Alex Stoll has been playing with steel since he was a kid.
His segue into teaching welding wasn’t much of a surprise. Neither was his crafting of stainless steel depictions of plants and animals to decorate the garden of his Collins, Ohio, home.
Today marked the 13th time in just as many years that Stoll had traveled the hour and 45 minutes from Collins to the campus of Youngstown State University to sell his yard art during the Summer Festival of the Arts. The festival itself, which continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and carries no admission cost, is in its 16th year.
“We’re well received here,” said Stoll, owner of Stainless Steel Art. “It’s why we come back.”
Stoll added that he brings his wares to locations as far flung as Georgia and Alabama, but he appreciates “the ambiance of the whole thing” that is the SFA. This year’s festival showcases the works of 77 regional and national artists, all of whom were selected by a jury panel from a pool of applicants.
Like Stoll, Jamie Ralston of Akron is one of those artists. Ralston, a former caterer, is owner of Tines to Treasures, and crafts whimsical jewelry, sculptures and other items from antique, silver-plated flatware.
Catherine Kendrick of Salineville, the owner of Catherine’s Art Corner, explained her reason for coming to the festival in each of the past four years: It’s simply enjoyable. The SFA, she added, is the best show she’s ever been to.
“You can’t just decide to come,” Kendrick said, referring to the selection process. “I’m very blessed I do good enough work for them to let me in.”
Read more about the event and see some of the offerings in Sunday's Vindicator and on Vindy.com.