ARTapalooza draws crowds to Main Street

SYDNEY HAUER, Executive Editor | [email protected]

Community members and students gathered on Main Street on Saturday, Sep. 8, for ARTapalooza, an annual fine arts showcase.

Local vendors working in different mediums such as ceramics, painting, jewelry and photography lined the street, showcasing their artwork. Visitors wandered from tent to tent to the sound of the Cedar Falls High School big band and other acoustic musicians, talking to artists about and viewing their work.

Children with painted faces tried out various string instruments at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls symphony tent. Local businesses and some stores on Main Street had additional booths, such as Cedar Valley Art and Wine and jewelry store Stone Feather Road.

Will Overstreet is a local artist living in Cedar Falls and is a graduate of the UNI Department of Art. This was his fifth year participating in the showcase. 

“I’ve been making artwork for my entire life, but I started painting on-canvas paintings probably when I was 17, so probably 20 plus years,” Overstreet said.

“Sometimes, you’re staring at a canvas, and you make a line and just kind of follow to the next line,” Overstreet said. “You just let it go and just follow the path. Sometimes I might have an idea and sketch it out ahead of time; it just kind of depends.”

Overstreet had mixed media original prints on display, made from previous oil paintings he created. He takes the print and adds new details to it, making it an entirely independent, new artwork.

“It’s taking older things and kind of renewing them a little bit,” Overstreet said.

Ryan Knipp is another artist from Waterloo who works primarily in painting, but also does some drawing and printmaking. He generally uses acrylic paint with marker over the top.

“I am inspired by the idea of paranoia,” Knipp explained about his work. “[…] I’ve really liked Salvador Dali, Keith Herring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, just kind of those guys. More contemporary, Banksy and Mr. Brainwash. I’m pulling something from a little bit of everywhere I guess.”

Audrey Simpson, senior TESOL and political science major, said she went to ARTapalooza because she enjoys community activities.

“Some of the paintings were really neat,” Simpson said. “I wish I just had unlimited funds and a permanent house so I could put it up. Some of the jewelry was really cute as well. I love fun jewelry.”

Another UNI student, Kyle Hobt, decided to attend ARTapalooza after seeing a sign advertising it while driving.

“I love supporting local art and coming to check out what Cedar Falls has to offer for arts and stuff,” Hobt said

Hobt was at the festival with his friend, Maddie Williams, a graduate student at UNI studying social work. She purchased artwork from one of the vendors.

“I like creating art myself and I like looking at other people’s, and how they can create things that I can’t create,” Williams said. “I just love paintings and drawings and pottery and I like collecting it.”

Knipp said ARTapalooza is different from other art showcases he has participated in because community members go there to actually buy the artwork and support the artists.

“It’s always a great turnout,” Knipp said. “I don’t know how it is, but every time I’ve done this event it’s been like the best day of the year — just perfect weather.”