SOUDERTON — The talent of local artists was on full display at Souderton’s 11th annual Art Jam in Souderton Borough Park on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 30.
Hosted by Souderton Connects, a local nonprofit that organizes community events, the festival featured a broad diversity of artwork, including digital drawings, oil paintings, handmade jewelry, photo encaustic art, clay sculptures, crochet animals, mosaics, beach-themed resin artwork and more.
Set up in canopy tents lining Wile Avenue, artists described their individual art forms.
“I work in glass. It’s all hand-blown; I make the glass beads myself. And I also work in acrylic, so I design on my iPad and cut it out on a laser cutter,” said Heather Boardman of Boiler Room Studios, a jewelry designer. “I like getting in there, getting dirty, playing with fire and lasers.”
“I do assemblage art, just stuff that I either had at my house or find in the yard, at the beach or the thrift store. I never know what it’s gonna look like until it’s the end,” said Jennifer Hershberger, pointing out a piece made with the roots of a tree knocked down during Hurricane Sandy. “I loved the way the roots looked, so I saved them and finally got around to using them.”
Other artists touched on the inspiration for their work.
“I’m inspired by a lot around me. I like to look at scenes, often on my drive home from work,” said Paula Nelson, an oil painter. “I love painting spaces between power lines, twigs, leaves. That’s my favorite stuff.”
“We grew up going to beaches, loving the beach,” said Christine Svanda of Beach Dreamer Creations, saying that her beach-themed resin artwork began after a friend brought back shells from Hawaii. “I made one little piece using resin, and from that one piece, all of this came out. We’ve got sand, shells, coral; there’s all different elements that go into everything.”
In addition to the artwork, the festival featured numerous local retail vendors and food trucks, selling ice cream, french crepes, canned cocktails, peanut brittle, beer grain dog biscuits and more.
“We try to bring out stuff for everybody, so you can come and spend the whole day here – eat, drink, shop, buy your Christmas gifts,” said Jessica Cimini, Souderton Connects manager and organizer of the festival. “We’re always about bringing the businesses and community together.”
Cimini said that Souderton Connects plans to expand the event next year, with additional vendors and children’s activities.
“We were tossing around ideas to do something fun for kids, so it will encompass everybody,” Cimini said. “It’s just nice to have a day in the fall to come out and spend time together.”
Harry Boardman, a landscape painter and fellow Souderton Connects board member and festival organizer, added that art plays an important role in everyday life.
“We are big believers in art affecting people’s day,” said Boardman. “It’s what you see on the wall in the morning when you wake up, and one of the last things you see when you go to bed. So we think it’s important.”