Artsplosure brings another big crowd to downtown Raleigh

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- This is the weekend when downtown Raleigh is filled with fun-loving crowds, strolling through the annual outdoor fine arts and crafts gallery known as Artsplosure.

That's also the name of the nonprofit art studio behind the festival that debuted back in April 1980.

First-time visitor Natasha Faircloth smiled while describing everything she saw while standing at the intersection of Fayetteville and Martin streets.

"Beautiful pieces of artwork. Captivating! Absolutely beautiful," she said.

When asked if she'll take anything home she replied, "We'll see. We'll see if the price is right!"

Not far away from that intersection, Tennessee artist Jason Studdart has some mixed media pieces ready for sale. He says the journey from his home to Raleigh helps his bottom line.

"We've been coming to Raleigh for about 15 years, so it's a good show in a good town," said Studdart. "We love coming here!"

On the other side of the street and up the block, you'll find the work of Sandy Bierce from Apex. Her artistic vision incorporates old school, discarded cameras and typewriters that have new life as lamps.

"I got laid off from my job of 20 years, and I just missed being creative! So I spent some time playing around, doing creative things, and one thing led to another," she said.

She describes her repurposed creations as "Something that you would enjoy having in your home again, instead of just putting up in the attic."

It's the kind of spirit that downtown boosters want to circulate and attract more visitors who live outside Raleigh's city limits.

While strolling through Artsplosure with his wife, North Carolina State University economist Mike Walden said, "They've redone this with the street, and it's great for a resident who's been here 40 years to see these kinds of things going on. It makes us want to stay here. It makes us want to come downtown! This helps send a message that yes, Raleigh's a booming area with technology and finance and education. But there are fun things to do here."

Artsplosure continues on Sunday, May 19, with more than 170 exhibitors showcasing their work.
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