ArtArt in the Park, the 2-day, free fine arts and crafts festival organized by the Columbia Art League, returns to Stephens Lake Park for its 59th year on Saturday, June 3, and Sunday, June 4. The festival will feature 108 artists from 20 states, some from as far away as Oregon, Florida and Minnesota. There will be an amazing array of artwork for sale in a wide range of media.

After the rousing reception that the three inaugural art installations received last year, there will be five installations this year. All five were designed specifically for Art in the Park.

“I love the art installations,” says Diana Moxon, executive director of the Columbia Art League. “That’s really been a fun new component. They’re so interactive and seeing them get built at the festival is really interesting.”

“Sun Salutations,” by St. Louis-based artist Leland Dexter-Russel, is a 12-foot, animatronic, solar-powered flower sculpture that will open and close at regular intervals and track the path of the sun as it moves across the sky.

“The Art Festival,” by Columbia artist Tom Stauder, is a metaphor for the unseen activity that makes Art in the Park possible. This 30-foot tall ziggurat will be made entirely of recycled display stands, all to support a single symbolic objet d’art atop the giant pedestal.

“Grazing Horses,” by Butch Corva, are life-sized recycled metal horses that visitors will find grazing on the grounds of the park.

“Menagerie/Penelope,” by Columbia artist Dan Goldstein, is a menagerie of large animals constructed of wood and steel that will invite children and adults to take a closer look, discovering interactive, re-arrangeable words and shapes decorating their sides.

And finally, “We Play it Together,” a giant gameboard with 12-foot vinyl pieces by St. Louis artist, Norleen Nosri, is back by popular demand from last year’s festival.

Twenty-three artworks by Boone County High School students will be on display in the Commerce Bank Emerging Artist pavilion. Festival visitors are encouraged to stop by and vote for their favorite.

Graduate student scientists will be engaging kids with experiments that combine the worlds of color and chemistry at the Bond Life Sciences Center Artful Science tent.

ArtAlong with all the art on display, festival-goers may encounter strolling magicians, a balloon-animal maker, a juggling stilt-walker, silk aerialists and more.

Kansas City’s StoneLion Puppet theatre will also be on hand performing three short puppet plays each day in the Kid’s Art Tent.

Musical entertainment on the Woodcrest stage will include the band The Follow and other acts. With so much activity, Moxon says she always takes time to stop and take it all in.

“I always really like at some point during the weekend just standing still on the little hill and looking out over this incredible festival that popped up over 24 hours. It’s quite amazing really. We get to give this festival to Columbia and it’s a nice thing to remember how much joy it brings.”

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Free parking is available at the Boone Hospital Medical Plaza. More information about the festival, artists and entertainment is available at here.

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