Cass Area Artists to host fifth annual Summer Art Show

Published 9:55 am Thursday, July 11, 2019

CASSOPOLIS — Planted in the field adjacent to the Cass County Council on Aging in Cassopolis sits a quiet pavilion, offering shelter from the elements and a gathering place for an art show. This now-blank canvas will soon be filled with colorful paintings, pottery pieces, fabric art and wood-turnings from area artisans participating in Cass Area Artists’ Summer Art Show.

The annual art show, now in its fifth year, will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, rain or shine, at the COA pavilion and grounds.

“In the pavilion, we are going to have 13 artists. In the area surrounding the pavilion, we will have six or seven outdoor tents,” said Tom Rose, of the Cass Area Artists. “We have artists from Niles, Dowagiac, Edwardsburg, Vandalia, Granger, Cassopolis, Elkhart and the surrounding areas.”

The cultural event has become a staple in Cassopolis, hosting between 250 and 300 visitors last year, alone. This year, Rose is expecting the event to be even bigger and hopes to grow the one-day event into a festival in the coming years.

“We want to supplement what Main Street Michigan is doing. The COA has a terrific facility for an art show,” Rose said. “Can you imagine the entire grounds filled with artists? We would love to see that someday.”

There is no cost for entry, and the CAA has several sponsors to thank for that, including K&M, Porky’s, Subway/KB Village, Fisher Printing, Greater Niles Federal Credit Union and Cassopolis Dental.

With more than 85 percent of the artisans returning to the show from previous years, Rose said this was an indication that the group is finding success at this venue.

All items the artists bring to show are for sale. New this year, the group has a limited number of raffle tickets to win a Neil Benham original wood-turned bowl.

“The largest selling items that we have are Neil Benham’s wood turned bowls and they are absolutely gorgeous,” Rose said. “Some of these bowls take up to two years to make with the aging of the wood, the preliminary cutting of the piece and the final turning of the wood.” 

Raffle tickets to win a Neil Benham bowl are $1, and the winner does not need to be present to win, Rose said. The group is willing to ship the bowl to the winner, if necessary.

Having an art show of this caliber in Cass County is an opportunity for both local artists to share their work and local residents to enjoy it, Rose said.

“We do it because we realized there are so many talented artists in Cassopolis that are showing in Chicago and Elkhart, but we didn’t have anywhere locally to show art,” Rose said. “So, the people in the Cass County area have things to do, in this area, and they don’t have to travel outside to have cultural functions.”

Rose said that through the past year’s functions, he has noticed an increase in the number of young adults and families with children coming to enjoy the art. This helps fulfill one of the goals of the artist group – giving the experience of art to students.

“The cultural experience is terrific. We are very student-oriented and feel that any art group in our area that is making, creating art fulfills our purpose, also,” Rose said.