Thursday, November 7, 2019

Three Rivers Art Festival This Weekend

Now in its 23rd year, the Three Rivers Art Festival will take place this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, November 9 and 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival is located on Columbia Street in Covington, from its intersection with Rutland St. all the way five blocks northward to the intersection with Theard Street.

Over 200 artists from over 25 states are expected to take part in this annual event. 

There will be street tents, balloon arches, fun for kids activities, food, drink and music, along with souvenirs and T-shirts. According to (the St. Tammany Tourist and Convention Commission), the festival not only features local and regional participants, but  "artists come from 28 states, from as far away as Virginia, Missouri, Massachusetts and Arkansas, to participate in this fun, high-quality art festival.

"There’s no admission charge to get into the festival and parking is free, too. November’s often glorious weather and the picturesque, historic buildings of downtown Covington provide a beautiful backdrop for the arts festival that attracts as many as 50,000 visitors each fall.

"In addition to the art booths, there is a Children’s Discovery Area and an arts demonstration tent where you can watch artists make pottery or blow glass. And, this being Louisiana, of course there is music and food. The culinary arts are represented almost as well as the visual arts at this event where local restaurants, food trucks and vendors serve up" a variety of local favorites.

Country Roads Magazine says of the event: "As it has each November for years now, the largest festival of its kind in Louisiana will welcome artists from more than twenty states to turn historic downtown Covington into a colorful, walkable outdoor art gallery. 

"This year, those juried into Three Rivers come bearing a dizzying array of artwork in many different media including original oil, acrylic, pastel, and watercolor paintings; glass; printmaking; photography; sculpture of metal, wood, glass, and other materials; functional and art pottery; jewelry made of metal, stones, beads, and glass; fibers and textile creations; and wooden or metal furniture. 

"All items are original and hand-crafted by the artists, who will be on site to exhibit and sell their work during both days of the festival. You can roam about looking at the art; but Three Rivers gets you closer, too, by putting many participating artists on stage to demonstrate the techniques that make their work a reality" 

2019 SPONSORS include Block Sponsors: the City of Covington and The Braswell Family, Gulf Coast Bank, Winn Dixie, the Covington Business Association, and TD AMERITRADE.

Venue Sponsors include Dependable Glass - Food Court; Heritage Bank of Saint Tammany - Student Art; Edge of the Lake - Music Stage; Fox 8 - Arts Alive; Cleco - Children's Area; Bud Light - Artist's Party. Tom Ballantine is listed as a Friend of the Festival, and E. J. Fielding Funeral Home is an Apprentice Sponsor.

In-Kind Donors include Abita Cafe, Aubert Insurance Agency, Garic K. Barranger Law Firm, Correct Care Inc., Covington Masonic Lodge No. 188, Covington Fire Department, Covington Police Department, Covington Trailhead, Evamor, French Market Coffee, Heritage Bank & Trust, the St Tammany Parish Justice Center, the St Tammany Tourist Commission, Sound Landing and Whitney Bank.

Media Sponsors are Edge of the Lake & Northshore Media Group and Fox 8.

Festival officers are Brad Schroeder, Festival Chairman; Amy Sellers - Secretary; Kathy Fielding Smith - Treasurer; Aimee Faudeux - City of Covington Liason; Maureen O'Brien - Parish Liason.
The Board of Directors serving the 2019 Three Rivers Art Festival are Michele Echols, Skarlett Floa, Linda Thatcher, Cliff Bergeron and Sarada Bonnett, Event Coordinator.

The Festival Steering Committee is made up of Sarada Bonnett, Event Coordinator; Tom Ballantine, Photographer; Peggy Des Jardins, Jurying/Judging; Michele Echols, Arts Alive; Aimee Faucheux, Logistics; Sarah Federer, Advertising and Public Relations; Megan Helwick and Clare Roberts, Student Art; George Bonnett, Food Court; Jude LeBlanc, Music Stage Sound & Production;  Hannah Beal, Volunteer Coordinator; Linda Thatcher, Hospitality, and Lisa Murphy, Children's Hands On Area. 

Jurors and Judges include Peggy Des Jardins, Don Marshall, and Inga Clough Flatterman. The Student Art Competition Judges are Simone Burke, DeMarias Sojka, and Norman Faucheux. 

Art Outreach is being handled by Peggy Des Jardins, Simone Burke and Sarada Bonnett.

It all began back in 1996.Founding Members of the festival were Keith Villere, Ron and Maria Burkhart, Jan Robert, Linda Davidson, Rykert Toledano, Tony Gallart, Paul Swain and the late Joanne Gallinghouse. 

I served on the committee tasked with coming up with a name for the new arts festival. It was an interesting give and take, coming up with creative potential names, but when someone suggested "Three Rivers," it was agreed to recommend that name for the event. 

Three Rivers honors the three rivers that merge just below Covington: the Bogue Falaya River, the Tchefuncte River, and the Abita River.  

In 2017, Cliff Bergeron with the Three Rivers Art Festival told an interviewer that when the event first started it had a couple of hundred artists apply, mostly local.

"Now we are up to 500 artists applying every year. It's a juried event so only 200 get in," he explained.

It has become nationally known and nationally recognized, something that people look forward to each year. "They put this event on their calendar as soon as we announce next  year's dates," he said.

 For St. Tammany Parish and particularly Covington, the festival brings in from 50,000 to 60,000 people over the weekend so the tax revenues derived from it are tremendous, Bergeron went on to say.

Now in its 25th year, this has been an ongoing project that continues to grow every year, according to Bergeron. "If you want to invest in a very high quality piece of art you can do it there. We have everything from ten dollar pieces of jewelry to $50,000 pieces of art," he noted.

It's also a great family event. "So you bring out your kids. It's a wonderful place to go and there's something for everybody," Bergeron concluded.

See also:

Three Rivers Art Festival - 2016

Three Rivers Art Festival Flows Into Covington

Festival Facebook Page

A plaque on the entrance to 
Armbruster Artworks