To help bring two Effingham art festivals together, the Artisan Fair and Sculpture on the Avenues will coincide this year, meshing craft with creation.

    Gail Chavenelle will reveal her work during Arts & Hearts night and will explain her pieces during a meet and greet. Her new sculptures will join old favorites, since her pieces have been displayed off and on throughout downtown for several years.

    Instead of kicking off Sculpture on the Avenues in July, the city introduced new sculptures in April this year. For the past 13 years, or since the Sculpture on the Avenues began, pieces weren’t rotated until the middle of summer. With the Artisan Fair attracting local art creators and lovers, the idea to put the two events together seemed logical.

    Not counting private sculptures that have been purchased, 22 pieces are on display on downtown corners and in front of businesses. Some are scheduled to rotate every year, while others have been donated to the city for display. There are 13 new pieces in the collection this year. All of the pieces that have not been donated are for sale.

    A culture guide featuring each of the pieces and information about them also is available for those who want to know more about the work.

    In addition to the new sculptures, the sixth annual Artisan Fair provides activities Friday evening and Saturday.

    New to the fair is a 5K run/walk Saturday morning, with a route traveling through downtown, winding around near Community Park and ending on the courthouse lawn with an award ceremony. All proceeds from the run benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, which assigns volunteers to represent children’s best interests in court issues. Registration for the event is $25.

    Friday’s Arts & Hearts celebration includes Trail Recreation of Effingham County tricycle races, music from Effingham High School jazz band, a live art auction to benefit ARC Community Support Systems, sidewalk chalk art and a food fair. Nine different wineries will be on hand for wine tasting, with wine for sale by the glass or bottle.

    Saturday’s events include displays from more than 35 artists, live demonstrations, wine tasting, music, a food fair and Kids Korner, which includes arts and crafts for children.

    If the fair needs to be moved due to inclement weather, the old Rural King store at Village Square Mall will house the activities.

    Samantha Newburn may be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 131 or

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