The artistic touch very much a thread of the street fair’s fabric
by BART MENDOZA
Jun 26, 2014 | 736 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Artists’ Alley component of the Ocean Beach Street Fair continues to grow annually, allowing guests to find everything from jewelry to paintings, clothing to musical instruments, all handmade and with the artist in attendance. 			      Photo by Maria Epsten
The Artists’ Alley component of the Ocean Beach Street Fair continues to grow annually, allowing guests to find everything from jewelry to paintings, clothing to musical instruments, all handmade and with the artist in attendance. Photo by Maria Epsten
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One of the things that sets the Ocean Beach Street Fair apart from others of its kind is its Artists’ Alley, full of arts, crafts and their creators.

Other fairs have vendors, but here great care is taken to only include handmade items.

Someone buying a gift in Artists’ Alley will truly be giving something unique. Running along at least two blocks of Cable Street at Newport Avenue, fairgoers will find everything from jewelry to paintings, clothing to musical instruments, all handmade and with the artist in attendance.

The latter point is particularly important to organizer Faren Shear.

“That’s something special you won’t find at other street fairs,” Shear said. “Here, almost every booth has the artist right there. If there’s something you like, perhaps you can have it customized or have something made just for you. It’s possible, because the person who made it is available to you.”

Shear has been organizing Artists’ Alley for 11 years and is proud of the area’s popularity growth in recent years.

For 2014, 75 vendors will be on hand, with more than 50 percent returning from past street fairs.

With years of organizing experience, Shear has noticed several trends in art.

“I inherited the position, assisting the previous organizer, so I’ve seen a lot of shifts,” she said.

Shear said that more men than ever are now involved in arts and crafts and that it’s a younger group of artists as well.

“We’re seeing a lot more things like T-shirts and posters and so on, as well as photographers. There are a few that are into three-dimensional art, like ceramics and so on, but T-shirts are really popular. You’ll always see a crowd around those booths.”

For Shear, the best part of organizing Artists’ Alley has been watching artists grow. “At the end of the show, I do like to go around and see how the various artists did,” she said. “It’s always nice to hear when someone had a good day. But what I like the most is seeing various returning artists year to year. It’s fun seeing everybody like this event enough to make a point to come back,” Shear said. “So, I look forward to seeing people each year and seeing what they’ve made over the past 12 months.”
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