In Sylvania, residents and businesses alike look forward to the Maple & Main Art Fair every year.
The festival, which just finished its seventh year Sunday afternoon, gives an economic boost to downtown businesses, said Laura Jakes, president of the Sylvania Community Arts Commission and chairman of the annual event. Plus, she said, this is the kind of activity that makes people want to live in Sylvania.
“Our downtown is full,” Ms. Jakes said. “It’s a good economic driver.”
Tina Wagenhauser, a Sylvania artist, was painting in her booth during the fair on Sunday. She became a full-time artist several years ago, and this was her second year showcasing her work in the fair.
“Everyone here is great,” she said.
For her, art is a release.
When her oldest son died in a car crash, art became the tool she used, and still uses, to keep herself from sinking into a hole, and by displaying her work, Ms. Wagenhauser feels like she is turning a tragedy into something meaningful.
She does a lot of commissions, but she also does a lot of her own pieces.
“You do what you have to, to do what you love,” she said. “I’m just trying to find my place.”
For seven years, downtown Sylvania has changed in positive ways in part because of events like the art fair, said Katie Cappellini, city council member. And that’s part of the reason so many businesses are downtown now, too.
“Our downtown landscape is so much more developed than seven years ago,” she said.
Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough said residents can gain a new outlook on their community through events like the art fair, as well as view new artwork. Plus, it brings a lot of visitors into the community.
“We have a wonderful synergy of our downtown businesses and organizations,” he said.
Each year, the arts commission takes the money it makes from the art fair (mostly in beer and wine sales) and uses those funds to support programs and events throughout the rest of the year, Ms. Jakes said. Last year, the arts commission made about $7,000 from the fair.
In the future, she’d like to keep expanding the event. The live music, which usually ends at 9:30 or 10 p.m., could go until midnight. Art booths could be added so the fair, which takes place along Main Street, stretches all the way to Erie Street.
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