Art With Heart

Art enhances our lives in many intangible ways. But for one weekend this month, it will help enhance the lives of countless Columbians in a very tangible way, thanks to the Fall Into Art showcase.

Free and open to the public, Fall Into Art combines art, music and education with fundraising for The Food Bank For Central & Northeast Missouri. Each year for the past two years, the event has donated more than $2,000 to The Food Bank.

According to event organizer Farrah Nieuwenhuizen, 52 artists were selected to participate this year from a pool of 72 applicants through a juried selection process. The judge was award-winning watercolorist and Stephens College instructor Kate Gray.

The artists work in a wide variety of media including jewelry, sculpture, drawing, painting, ceramics, fiber and more. Many are local, but there are some from surrounding areas and out of state. In addition to displaying art of theirs that’s for sale, each artist is asked to donate a piece of art for a silent auction. This year, the auction items will be displayed together, instead of at each individual artist’s booth.

In addition to raising funds through the silent auction, showcase attendees are encouraged to bring in non-perishable food items or to donate via personal check. For every $1 donated, The Food Bank is able to purchase 10 cans of food. There will be a donation box located at the entrance.

The event is family-friendly, featuring a host of kids’ activities, such as face painting, art projects and demonstrations. Guests can enjoy free cider and cookies. Live musicians will be on hand to entertain the crowd, which numbered nearly 2,500 last year. Both of the Parkade restaurants will be open on Saturday, and the Sub Shop will be open Sunday as well for hungry patrons. Nieuwenhuizen hopes visitors will make a day of it.

She acknowledges that Art in the Park is Columbia’s oldest and most well known art showcase, but says Fall Into Art is gaining prominence. Event co-organizer, Kay Foley, agrees, “I had one woman tell me she actually found more things at our show than she did at Art in the Park last year.”

“It’s becoming pretty well known in the mid-Missouri area,” Niewenhuizen says. “The good part is that it’s located in a place where there’s a lot of parking and it’s indoors in case the weather is bad,” she says. “It’s also just before Thanksgiving and Christmas when a lot of people are looking for gifts.”

“We have a really, really terrific slate of artists this year,” Foley says. “Quite a few new artists. We had to turn away some really fabulous new jewelers. It just gets better every year.”

Nieuwenhuizen and several other artists founded Fall Into Art because they felt Columbia artists needed more avenues to showcase their work. She says the city used to have a large art show near the courthouse, but it was discontinued, so there was a void. She and Foley feel Fall Into Art helps fill it.

“Come and see all the talent you’ll find on display,” Nieuwenhuizen says. “It’s really wonderful.”

The showcase runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Parkade Event Center at 601 Business Loop 70 W. You can find more information at

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