Novel coronavirus forces cancellation of annual arts fest


What does it take to shut down the 47th annual Delaware Arts Festival — the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Delaware Arts Festival Board of Directors decided Tuesday to cancel the festival for the health and safety of all.

Mark Hardymon, president of the board, said in a written statement, because of location logistics and an all-volunteer board, postponing this year’s event to a later date wasn’t an option.

“We have waited as long as we felt responsible to cancel, in an effort to stay positive amongst all the negative news surrounding this world health situation,” he said. “The committee had planned what we thought would be a spectacular event with many new artists, entertainment, and tremendous support from the local community and businesses. Our goal at this point is to look forward to next year to make it the best Delaware Arts Festival in history and hope you will join us in that effort.”

Delaware city officials, local businesses, and the community, as a whole, were very supportive, he said.

In addition, the board is returning all booth fees and sponsorship monies as soon as possible, Hardymon added.

The not-for-profit organization, which promotes the visual arts in Delaware County, awards $20,000 each year between three county high school senior art students pursuing careers in the visual arts. The organization also awards $10,000 every year to local schools to be used toward special art projects.

“Because we all think it’s the right thing to do, we will continue to make those awards this year despite the cancellation of the festival,” Hardymon said.

As for this year’s awards, the winners are Preston Anderson, Olentangy Liberty High School, first place; Khang Van, Olentangy Orange High School, second place; Kaleigh Ferrell, Olentangy Orange High School, third place. A formal awards presentation could come at a later date.

Almost $10,000 in grants were presented to nine county art teachers, at all teaching levels, for their school’s art programs. Among the uses for this year’s funds include supplies for a mosaic school sign at Helen Souders Elementary, table saw and wood-working supplies at Dempsey Middle School, and print making supplies for Big Walnut Elementary.

Hardymon said volunteers are poised and ready to work for the 48th annual Delaware Arts Festival, scheduled for May 15-16, 2021.

“We look forward to seeing many of you next year” he said.

Special to the Gazette

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Submitted by Dagmar Cianelli.

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