Activities come together under shared umbrella

The 20th edition of the Youngstown State University Summer Festival of the Arts has a sun-like logo, and its light has attacted a variety of other activities over the weekend.

SFA includes a juried artists market, multiple live performances and festival of nations celebrating different cultures, all on the grounds of YSU. But it also incorporates art exhibitions at the Butler Institute of American Art, the McDonough Museum of Art and the YWCA. There are concerts by The Fabulous Flashbacks and Grammy winner Jeff Lorber this weekend in downtown Youngstown, the Greek Summerfest at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and the Youngstown Comic Con at the Covelli Centre.

“There are all of these seemingly smaller events that gel together for one large event,” said Lori A. Factor, YSU director of community engagement and events. “I feel we really are part of the fabric of the community.”

New this year is an opening ceremony at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor, where a rededication of the Senator Harry Meshel Classroom is planned.

“We knew they wanted to rededicated the classroom, so it was a natural fit to extend our reach out there,” Factor said.

While there are a variety of activities on the grounds at YSU during the festival, Factor said she believes the artists market remains the biggest draw. Artists submit applications from December through April. Two jurors review all applications, both submitted images as well as their artist statements, Factor said. Even past participants are re-evaluated each year to make sure their work hasn’t changed.

“When people come here, they know they’re going to see quality artwork,” Factor said. “We don’t just rent tables. There are many, many nice well-run craft shows, but we are a different animal.”

In addition to judging for quality, the jurors also look for the right mix of participants so their isn’t too much of any one type of art.

This year, more than 90 artists from seven states will have booths for the juried artists market, selling such items as paintings, sculpture, pottery, textiles, clay, jewelry, photography and woodwork.

Trumbull and Mahoning county artists participating this year include Gary Kleiner, and Sarah Krisher, Warren; Elizabeth Beltz, Niles; Wendy Mullen, Cortland; Ralph and Joanne Teets, Girard; Laurie J. Anderson, Mineral Ridge; Matthew Cox, McDonald; Laura Cohn and Jennifer Lutton, Newton Falls; Megan Pankush, Bristolville; Chandra Peterson, North Bloomfield; Tom and Nancy Davidson, Hubbard; Christopher Karg, Brookfield; Barbara Matherly, Austintown; Tony Armeni, Bob Barko Jr., Lynn Cardwell, Wendy Daugherty, Willie Duck Sr., John and Marlere Falibota, C. Scott Lanz, Justin Reese, Tracy Segreti, David Slebodnick and Lisa and Brent Zitello, all of Youngstown; Sarah Moynihan and Deanna Guierrieri, Carolyn Fankhouser and Jeff Ondash, all of Canfield; Rinaldo Caimano and Jody Cercone, both of Boardman; Barbara George and Edward Villabona, Poland; and Daniel Rauschenbach, Struthers.

Live performances are planned at four venues — two indoors and two outdoors — so attendees can enjoy the outdoors or get a break from the heat. The lineup includes acts like County Mayo, Conjunto Riquena and JD Eicher, who have been playing the festival for years, and first-time attractions like Spy Convention, Gnarget and TRAVLIN.

“Gnarget is a group of Dana School of Music alumni,” Factor said. “And TRAVLIN, two of them are YSU alums.”