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Artists take to the streets in Fredericksburg

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Local artists spent all day Saturday in downtown Fredericksburg making art along the sidewalks to encourage exposure and to celebrate the region’s vibrant art community. (SUZANNE CARR ROSSI / THE FREE LANCE STAR) CLICK TO SEE MORE PHOTOS

Organizers called it an “Art Attack.”

But “Art Share” is a more apt description for what more than 70 painters, potters, sculptors, dancers and others did for onlookers on the sidewalks of downtown Fredericksburg on Saturday.

For although the creative process for most artists is a personal and private one, done alone in a studio, the idea of “Art Attack” was to put that process right out in the open, for all to see.

Which is why for hours in various spots along William, Princess Anne and Sophia streets, artists from the ages of 10 to 70, and beyond, put pen, chalk and brush to paper.

Or sculpted the legs of a horse, shaped the base of a decorative pot and/or trimmed away pieces of a stencil so spray paint could create a striking scene on parchment below.

Bill Harris, an artist at LibertyTown Arts Workshop who helped organize the effort, said the purpose of the day’s event was to help make Fredericksburg an art destination.

“It’s already a destination for people who are interested in the Civil War or in finding antiques,” he said. “We want more people to realize that the town is rich with artists as well, many of whom are very talented.”

He said that while patrons of the arts and the public at large enjoy seeing finished pieces of art, they seldom get a chance to see how they are created.

Not true yesterday, when throngs of people out enjoying a crackerjack of a day stopped and watched Harris and others who set up easels on sidewalks and in alleys.

One was Greg Holmes, who moved to this area from Texas three years ago after retiring.

A student of Harris’, the artist set up near his teacher on a sidewalk along Princess Anne, and slowly created a seascape, beginning with the simple outline of a man rowing a boat.

“This is the under painting,” he explained to a couple who stopped to admire his coral-colored undertones and smooth lines.

Just down the sidewalk, another student, 10-year-old Baylor Gallagher, got a kick out of people stopping to see the cool-looking platypus he was creating with pastel chalk.

An art student at LibertyTown, the Battlefield Elementary School student said he likes to draw whenever he gets the chance.

And that, yes, given the chance, he’ll choose drawing over homework, any day of the week.

In the shade by a corner crosswalk, three local artists—Jenna Anderson and Carter Corbin of Fredericksburg and Rachel Cochrane of Spotsylvania County—were all working to capture their own image of model Kadeana Langford, seated in front of them.

Anderson and Corbin were taking different approaches to draft her in color: the former starting with a rich underlay of blue, the later choosing to begin by drawing in the outlines of face and body in a warm brown.

Cochrane, an art student of Corbin’s at Massaponax High School, was sketching in pencil, hoping to later add color to the work.

Scarlett Suhy-Pons, creating a clay pot in the warming afternoon sun, said she enjoys getting the chance to work outside, and to talk to people interested in her art.

Questions fielded as she worked: What was she making? How long will it take her? How do you know when you’re finished?

Sculptor Robyn Ryan was busy educating onlookers on the process that will take her hand-sized clay horse into a bronze version of the piece.

Without a hitch, she explained a process that would take the sculpture to a wax mold, then a more substantial mold and eventually to the image of the horse in layers of bronze.

Impressed with her description, onlookers were also interested in seeing how she created details in the horse’s hooves, tail and mane.

Just another look inside the creative process, available all Saturday for free during Art Attack.

Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415