By Patrick Dennis

I am an artist and I’ve been thinking…

I can always tell when “festival season” begins in Atlanta because I start sneezing, my car acquires a nice coating of yellow dust if it so much as dares to ventures outside for five minutes, and I start sneak eating chocolate bunnies. The fact that I have a black car in Atlanta is a dead giveaway that I wasn’t born here.  But between Claritin and car washes I get excited by all there is to do in my adopted homeland.

The sun is shining, bike lanes are busy, chocolate bunnies are on all the shelves and everything is blooming, including art. Even the “ladies who lunch” are busy preparing their enormous chapeaus to rival the best gospel gals to compete in the hat contest at the Atlanta Steeplechase in April. I’m happy that the races include an Artist Market this year so that I don’t have to sneak off to see the horses anymore now that I have an excuse. My mother raised horses until she was 80, so I suspect my clothes may carry the faint aroma of stables, but I don’t mind a bit. Growing up, horses kept mom healthy, happy and busy. Better on their backs than mine.

Recently I was told that when I have a huge smile pasted on my face, it’s suspicious. Like I’m hiding something, or thinking some deep thought, or worst of all scrutinizing the situation at hand while formulating some subversive plot. Probably I’m just thinking of biting the ears off a chocolate bunny, but regardless, I can’t help it.  I’m a happy guy, doing what I love to do for a living. Plus, I have a small family of two adorable daughters (one of whom is single and very attractive if you know someone), two grandchildren who are angels and a very large, unwieldy family of artist friends who make my life a living… joy!

When the sneezing starts, don’t hide indoors. Do the exact opposite and venture outdoors to enjoy the weather with Claritin in hand, ready to get out of the gate with a good start to enjoy the events and opportunities for artists and art lovers in Atlanta. I’ll see you there. You’ll know me by the huge smile with a little chocolate around the edges.

Upcoming Atlanta Art Events

April 5 – 26
Sculpted Spring Blooms at R. Alexander Gallery

11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Wednesday – Saturday
309 East Paces Ferry Rd., #105
Enjoy the sculpted oil floral works of Renea Menzies all month long. It’s free!
Website: ralexandergallery.com

April 14 – 15, 2012
Spring Festival on Ponce

10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday
11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday
1451 Ponce de Leon Ave.
Over 100 local artists and handcrafters set up along Ponce de Leon in the historic Olmsted Linear Park. Fun children’s activities and great festival food, too.
Web: festivalonponce.com

April 14, 2012
“Salvage,” a modern vintage marketplace at Ambient Plus Studio

11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
585 Wells St. SW
Hosted by the Indie Craft Experience, expect vintage, retro-inspired crafters showing their repurposed creations. Admission: $5
Web: salvageatl.com

April 14, 2012
Atlanta Steeplechase Artist Market

10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Kingston Downs, near Rome, GA
Admission is $30 for the races, but Artist Market is free to attend.
This one day annual event at Kingston Downs includes the races, a hat contest, skydivers, pony rides and more.
Website: atlantasteeplechase.org

April 20, 2012
Druid Hills Artist Market

10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday
1 p.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday
1410 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE (St. John’s Lutheran Church)
The Artist Market is held in conjunction with the Druid Hills Home & Garden Tour.  Expect 45 artists and crafters of every type. Free to attend market.
Website: druidhills.org

Patrick Dennis is an artist, gallery owner and President of the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces. Contact him at Patrick@affps.com

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.