Thousands will enjoy the crisp and sunny North Georgia spring weather while they shop for affordable fine art and gifts in downtown Canton. Presented by the Cherokee Arts Center, the 16th annual Canton Festival of the Arts will feature art by 45 Southern artists and an all-new chalk event on May 4-5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sponsored by Northside Hospital Cherokee, the festival gives people a chance to admire fine art and artist demonstrations throughout the weekend. Adults and kids will get artistic at “make and take” art stations, enjoy live music sponsored by the Cherokee Music Center and classic fair food including kettle corn and funnel cakes along with craft beer and wine.

“This will give people a chance to shop for unique Mother’s Day and graduation gifts that will be treasured for years to come,” said Lisa Brunelle, board president of the Cherokee Arts Center, the not-for-profit organization that benefits from the festival.

While entry is free, a $5 donation per adult with a $10 family cap is suggested to benefit the Cherokee Arts Center.

Works of art including jewelry, pottery, woodworking, glass, sculptures, textiles, paintings and much more. Artists from Georgia, the Carolinas and Alabama will have art available for purchase at a variety of price points.

These artists include people like Rick Zenna, one of the watercolor artists in the community. Zenna has been a Canton resident for three years and once he landed here, jumped head first into the Canton lifestyle and perfecting his art. With training by Elle Hobgood (Mayor Gene Hobgood’s wife), Gary Curtis and John Horne, this longtime acrylic and oil painter chose to explore the world of watercolor.

“I was told if you can paint flora, you can do anything,” Zenna said. “Watercolor seemed to be freer; you can experiment with pigments and everything is opposite, you can do your lights and then your darks.”

Zenna and the other 44 artists showcased at the Canton Arts Festival will be showing and selling their one of a kind art for everyone to enjoy.

A new feature this year is the Canton Chalk Walk area, sponsored by Blick Art Materials. Aspiring artists can create sidewalk chalk art live on May 4. The art will be on display all weekend long, weather-permitting. Anyone interested can register ahead of the festival; day-of walk-in registrations are welcome while space lasts. There is a small registration fee.

“Our goal is to enrich people’s lives through art,” Brunelle said. “The new Canton Chalk Walk event and Jack Fincher Jr. Rising Artist Market will give both children and adults a way to practice creativity in an energetic and artistic atmosphere.”

The Jack Fincher Jr. Rising Artist Market gives student artists from Cherokee County the opportunity to showcase and sell their artwork. It also gives them an opportunity to visit with professional artists who can share the tricks of their trade. Students from Cherokee, River Ridge, Woodstock, Creekview and Sequoyah high schools will showcase their art.

In addition to fine art, festival goers can grab some shade under the big tent and hear music by talented musicians from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Sponsored by Cherokee Music Center, the stage will feature Southern rocker Chloe Litton, headlining the Saturday lineup with power vocals, emotion and solid guitar strumming. Folk duo Etowah River Band will close the festival on May 5 with classic rock favorites.

The Canton Festival of the Arts is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 4-5, at Brown Park at 251 E. Marietta St. in downtown Canton. Parking is free on the street, parking lots and at the Cherokee County Courthouse parking deck at 94 N. Main St.

Visit cantonartfestival.com or follow @CantonFestival on Facebook for more information.

Born and raised in the Canton/ Woodstock area, a graduate of Reinhardt University and a lover of life.

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