Art festivals help showcase local artists after a year without them

According to local artists, events like the Cotton District Arts Festival are vital.

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – The Cotton District Arts Festival was held today after it was canceled last year due to COVID.

And according to local artists, events like the Cotton District Arts Festival are vital.

“It’s all good. This is all such a relief and a breath of fresh air for everyone,” woodcarver Alexander Brown said.

Across the state, artists are trying to showcase their pieces at festivals.

The Cotton District Arts Festival is another place for new artists like Audrey Aldridge to put themselves out there.

“This is my first time to ever sell anything that I’ve made. So this is really intimidating but exciting at the same time. I hope that everybody likes it and finds something they like,” Aldridge said.

Along with new and upcoming artists, Alexander Brown, a wood craver who’s been selling his pieces for years, said art festivals are where creative people can decide if they want to turn a hobby into a career.

“If it’s their first art festival, then they’re probably exploring the option of can I make this at least a hobby that’s profitable that helps me keep my hobby going. Some are, they’re diving headfirst into it and they really want to do art full time,” Brown said.

Brown said because of COVID canceling festivals across the state last year, the art world struggled.

“I missed so many shows last year. I lost 15 to 17 art festivals. Fortunately, locals go a lot of the commissions and they helped out a lot,” Brown said.

With restrictions gone, Aldridge said that art festivals can help bring the passion for art back into communities like Starkville.

“Everyone needs a little creativity in their life and it helps expand so many other areas in your life and I just think it’s important,” Aldridge said.

Brown said that festivals not only help artists out, but also pump life into cities.

“It’s a big event. People can be outside. They can interact. People have just been cooped up in their house for a long long time and I’m one of them. So, it’s kind of fun when I started doing art festivals again this year,” Brown said.

The festival lasted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and had over a thousand attend.

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