by Helen Xia, CHS Student Writer
You read the title. You know what we’re going to discuss: Colorfest. Although the rain that Saturday didn’t do us any favors, the following day, the sky was clear again, and it overlooked the vibrant streets bustling with life. Overnight, it seemed like our cozy town of Thurmont became a crowded city.
This year, I struggled to pick a topic regarding Colorfest to write about. I wanted to capture a meaningful essence of the event, so I reflected on what Colorfest made me, as a consumer, think about. Initially, I considered writing about Colorfest’s food options and how they came to be; however, as I gazed at the long lines and busy workers, I decided I’d rather not be a nuisance and hold up the lines with my interview questions.
I continued to walk around, searching for inspiration. I noticed friendly art vendors, standing gleefully by their pieces and initiating conversations with shoppers. This heartwarming sight brought me back to a personality quiz I took online, where one of my defining characteristics was “sees the commercial value in art.” That must mean some people don’t see the commercial value in art, which was a foreign concept to me. Settling on that train of thought, I decided that’s what I wanted this month’s article to be about. I wanted to look into art and its contributions to the world, especially since Colorfest unites so many skilled artists and craftspeople every year.
Even from a strictly economic standpoint, art is undeniably valuable. According to the Statista Research Department, in 2022, the global art market value reached 67.8 billion dollars—the highest number in the past 15 years. Surprisingly, the United States accounted for a whopping 45 percent—30.2 billion dollars—of the world’s art market, followed by the United Kingdom with 18 percent. This makes sense, considering a study conducted by Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report, which found that 41 of the world’s 50 most costly fine art lots were sold in New York in 2022, leading to a remarkable recovery of our art market from the pandemic.
Popularity-wise, art wins, too. Market research company YouGov concluded that around 80 percent of Americans have art in their homes. Of that percentage, over half of them have at least photographs or paintings displayed in their houses. Interestingly, older citizens—those 55 and older—are more likely to frame their artwork before hanging it on their walls.
Art’s emotional influences prompt people to purchase, analyze, and create art in the first place. For instance, with, say, abstract art, it’s not always so much about the artist’s skill as it is about what the audience feels when they observe these artworks. Numbers and statistics won’t do these impacts justice, so I interviewed a few artists I visited at Colorfest.
First, I stopped by Salvaged Suncatchers, where I chatted with Mary about her business and motivations. “I make suncatchers and ornaments from repurposed materials, like old jewelry, chandeliers, antiques, chains, and hooks from thrift stores,” she explained. She adds an artistic touch to material, from loose beads to leftover fishing wire that otherwise would’ve been forgotten. “They catch light inside or outside, wherever anyone needs some extra sparkle.” (Some of Salvaged Suncatchers’ products are shown below.)
When I asked what impels her to create, she replied that putting together suncatchers is therapeutic. “Stress relief to take my mind off the rest of the world,” she revealed. “I’m also environmentally motivated to keep material out of the landfill because I work with the environment. Material like broken jewelry ends up there a lot of the time. I enjoy the thrifting aspect of it, too, and I enjoy sharing art to brighten others’ spaces.”
Regarding some of the invisible impacts of art, she shared that art “brings uniqueness to our world. Each piece of art is original and one-of-a-kind—no two of the suncatchers I make are the same. Art is hard to re-create—there are no identical paintings or photographs. The world would be empty without original art; a lot of what you see in T.J. Maxx and other shops is predictable. I like observing art from others’ spaces to see the differences between what they enjoy.” You can learn more about Mary’s store via her Salvaged Suncatchers Facebook page.
Additionally, I visited Because Science, which combines science and art to make science-inspired gifts. They offer a wide range of products, from stationery to keychains and other novelties. “We make art out of recycled circuit boards and other computer components to give it a second life. The colors are original—we don’t change the colors of the material we use. We find art within the boards,” the vendor described.
Much like Salvaged Suncatchers, Because Science emphasized the therapy and sustainability factors behind their art: “[I make art] to keep my hands and mind busy. The main goal is to minimize the electronic waste that ends up in landfills and to find a better second life for these electronics—most of it just sits in basements. We have e-waste programs in our store, where people can bring in their waste to be repurposed. Electronic waste is a lot worse than other types of waste, so we work toward bringing awareness and creating unique art.”
Lastly, Because Science offered insight into an underappreciated attribute of art. “If anything makes you stop and think about perspectives other than your own, then that has a lot of meaning. It centers you and highlights how big the world really is outside of your bubble. Things may seem one way and be another.” If you’d like to learn more about Because Science, visit their store in Washington, D.C., or on their website at becausesciencedc.com.
Evidently, there’s a lot to be gained from admiring and producing art, and there’s a lot to browse at Colorfest! Now that it’s November, other festive gatherings are coming up, such as the Thurmont Christmas Market Craft and Vendor Show on November 18-19 at the Thurmont Event Complex.
In October, there were several festivals to enjoy, such as the Catoctin Furnace’s Fallfest on October 13-14, Sabillasville’s Mountain Fest Car & Truck Show on October 14, and Fort Ritchie’s Fall Fest on October 21.
Here’s a quick rundown of what happened: The Catoctin Furnace provided blacksmithing demonstrations, kids activities, and apple butter sales; Sabillasville hosted food trucks, local vendors, carnival games, and more—for free; and Fort Ritchie had hay rides, local vendors, and a farmers market, amongst other sources of entertainment.
We live in a cozy town, and there’s a lot to be thankful for here! I hope everyone has had a great start to the autumn season and enjoys a wonderful Thanksgiving