Karen Maravilla, co-founder and a coordinator of “Arts on the Ave,” hopes her annual festival casts a new light on downtown Hammond for those who may be uninformed.
"Unfortunately, there are people who use their lips and don't say positive things, and we always believe that a rising tide raises all boats," she said. "Some people say 'I remember when downtown Hammond was in its heyday and other people remember when it wasn't, and our goal is to make downtown Hammond a very vibrant destination."
This year marks the third running of the event, which is scheduled annually on the fourth Saturday in August. The fest kicks off at 11 a.m. Aug. 26 and runs until 7 p.m. A myriad of artists and organizations from Hammond’s EAT and Green COW to the Region-wide South Shore Arts and South Shore Convention and Visitor’s Center, are scheduled to participate in this year’s festival.
Attendees of all ages will have the opportunity to try their hand at art, creating everything from his or her own Jackson Pollock-style painting and more at this year’s “Arts” festival. Also offered this year are tours of Hammond’s St. Joseph’s Church.
Another highlight is “Art Cycle,” in which participants create art out of found objects and are juried for prizes. A paid event, proceeds from “Art Cycle” will go to South Shore Arts’ Everykid program.
"Arts are such an important part of our culture and our world," Maravilla said. "It makes our world a beautiful place in every way, shape or form, and we want to show people that there's a lot of beauty and a lot of art in downtown Hammond (with the festival)."
Also scheduled at this year's “Arts” are musical performances by Region songsmith Chad Clifford, area rockers The UnProfessionals and Old Skool Band and Shirley King, the daughter of blues pioneer B.B. King.
"We're going to have a really nice mix of music, and a diverse mix," Maravilla said.
Additionally, more than a dozen craft, food and drink vendors will be on hand, and a vintage, custom and classic car show will also be held during the event.
'We have a really diverse group of businesses that are our in our downtown, and we want people to come and visit so they can see all that we have to offer," Maravilla said.