Celebrating the Arts on the Shores of Berea’s Lake Coe: 10 minutes With Georgianna Rohde of the Berea Arts Fest

The 22nd annual Berea Arts Fest brings art, music, dance, and more to the scenic, park-like setting of Berea’s Coe Lake on Sunday, September 9. The free arts festival features professional fine artists, performing artists, exhibits by local art students, hands-on art for the whole family, a chalk walk, and more.

We recently spoke with Berea Arts Fest president Georgianna Rohde about this year’s festival. The Berea Arts Fest is funded in part by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

What can people look forward to during the Arts Fest this year?
Our goal is to expose people to as many different types of art as possible, so we bring in artists to display and sell their work. We’re focused on having as much variety as possible, and we want to make sure that it’s of high quality. We try to work out the balance so that we have a little bit of everything – including painting, ceramics, photography, fiber, glass, and jewelry. We’re also exposing the younger children to art, and of course great music.

We have a great variety of performing artists who will perform during the Arts Fest this year. Our idea is to make the Art Fest a multifaceted festival of arts, including fine art, music, and dance.
Berea Arts Fest

Our Community Exhibits area showcases various nonprofit organizations that promote arts education and culture and represent the arts. In this area, students from the Berea school system exhibit their art. It also gives our scholarship winners an opportunity to exhibit their work and a chance for the community to see the amazing art that comes out of the local school systems.

What activities are you planning for kids?
There will be a lot of things for families to do, like the chalk walk, and drum circle. The students from the music conservatory at Baldwin Wallace University host an instrument petting zoo, where kids get to try out and play different musical instruments. It’s great fun.

We also have a wonderful Family Art Park where we do many crafts with the kids, and we vary it from year to year. Kids can make hands-on crafts and take them home.

The Berea Arts Fest is very much a family-friendly event. Our idea is to make it a wonderful event for families so that they can spend the whole day enjoying the demonstrating artists, performing artists, and the beautiful scenery of Coe Lake. It’s a festival of many facets of the arts.
Berea Arts Fest

What’s new this year?
This year, we’re making the gazebo at Coe Lake into an Art Fun House for the whole family. We’ll have cutouts for picture-taking leading up to the gazebo, funny mirrors inside, and a photo booth for more fun pictures. And, at the beginning of the fun house, everyone gets a piece of colored gum, and at the end, they’ll stick the gum on a picture to create a giant, colorful bubble gum mural.

Berea Arts Fest
What makes the Berea Arts Fest unique?
At the Arts Fest we’re very dedicated to our artists, and we do everything we can to make them feel very welcome. Every year we survey the artists, and they always say they are treated so well, and we’re proud of that. It’s a long day for them, so we try to make it a nice day, and we hope people will come out and see their work and maybe buy something to take home. People have come from all over Northeast Ohio in past years, and we think it’s wonderful. We’re always looking for ways to build our reach into other communities.

Talk about how else the Berea Arts Fest is involved in the community.
The Art Walk is something new that we’ve put on for the past three years with the businesses of Berea. We had great response this year, so we’re going to continue it in the future. This year, we sponsored the St. Ignatius High School Circus Co.’s performance at Berea’s Grindstone Festival, and on Friday, August 17, an outdoor musical performance at Coe Lake for the community. We are always trying to do more for the community – to expand our reach beyond the one-day arts festival. We want to have a greater impact.

How has your funding from CAC made a difference?
We’re so pleased to have funding from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture for the Arts Fest. CAC sponsors our performing artists, and having this money enables us to do more with the Arts Fest, and also extend our reach to other locations in the city and at other times than just on the day of the Arts Fest. CAC’s funding is by far our largest source of funding for the Berea Arts Festival. We do a lot with a little. We’re so thankful for the support we receive from the community, both monetary and in-kind.

What do you love most about the Arts Fest?
It's such a great event. There is so much to do and enjoy for the whole family. Berea Arts Fest exposes all ages to the wonderful world of the arts!
Berea Arts Fest

If You Go

Berea Arts Fest
Sunday, September 9, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Coe Lake, 1 Berea Commons, Berea OH 44017
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