The 11th Annual Art on the Avenue festival will be held on Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mount Vernon Avenue, from Hume Avenue to Bellefonte Avenue. The event features over 300 artists from around the region. There are multi-cultural dining options, from Middle Eastern cuisine to pizza and crab cakes. Children’s activities and music acts are held throughout the day. There will also be the judging and awarding for the third annual Art on the Avenue Pie Baking Contest. Musical entertainment will be held on three different stages.
Full information about the festival, including directions and schedules, can be found on www.artontheavenue.org.
Here are some artists who will be showing their wares at Art on the Avenue 2006. More artist profiles are available on www.connectionnewspapers.com.
<sh>Mark Cato and Tami Wells-Cato
Sometimes they live on a small farm outside of Shepherdstown, W. Va., with more than 80 goats, four geese, a horse and a rooster. Other times, they own and operate the Gingerbread Cottage Country Candles store, filled with an entirely different kind of animal — the wax-dipped kind.
Mark Cato and Tami Wells-Cato take pride in offering items with originality — they have more than 80 scents and can apply them to any of their products. The store is located in a 215-year-old historic home near Charles Town that has candles, potpourri, bath and body products.
And about those wax-dipped stuffed animals: they’re not candles. “Wax dipped animals are plush toys that are dipped in the scented candle wax. They are decorative air fresheners,” said Mark Cato. “They last for 4-6 months before you warm them with a blow-dryer to refresh them.”
The waxy animals are priced between $12-22.
Visit www.gbccc.com for more information.
Amanda Engels moved to Alexandria after receiving her BFA from the Art Institute of Boston. “There I stumbled upon the Art on the Avenue festival which convinced me to find a place in the neighborhood,” she said.
Last year’s festival was the first year she participated and she said the community support was more than she expected.
“I enjoy the neighborhood feeling of it as well,” she said. “Other art festivals tend to be more like outdoor conventions and a bit repetitive, where as Art on the Avenue is alive with energy.”
Engels is an oil painter who currently resides in Baltimore. She plans on showing a collection of landscapes she has completed since returning from a two-month stint in Italy.
She won’t be alone: her mother, Susan Chapman, will be showing original purses for the first time. “The festival provides the perfect environment for me to work with my mother side by side,” said Engels.
Visit www.alengels.com for more information.
Kata Witorsch worked in the fashion/cosmetics industry when she lived in Hungary, and sometimes draws inspiration for her jewelry art from fashion, as well as from nature.
“While my many of my pieces mirror traditional jewelry,
I try to infuse them with unconventional touches by mixing different types of beads with crystals, coral, pearls, and shells,” said Witorsch.
She recently moved to Alexandria, and has never been to Art on the Avenue before as either a vendor or a visitor. “I have however, heard great things about it, both from other artists and previous visitors. I am really looking forward to it. So far, the support and marketing from the organizers has been fantastic,” said Witorsch, who lives in Rosemont.
For more information, visit www.katawitorsch.com.
Tracy Rohr of Mechanicsville said she’s been involved with art her entire life. Lately, Rohr’s been gravitating towards original jewelry. “I recently discovered anodized aluminum, my new love, which allows me maximum creative flexibility, and combines my love of color and texture,” said the artist. “I try to create unique pieces — functional works of art meant to be worn and enjoyed.”
Rohr’s also a big fan of Art on the Avenue. “The atmosphere is so positive — it seems people are ready to be outside in the fresh air and lower humidity and temperatures, and just happy to be living in such a great area.”
Visit www.studiotracyr.com for more information.
Ann-Margaret Arnold had always wanted to open her own tea room, and had the chance to do so while living in Alabama. "We redid my great-grandmother's home, which was a little over 100 years old, and opened the tea room," she said. "All of the tea time fare which we served was homemade, and the tea room included a specialty gift shoppe in which we carried a variety of specialty loose leaf teas."
Just as she was exploring the options to open an online store, her husband was offered a job in Kuwait. They lived there for about two years before moving to Alexandria in May.
Now, her tea commerce aspirations are percolating again.
"I will be showcasing my line of specialty teas at Art on the Avenue, which includes a variety of black, green, white, rooibus, herbal, and green teas. I custom blend some of my teas and also have custom blended bath teas. I personally measure and package all of my teas and create and design the labels for each one," she said.
The tea room may be closed, but Arnold hopes her first Art on the Avenue allows others to explore the benefits of some tea time. "I hope to continue to encourage people to learn more about the joy of tea, its health benefits, and all the many ways it can be enjoyed," she said.