Photo by Howard Alan Events

Howard Alan Events returns to Northeast Ohio with three art festivals

By Ed Carroll

Howard Alan loves bringing art festivals to Northeast Ohio – something he and his company, Howard Alan Events, have done for nearly 30 years.

Why? He credits Cleveland’s enthusiastic art-seeking community, which has supported his festivals over the years. Even if and when shoppers do more browsing than buying, Alan finds his role fulfilling.

“I love my job because we’re bringing art to a community,” he says. “It’s healing, good for the soul. They don’t have to buy anything. It’s just very relaxing, a very mellow thing to do to forget about your problems.”

Why? He credits Cleveland’s enthusiastic art-seeking community, which has supported his festivals over the years. Even if and when shoppers do more browsing than buying, Alan finds his role fulfilling.

In 2018, Howard Alan Events will host three art festivals in Greater Cleveland: the 28th annual Art in the Village with Craft Marketplace, June 2-3 at Legacy Village in Lyndhurst; the 13th annual Crocker Park Fine Art Fair with Craft Marketplace, June 9-10 at Crocker Park in Westlake; and the third annual Flats Festival of the Arts, Aug. 18-19 at the Flats East Bank in downtown Cleveland.

The festivals, all of which are free and open to the public, will feature between 100 to 300 artists, both from across the country and from Northeast Ohio.

“Riverwalk” by Paul Fletcher; original encaustic painting on custom-made wood panel, 32 x 48 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

“Riverwalk” by Paul Fletcher; original encaustic painting on custom-made wood panel, 32 x 48 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

One such local artist, Paul Fletcher of Westlake, plans to exhibit his work at all three shows. Fletcher is an encaustic painter, using beeswax, pigment and some natural tree sap called damar resin. The wax stays hot on heated palettes and he then brushes the wax onto wood panels. He typically paints landscapes, wildlife and birds of the region, and he says he exhibits at the festivals because the shows “attract art-seeking people from the Cleveland area.”

“(The shows give a) boost in profile and sales,” he says. “They give you exposure with people you might not have come into contact with otherwise.”

The shows are a great way to learn who’s buying his art, Fletcher says, since Howard Alan Events requires artists be present at the shows to answer customer questions or describe their process. Fletcher recommends attendees take the time to speak to the artists and says such interaction is mutually beneficial.

“It’s great to get to know the people (and) see where your artwork goes,” he says.

Howard Alan Events has hosted art festivals around the country for years, and in Northeast Ohio specifically, since 1990. That year, Alan’s inaugural area show was held on the shores of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, a spot the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame now calls home.

Howard Alan Events festivals typically bring shoppers for art to areas that may not otherwise attract them. Photo by Howard Alan Events

Howard Alan Events festivals typically bring shoppers for art to areas that may not otherwise attract them. Photo by Howard Alan Events

Since then, Alan’s presence has grown. The Legacy Village and Crocker Park shows are well-established and remain successful, he says, crediting in part the wide range of art at each show as well as the varying price points make items affordable to art enthusiasts at any level.

The Flats Festival of the Arts is newer, however, even for Howard Alan Events, which took over that show just last year. One issue Alan had with The Flats show prior to taking over was that the previous operators had an entrance gate and charged an admission fee – major no-nos in Alan’s book. He says none of his art festivals charge an entry fee.

The festival is staged along the walkways and roads that weave between places like Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Alley Cat Oyster Bar and Punch Bowl Social, among other establishments.

Though that mix of restaurants and bars that result in an influx of people, Alan says his art festival brings people to the district during the day.

“Most people stop buying art at a certain hour and the mode turns to drinking and dining and entertainment,” he says. “But (our show) brings a lot of people to The Flats that otherwise might not have come.”

Alan is bullish on the event’s future.

“The Flats (show) could be one of the top shows in the country if it’s put together properly,” he says. “The Flats is a very special place and it needs a good art show. We’re working with the management at The Flats and they’ve been incredible to work with.” CV

ON LOCATION

Howard Alan Events

  • Art in the Village with Craft Marketplace will take place
    June 2-3 at Legacy Village in Lyndhurst
  • Crocker Park Fine Art Fair with Craft Marketplace will take place June 9-10 at Crocker Park in Westlake
  • Flats Festival of the Arts will take place Aug. 18-19 at the Flats East Bank in downtown Cleveland

For more, visit artfestival.com.


Lead image: Photo by Howard Alan Events