TRAVEL HERE: A CHILLY COTTONWOOD CONSTITUTIONAL
They say the familiarity breeds contempt and that’s a little harsh, but easy availability can give rise to complacency. The Cottonwood Arts Festival has been around for decades, it’s free and it’s close. Yet it’s been years since I bothered to go. My loss, completely, my loss. So when my friend Deborah called and suggested a visit on Saturday morning I was quick on the uptake. I just didn’t realize that I was going to freeze to death.
The Cottonwood Arts Festival
Cottonwood Park, home of the festival, is on Beltline in Richardson, right across from a high school with a football stadium. We parked at the high school and a shuttle dropped us off at the entrance to the park. As cool as it was, I was surprised at the bustling crowd. On a warmer day we might have been faced with quite a trek.
What I noticed right away was the crisp, professional look of the event grounds. The white booths are lined up with military precision on aisles marked with large nylon banners sporting the names of famous artist’s like O’Keefe and Matisse. No cheap camping awnings of blue plastic with rickety card tables and cigar box cash boxes for Cottonwood. It’s a juried show, not a place for those riding in their first rodeo.
The next couple of hours were given over to pure enjoyment. The painting, sculpture and decorative arts were nice, but I’ll admit I lingered longer at the jewelry counters. Innovative designs, unusual materials, excellent craftsmanship and the-sky’s-the-limit creativity were evident throughout the festival, whether the medium was exotic woods, diamonds, glass or clay.
More than just a feast for the eyes, Cottonwood offers up musical entertainment, as well as food. A Beatles cover band was playing old favorites as I sniffed the air for favorite scents. I had a delicious pretzel and some marvelous candied pecans, but there was everything from fried Oreos to fruit smoothies – a little something for everyone.
I’ve got to tell you though, Cottonwood’s not for the faint of pocketbook. Admiring one sculpture, I spied a $6,900 price tag. A gold ring showcasing a rare type of quartz was about $1000 less. Even a bowl made from exotic woods cost $378. I’ll give you that it was pretty, but Home Goods has similar stuff for more like $78. I’m sure the wood is less exotic and it’s machine made, rather than hand-crafted, but I couldn’t help wondering who bought this stuff. Do people really leave home on a chilly Saturday morning and come home with a $6,900 sculpture for the table in the entry hall.
People were making purchases, though. No one whipped out their debit card for the $6,900 sculpture while I was there, but I did see people with all manner of odd-shaped packages, suggesting they’d fallen in love with something they couldn’t leave behind. Maybe I’m just a tightwad.
I did make one purchase that I didn’t eat. October is Deborah’s birthday month, so I told her to keep her eyes open for something she loved. The hand-painted silk shawl she chose was thankfully in my price range. Good friends don’t expect good friends to go broke.
How about you? Would you go to an art festival and drop seven large for your foyer? Whether you would or you wouldn’t, you’d enjoy strolling through the park and seeing all the beautiful pieces of handi-craft. So watch for it when the bi-annual show comes back in the spring. You’ll be warmer then.