India. Canada. Minnesota. Fort Worth. Artists showcasing their work at the MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival come from everywhere. But they are differentiated by more than their hometowns. Their work spans various mediums from painting to printmaking, to digital art, to ceramics. On April 20-23, they will join more than 200 other artists and more than 80 musical performers for three days of culture, food and entertainment.
Pamela Summers has always been a Fort Worthian. She was inspired to be an artist by her mother, as well as her art teacher at Paschal High School. “I grew up smelling oil paint and finding palettes in the freezer,” Summers says.
One of the few times she left the city was to attend art school in South Africa. Summers originally studied graphic design but found herself spending much of her time in the ceramic studio. She became a potter after school and now incorporates graphic design within her ceramics. This will be Summers’ 10th year at MAIN ST.
George Rabb says he can’t even count how many years he’s shown his work in Sundance Square. The Millbrook, Ontario, resident says he feels his art is appreciated more in Texas than in some other states.
Rabb discovered his passion for art as a teenager. “In high school, I had an inspired art teacher who made me believe in the joy of creating images,” he said. He originally studied humanities in college but later switched to an art college that he felt was a better fit. Rabb gained experience in a lot of different media but found the unpredictability of printmaking especially appealing. Tasks such as mixing inks or working with metal plates can result in “happy surprises,” he says, and most of the final prints depict natural areas and landscapes. Living in a rural, wilderness area gave Rabb the time to interpret the beauty and serenity of nature, which characterize his work.
Nature is his favorite part about Texas too. He says he’s particularly fond of the wildflowers found along major highways.
Using a combination of Photoshop, photography and paint, Minnesota native Dewey James is a self-proclaimed “visual storyteller” who decided to specialize in digital artwork due to its freedom and flexibility. Her art is characterized by her ability to combine several mediums into one piece of work. “It’s home for me,” she says. “It’s what I love to do.”
Though she’s been showing her work for the past 14 years, this will be James’ first appearance at the MAIN ST. festival. She says she’s humbled to be chosen for the festival, calling its artists the “best of the best.”
James also hopes to do some exploring in the city.
“I'm going to take a guidebook to see what all is out there,” she says.
The subjects for Joachim Knill’s paintings are inspired by the stuffed animal collection he had as a child. Knill says he sees his art as familiar and endearing, but at the same time, strange and different.
Knill has lived in Switzerland, Boston and now Hannibal, Missouri. “I grew up just always making art,” he says, having been raised in an art-inclined family.
When he’s in Fort Worth (he says he’s been to at least 10 MAIN ST. festivals), Knill doesn’t stray too far from downtown, eating at restaurants like Piranha Killer Sushi. After this year’s MAIN ST. festival ends, he will head straight to New Orleans to showcase his work at the New Orleans Jazz Fest on April 28-30.
Shahid Khan was born in Ahmadabad, India. Ten years later, knowing no English, he moved to Ohio to live with his aunt. He later went on to study business at Ohio State University but decided to take a break from that curriculum and take art classes. Khan had several friends studying art at the university at the time, and one of them introduced him to glassblowing. “I knew the moment I stepped in the glass studio, it felt right,” he said.
Khan ended up graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in glass and sculpture. He’s honed his skills while traveling the world working under different artists, both helping them with and learning about their artwork.
This year Khan will participate in MAIN ST.’s Visiting Artist Program, in which artists visit schools and encourage students to pursue careers in the arts. After the festival is over, Khan will head back to his studio in Corpus Christi.
Main St. Arts Festival
Downtown Fort Worth
April 20 – 23
Artist booths close at 8 p.m. Thursday − Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday