Artists, art lovers gather on Easy Street
By Shavonne Potts
Cathy Eubanks says she’s a big kid who just wants to play. She attended the Art on Easy Street festival strictly to have fun.
The Saturday event featured arts and crafts, music and vendors selling their wares.
The Granite Quarry grandmother, who most people know as Mimi, said she’s not afraid to put herself out there. In fact, the Catawba Jazz Band gave a small prize to the person who stepped out to “dance like Pee Wee Herman” to a song made popular by the children’s television show. Eubanks paused for a millisecond before she jumped out to move and groove.
Eubanks told the band leader, “Aww, keep the money,” waving him off with a flick of her wrist.
She did it because “it was fun,” she said.
Eubanks also added her sidewalk chalk drawing to the block-long pavement canvas.
Getting down on her hands and knees, Eubanks said jokingly she likes to leave her mark. She drew a yellow peace sign with MIMI, her oft-used moniker, written on the side.
“Why not? It’s fun and that’s what this day is all about,” she said.
Eubanks volunteers at Granite Quarry Elementary and takes many of the craft ideas she gets from the festival back to her students.
For her, the event is about camaraderie, good music and the atmosphere.
“It’s a wonderful day. God gave it to us,” she said.
Eubanks was accompanied by her niece, Halance Benfield, who is an artist in her own right. Benfield, 14, decided to add her drawing to the others. Like a skillful artist, she colored and shaded a vase and topped it off with her signature.
Brandi Collins and Walter Hines, both of Charlotte, have attended the festival for a number of years. They both look for their favorites. For Collins it’s the craft vendors, especially the original jewelry, and the music.
Hines comes for the crafts, the music and, of course, the Cheerwine. Hines plays with the steel drum band Tropical Flavor.
This year promises to be better, Hines explains, because last year Collins was pregnant with daughter Alyssa, now nine months, and it was hot.
Macon, Ga., residents Greg Davis, his wife, and grandson, Malachi Anderson, 4, were visiting Salisbury and heard about the event at the tourist center.
It was their first time in Salisbury.
Chelsea Fried, 14, of Concord, was probably the youngest vendor. Fried paints landscapes on canvas and has been painting for a couple of years. The teen says she’s always been artistic, but a teacher helped her see her talent.
“My mom enrolled me in art class. The teacher told me I should paint,” Fried said.
The young artist gets many of her ideas from pictures she’s seen or ideas that spring forth.
It was her first time participating in the festival. Her mother, Carol, saw a story about the event in the newspaper.
Chelsea said she finds calm through art.
“I don’t have to worry about anything else,” she said.
No one else in her immediate family paints. She has an uncle who used to paint regularly.
April Knodel’s craft started out of a need for an economic and functional way to get organized in a small home.
The Siler City resident came up with cloth-covered magnetic boards. She was always interested in woodworking and found a way to put up her son’s things in a safe way. Using a corkboard and push-pins was out of the question for the mother.
“Then my friends and family asked me to make one for them,” she said.
Magnets were available at her local craft stores and her idea slowly took shape.
Knodel is no stranger to Salisbury, she has relatives living here, but this was her first time participating in the festival.