both artists returning for a second year at the festival. Shane creates custom-made bourbon barrel stave chandeliers and planters, a hobby that turned into a money-making proposition back in 2015.  Leigh has painted since childhood and now works in oils, painting from photographs she’s taken around the couple’s farm, the state and even around the world.

For Shane Crady, Tall Cotton Trading Co. was initially inspired from a practical purpose – he wanted outside lighting for the couple’s farm in Simpsonville that could withstand weather. “I wanted something that could be outside in the barn or underneath the carport or walkways. But then everyone really liked the chandeliers and started asking for them.”

The bourbon barrel artist said the Norton Commons Festival caters to the high-quality workmanship of both his and his wife’s art. “We knew we would do well at the festival because we put a lot of time and passion into our work and we can showcase that to people who are going to see that quality and appreciate that.” Crady also said he and his wife have fun at the festival because “it’s a family-oriented event has good vendors, music and it’s well-laid out. I admire the ambience they have created at Norton Commons. It says, ‘We’re here, it’s welcoming, you’re going to like it, come on in.’”

The Norton Commons Arts Festivals will be happening at 10712 Meeting Street, 40059.