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DCAF brings local art to community

Hannah Widener

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Tuscaloosa’s Government Plaza hosted more than 75 tents on Saturday featuring artists, jewelers and craftsmen. Children flooded the fountain area with chalk drawings, and the day was packed with music from local bands.

Druid City Arts Festival, originally founded five years ago by The University of Alabama’s Creative Campus, was handed off to the Tuscaloosa Sports and Tourism Commission to sponsor the event on its own. Last year, more than 7,500 people attended the festival, and 60 vendors decorated the lawn.

“Honestly, I was expecting a pretty big turnout. TTSC did a great job of promoting the event, and having the festival downtown helped increase its visibility more so than if the event were held on campus,” said Marissa Leshnov, a sophomore majoring in physics who works with Creative Campus. “It’s just reassuring to know that the Tuscaloosa community supports its local artists and musicians.”

(See also “DCAF holds onto old goals, transitions to new organizers“)

Madison Higgins, a sophomore majoring in fashion retail, said she found a plethora of items that suited her interests.

“I really like this cool ring that I found that has jade and all this delicate wiring,” she said. “There are a lot more clothing vendors than I was expecting to see. It’s cool to be able to see the different ways people express their love for the arts. From the paintings and pottery to the clothes and jewelry, and also from the many different musical artists featured.”

Some of the tents may have been geared more toward women’s clothing and jewelry, but the men were just as well represented. Evan Perry, a sophomore majoring in biology, said he managed to find good items.

“There was one booth with paintings of downtown Tuscaloosa that caught my eye,” Perry said. “Another booth had some unique posters from Jimi Hendrix and even KISS playing card games.”

(See also “2013 a transition year for DCAF“)

There were nine bands featured throughout the day, but Perry said he wished there had been more because he enjoyed them so much. He said next year he would love to see a wider range of music genres to expose Tuscaloosa to different, unknown artists.

While Tuscaloosa is a town that always backs up its football team, Higgins said she believes it is important to support the arts, as well.

Leshnov said she believes it is events like DCAF that keep the arts going.

“Having a free event like DCAF creates a sense of belonging that I think is really important to have in the Tuscaloosa community, because our town is so richly diverse,” Leshnov said. “It’s comforting to see everyone together on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, celebrating the people, talents and stories that make Tuscaloosa so great.”

(See also “Fourth annual DCAF to host 12 musical acts Saturday“)

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DCAF brings local art to community