Local artists get a chance to shine

Local artist Christopher Tallent discovered he had a knack for woodcarving about two and a half years ago.

Christopher Tallent’s Egypt-inspired woodcarvings are some of the many different styles of artwork to be featured at Mint Hill’s annual Sunday Afternoon in the Park on Aug. 25.

Christopher Tallent’s Egypt-inspired woodcarvings are some of the many different styles of artwork to be featured at Mint Hill’s annual Sunday Afternoon in the Park on Aug. 25.

Tallent – a music guru who played the guitar, bass and keyboard – decided it was time to try something different and began working with wood, dabbling “a little bit in a genre here and another genre there,” he said. “I realized carving is something I find rather enjoyable.”

Since picking up his new hobby, Tallent has worked to expand and perfect his artwork – something he describes as “retro” and “abstract” – and will get a chance to show his creations to the public next weekend during Mint Hill’s annual Sunday Afternoon in the Park art festival.

Tallent is one of “quite a few new folks,” according to Mint Hill Commissioner Tina Ross, who’ll make their debut at this year’s festival, slated for Aug. 25 from 1 to 6 p.m. at Mint Hill’s Park on Wilgrove, 7750 Jim Harper Lane.

During Sunday Afternoon in the Park, local artists display and sell their work. The event also features food vendors selling hot dogs, ice cream, slushes, funnel cakes and more. The Queens Grant Orchestra, Jezebel’s Blues and Rich Sammarco will provide live music.

“The location is wonderful. People can stroll around, listen to music. Kids can play,” Ross said. “It’s good for everybody.”

Mint Hill teamed up with the Arts and Science Council nearly a decade ago to sponsor a festival created to give local artists a chance to showcase their work. The event has grown exponentially since its inception and has attracted more vendors and visitors each year, Ross said.

“Local artists … didn’t have much of an opportunity to show what they do, so we started (Sunday Afternoon in the Park) for them,” she said. “It turned out to be popular, so we just kept right on doing it … We’ve always had good weather, (and) we had a real good turnout last year.”

One of the best aspects of the festival, Ross said, is it gives artists of all kinds a chance to show and sell their creations, and the public gets a chance to sample a variety of different styles of artwork – watercolor art, jewelry, woodcarving, pottery, music and T-shirts, to name a few.

“It’s just (an) interesting mix of genres there,” Ross said. “You see something different each year. We try to have a mix of new vendors and repeats, so if you like what you see the year before, it’ll be there again the next year.”

Tallent is excited about showing the variety of sculptures he’s been working on since he took up woodcarving. His creations – all wood-based – include tiki and Polynesian sculptures, Egyptian-inspired pieces, wall plaques with Bible verses, wind chimes and more.

“I’ve been looking around at consignment shops, trying to get them to sell my work,” he said. “(Sunday Afternoon in the Park) will be the perfect opportunity to put myself out there.”

Mint Hill will accept vendor applications for Sunday Afternoon in the Park through Tuesday, Aug. 20. There’s a $5 fee to participate, and all artists will need to provide their own tables, tents and displays. All merchandise must fit the “family-friendly” event. Download a participation form at www.minthill.com/calendar.aspx?eid=734. For more information, contact Tina Ross at 704-545-6231 or katrinar87@earthlink.net.

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