CANTON — The Canton Festival of the Arts celebrates its 11th year today, welcoming more than 60 artists to the historic downtown Canton area from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Jewelry maker Kim Lowry, of Earthwear Jewelry by Kim Paige Designs, is one of those artists. Last year, the artist’s mother encouraged her to try out for the Canton Festival of the Arts.
Lowry reached out to Pat Gold, one of the event organizers, after the deadline.
Lowry said she knew the jewelry category would be crowded, but she emailed pictures of her work to Gold and said she is a jewelry-making mother of four who lives in Canton.
“She offered me a spot,” Lowry said. “It was my first really big festival.”
Lowry credits the Canton Festival of the Arts with encouraging her to pursue more festivals.
“It was such an incredible and welcoming experience,” Lowry said.
“They were so supportive that it really encouraged me to continue with pursuing more festivals.
I just feel like for me the Canton Arts Festival was the stepping stone that I needed to have the confidence to go full-time doing it, and so that’s what I do now. I’m a fulltime, at-home business with my studio at home.”
The road to making her own art started years ago.
Lowry said she wanted to be a metal smith or a silversmith since she was 12 years old. Her mother had a job in a nontraditional jewelry store in Danbury, Connecticut, called Village Silver, which was the inspiration for Lowry.
“It was all local artists,” Lowry said. “I used to sit and clean the jewelry and look at all the machines as my mom was working.”
Seven years ago, Lowry and her family moved back to the U.S.
to put their three boys in school, she said. They chose Canton because her parents lived in the area, she said, and when she met the Meadows family of jewelers in Woodstock, they gave her one of her first torches.
“It felt like Christmas,” Lowry said. Free parking at the festival will be available in the courthouse parking deck, up and down Main Street, along Church Street and in the parking area for the Cherokee County Board of Education.
The Justice Center Plaza area on North Street will host the Serenity Gardens in the grassy area. The Artist’s Market will be in Cannon Park, near the wine and beer gardens on North Street.
Sweetwater 420 Brewery has a brightly-colored beer truck, said Amy Oldt, chairwoman of the Canton Festival of the Arts.
The Cherokee County Arts Center parking lot will host food and drink concessions from 12 vendors as well as the Children’s Interactive Garden. All the activities, events and concessions will be within walking distance, Oldt said.