If the flowering fruit trees and budding liquidambars were not enough, there’s another sure sign that spring has arrived. The 29th annual Sidewalk Fine Arts Festival is taking place this weekend on Santa Cruz Avenue in downtown Menlo Park.
Over 90 artists are participating and available to chat with patrons. On display is jewelry, photography, ceramics, painting, sculpture, and more.
“I’ve been coming for close to 20 years,” says San Francisco-based jewelry maker Mendy Marks, who is located this year near Chase Bank. “I enjoy the downtown ambiance of the area and the people. The sidewalk shows don’t generate the crowds that non-sidewalk shows generate but they give me time to focus on my customers and get to know them better. And my customers are great!”
Geri Comstock, whose stall is near Cold Stone Creamery, has been selling her glass and jewelry at the Menlo festival for 18 years – as long as she’s been selling to the public, she reports. “‘I’m so happy that the first show of my show year is in Menlo Park,” she says. “It’s not too crowded, which gives me more time to devote to my customers’ wants and needs. It’s a pleasant mellow environment.”
Lenore Masterson, who sells custom cartoon paintings, recalled an interesting experience from a previous show: “One of my most interesting customers purchased from me at this show. He introduced himself as owning a pawn shop. Later, when we delivered his order to his house – literally a two-story French Castle with a long driveway, a fountain with a ’roundabout’, 20-foot front doors, and a two-story ‘sitting room’ – I found out that he owned several hundred ‘pawnshops’ in the Philippines, as a sideline, and was, in fact, an international diamond broker! He was a gentleman and a great customer.”
Carmel artist Deanna DeChauron, who is located near retailer Tom Wing and describes her work as “handmade paper zen influenced wall art,” says that she loves the relaxed format where people strolling by feel comfortable to visit with the artists, learn about their inspiration, methods, and distinctive viewpoint. “I have developed quite a following over the years. People are often surprised to find out that the exhibitor is in fact the creator of the work and capable of doing custom work as well.”
The Arts Festival runs today (4/15) until 6:00 pm, on Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Photos by Scott Loftesness.