Greenlight Art Festival set Friday, Saturday at PCCS

Monday, September 9, 2019

After two years of successfully putting the work of artists with disabilities next to their peers without disabilities, Putnam County Comprehensive Services is looking to make the Greenlight Art Festival even bigger.

With the weather of mid-September often conducive to the kind of outdoor event that’s grown popular in Greencastle, organizers took a chance, planning the third-annual festival for this weekend, Friday, Sept. 13 and Saturday, Sept. 14.

“We just want it to get bigger,” PCCS Community Relations Manager Stacie Langdon said. “We just thought, ‘What can we do to get this bigger in the community?’”

The work of Greenlight Art Studios artists will be on display alongside that of other artists Friday and Saturday during the Greenlight Art Festival on the grounds of Putnam County Comprehensive Services.
Courtesy photo

One part of that answer was the move outdoors and earlier in the year, away from the November, indoor event of the past two years. The event will take place on the PCCS grounds at 630 Tennessee St., as well as on Tennessee and Wood streets between the east and south entrances of Robe-Ann Park.

However, there is more to the changes than simply a move outside.

“We started the Greenlight Arts Festival in 2017 as an opportunity for our artists with disabilities to show their works alongside their peers without disabilities,” PCCS Executive Director Andrew Ranck said. “We are so excited to expand the event this year to include an outdoor festival with art, music and food. The community and corporate support has been outstanding. We are so proud to be able to provide this festival to celebrate our regional artists and to show off all of the positive aspects of our community.”

And so, besides having the art of more than 40 artists and artisans available for sale, the festival will feature food trucks, a beer garden, a bounce house slide and local entertainment.

Hands-on activities and demonstrations, live music, a Friday-night concert featuring War Radio and the Putnam County Farmers Market on Saturday morning will highlight the weekend activities.

The free festival will take place from 5-9 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday.

Paintings, handmade jewelry, photos, digital art, metal art, woodworking, ceramics, pottery and much more will be available for purchase. Artisans will be on hand selling handcrafted candles, soaps and signs.

Artists will be participating from Clay, Hendricks, Marion, Montgomery, Owen, Parke, Putnam and Vigo counties.

“We have artists from eight counties,” Ranck said, “to make Greencastle more of a regional destination rather than a county destination.”

This lined up quite nicely with some goals of the Putnam County Convention and Visitors Bureau, which led not only to grant funding, but also assistance from Eric Freeman and Suzanne Hassler of the CVB.

Getting local favorites War Radio to play on Friday from 7-9 p.m. was also key to expanding what sort of “art” the festival provides.

“We said, ‘Let’s go out and do live music to make this a true art festival,’” Ranck said.

There will also be a cordoned-off beer garden area on Friday night, serving both beer and wine.

Greencastle Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brian Cox also had a goal this year of moving the Saturday-morning farmers market to other venues, so that partnership also worked out. The farmers market will be open from 8 a.m.-noon on Saturday.

“All these things kind of came together with the farmer’s market moving around, the CVB wanting more regional exposure and Suzanne Hassler coming on board,” Ranck said. “It was kind of a perfect storm.”

Corporate sponsors of the event are Garmong Construction, Chiyoda, York Automotive, Colonial Life, Assured Partners and Heartland Automotive.

“What’s really been neat has been our corporate sponsors,” Ranck said. “All six of our sponsors are people we do business with and they saw the importance of giving back.”

Ranck pointed out that Chiyoda, for example, approached him about ways to give back to the community. And York Automotive was an easy sell.

“Rob York didn’t hesitate,” Ranck said. It was one sentence out of me and he said ‘Yes.’”

Although the streets and part of the PCCS parking lot will be closed, parking will be available in the PCCS west lot as well as the park.

“Our hope, now that we’re taking this outside, is that it will just get bigger and bigger every year,” Langdon said.

“We’ve had a lot of success with our farmers market here and the farmers market down in Franklin,” Ranck said. “These outdoor events are very important.”

Most importantly, Ranck and Langdon hope that through the Greenlight Art Festival and other events, Comprehensive Services becomes even more a part of the Greencastle and Putnam County community.

“One of my goals when I came here was to make this organization part of the community, not just something that people know is in the community,” Ranck said. “That’s why the front doors face the park, why we purchased the property around us so that it’s open to the community. We want the community to think this is just as important as the park is.

“We don’t want this to be a snooty ‘fine arts’ event. It’s a community party.”

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