It’s all about the art

HOUGHTON – Despite rain and low temperatures, people still made it out to the 12th annual Houghton Arts & Music Festival Saturday.

This year’s festival had 30 vendors in disciplines spanning ceramics, carving and photography. That includes 10 artists new to the festival, said Cynthia Cote, director of the Copper Country Community Arts Center.

Artists apply to the show in advance and are chosen by a jury.

“Every year we ask ourselves, ‘How can we grow the festival?'” Cote said.

This year’s festival added the Keweenaw Bike Initiative, which led a children’s bike parade in the afternoon. There was also a booth where children could make paintings and masks.

“It’s a nice way to get the children involved, too,” Cote said.

John Tobey of Harrison, Mich., was making a return trip to the festival.

“I think it’s really something nice,” he said. “Comfortable, not too big. Very nice people who are selling, except they’re all freezing to death.”

Tobey was particularly interested in Lake Superior gemstones “because it’s part of the U.P.”

Andrew Zimmerman and Bailey McAllister, who recently moved to Hancock, stumbled upon the festival while exploring downtown.

“We just enjoyed seeing all the crafts, because we haven’t seen them yet,” McAllister said.

Painter Mariana Nakashima started six years ago, but escalated last year when one of her husband’s students asked for a portrait.

“I did the portrait and she really enjoyed it,” she said. “She asked for three more paintings.”

Her work on display Saturday included paintings of local nature scenes and an old gas station in Lake Linden.

“I was trying to make scenes of the area, so people have that connection to what they see everyday,” she said.

By about 2 p.m., her biggest sale had been a painting to a friend of the former Detroit Theatre. But she was still enjoying the festival.

“I sold some cards, I met new people,” she said.