Sunday, April 23, 2017

Rivers and Spires: A Thank You for the Memories and Opportunities

Here in my hometown of Clarksville, TN, The Rivers and Spires Festival has become an annual tradition and one I'll always hold a fondness for.  This year was to be it's 15th and final year, yet the remainder of the weekend was unfortunately cancelled due to inclement weather.  It seems this is a sad note for the community to part ways on so I wanted to extend my own heartfelt thanks and goodbyes.  

Rivers and Spires had been around a few years before I really got serious about art in my mid-twenties.  The festival became a local event where I first broke through some barriers as far as finding ways to display my artwork to the public.  I quickly found my work stuck out like a sore thumb, got funny looks, gasps, laughs, and eventually collectors who would seek me out and even become friends.  At first, I started out sharing booth spaces with other artists and splitting the cost.  This eventually gave me the courage to attend other art fairs outside town and now as of recent years, attend comic and horror conventions as well.

As I developed a relationship with our local festival, I also was honored to win their Poster Contest two consecutive years in 2010 and 2011.  It was a cool feeling seeing my custom artwork displayed on billboards, fliers, t-shirts, and the official festival poster around town leading up to the event!  It's an experience I'll never forget and one which gave me plenty of confidence in my abilities as a growing artist.  

Rivers and Spires began as a celebration of a recently-rebuilt town after the 1999 tornado which destroyed much of Downtown Clarksville.  Over the next couple of years, we'll see many more additions to the downtown area again.  As we feel the swell of ever-expanding Nashville, the city grows and grows.  I'm excited for the changes- a new downtown park which is about to break ground, a new arts center as the Roxy expands, and even a Barnes and Noble bookstore will all be here before we know it.  

The ending of Rivers and Spires will be the passing of a torch to a new Clarksville and I'm hopeful for things to come!   Many thanks to the entire event staff and every single local volunteer who offered their time to make Rivers and Spires a wonderful event each year (rain or shine)!

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