Bash goes smoothly

Rain holds off for festival celebrating the arts in Marietta

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The first ever Brick Street Arts Bash, a day-long celebration of the arts and art education, was held in a two block area Saturday on Putnam Street in Marietta.

The event was organized by a group of Marietta College Music students with Leader-in Residence, Donna Collins, the Executive Director of the Ohio Arts Council. The event was free and open to everyone.

Events included a wide range of live music, dance and theatre performances on two outdoor stages and in the Peoples Bank Theatre. There were also art exhibitions with support from local businesses, hands-on art experiences and dance activities, arts vendors and a variety of food.

“The rain has held off. That’s the biggest thing,” expressed Marshall Kimball, Marietta College Music Department Chairman.

“It’s running really smoothly. We started setting up at 6 a.m. and had it done by 9:30,” said Kimball. “We have lots of volunteers, there’s people everywhere. It’s great.”

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Kimball explained that one of the goals they set out to accomplish was to bring the businesses, community and college together and to make people aware of the arts. They felt that they accomplished that.

“We’re hoping the community organizations pick this up,” said Kimball. “It would be hard for us as a music department to do this annually because it takes a lot of funding and a lot of manpower and hours.”

“If some community groups can come together,” suggested Kimball, “I would be happy to work with them because I think it is for the betterment of everybody. We hope some community groups are interested.”

The first Brick Street Arts Bash was well-attended by all ages. Even though rain was in the forecast, it never did rain but the weather was cool.

“All the wonderful music and activity is wonderful for this town,” expressed Tom Sharretts, of Marietta. “It excites and binds the community and is good for business people, the college and the theater. This is great.”

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One of the crowd favorites was banjo player Steven Moore, 25, of St. Clairsville, who is a 2012 graduate of Marietta College.

“This festival is great. This is like coming home,” expressed Moore.“I’m so glad Marshall asked me to come play.”

Moore, who is a two-time National Banjo Champion (2008 and 2015), started playing the banjo when he was eight years old. He said the banjo sound has always attracted him since he was a child, saying “The bark of the five string sucked me in.”

Moore’s banjo performance on the Putnam Street stage awed the crowd. His music is available at stevenmoorebanjo.com.

“I think Steven Moore is a treasure and under appreciated,” said Melinda Barmann of Marietta. “He is terrific.”

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“This is the best festival ever,” continued Barmann. “I’ve been waiting for this.”

Vintage Mix was a very talented and unusual group that performed at the Brick Street Bash. Vintage Mix is a barbershop quartet from Milwaukee that consisted of three girls and one boy. They also happen to be 16-year-old quintuplets. Their beautiful sound has landed them appearances on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America” and “Fox and Friends.”

Sabrina Wittekind of Marietta performed “Bollywood dancing” which is a genre of music that comes from movies. Wittekind is a Zumba instructor of Lay H Farm in Fleming.

“It’s a really great day for our town to appreciate the arts,” emphasized Wittekind. “This festival deserves a lot of merit. It’s about the arts and kids.”

Welding Artist David Griesmyer, 38, of Malta, finished his welded 20-foot-long fish sculpture just in time for Saturday’s event and it was very well-received.

The large fish sculpture on display at the bash will be one of nine fish when done. It will be a school of fish. They will be 20 feet up in the air beside each other. Griesmyer said it will be part of a series of sculptures he will do that will ultimately be displayed between Zanesville and Marietta.

Other sculptures to follow will be a 25-foot-tall buck and also a sculpture of a doe and two fawns.

The idea is to bring tourism to southeast Ohio. Griesmyer said he hopes the Brick Street Arts Bash becomes an annual event. He wants to be a part of it.

“Today’s been amazing,” admitted Griesmyer. “We’ve received a lot of interest in our sculptures.”

“I think this is a great event and fun. It a nice gathering of the area’s art community,” said Jessie Siefert, Education Director at the Parkerburg Art Center. “The organizers are doing a really good job.”

There were many vendors at the bash including photographer Deb Lorentz of Veto who was selling fine art photography.

“I love this festival,” said Lorentz. “I’m meeting a lot of really nice people.”

Maribeth Saleem-Tanner of Williamstown enjoyed the day at the festival with her children, Jonah, 4, and Iris, 8.

“This is wonderful. We thought we would only come down for a little bit because it was chilly, but we’ve been here for about three hours,” stated Saleem-Tanner. “We’ve had a wonderful time. All of the hands-on activities have been greatly entertaining.”

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