Blooming Arts Festival Celebrates Artistic, Cultural, and Economic Rebirth of Rural Community

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The Blooming Arts Festival is a little more than a week away, and the Town of Linden Tennessee is bustling with excitement. The stage is set on March 19th, for over a hundred talented artists, musicians, dancers and demonstrators. The Blooming Arts Festival is part of an effort to showcase Linden as an arts and tourism destination. Linden's revitalization has included the renovation of signature buildings and a complete "downtown makeover".

We have seen big changes in Linden since the festival began. Our town is alive again, public art is everywhere, and we are becoming a success story.

The Third Annual Blooming Arts Festival will be held in Linden, Tennessee, on Saturday March 19th. The festival celebrates the rebirth of spring, as well as the economic and cultural renaissance currently underway in Linden. The event will showcase over 100 outstanding local and regional talents as well as the recently completed renovation of downtown Linden. Proud of the way the town is flourishing, Linden mayor Jim Azbill hopes "to bring people in to see how attractive Linden is now".

Located midway between Nashville and Memphis, in the countryside between the Tennessee and Buffalo rivers, Linden is already well-known as a sportsman’s paradise, with its gorgeous natural scenery, abundant wildlife, spectacular waterways, and perfect country roads. The Blooming Arts Festival is part of an effort to bring attention to the rich cultural, artistic, and historic heritage of the community as well. Linden, which just 3 years ago had 27% unemployment has undergone remarkable transformation in its downtown. The focus has been on arts based tourism and the town has created a local arts district which has received significant attention. The town has had a complete makeover and "even its trash cans are art". Mayor Azbill says, "We have seen big changes in Linden since the festival began. Our town is alive again, public art is everywhere, and we are becoming a success story."

The Blooming Arts Festival will feature a whole day of live entertainment, showcasing some of the outstanding musical talent in the region, as well as performers from as far away as Memphis and Nashville. The audience will enjoy a variety of groups, from acoustic solos and duos to full bands with electric guitars and drums, with styles ranging from folk, country, bluegrass and gospel to blues and rock and roll. For a full schedule of the day’s entertainment, visit http://www.bloomingartsfestival.com/schedule.

While the musicians are playing on the courthouse square, patrons of the festival will be able to stroll down Main Street to experience a vast array of local and regional artworks and handicrafts. Over one hundred vendors will line the sidewalks, displaying work ranging from painting, sculpture, and woodworking, to sewing, quilting, and pottery. Local photographers and authors will be on hand with their original works, and several booths will offer health and wellness services and products such as reflexology and magnetic therapeutic jewelry. Many hand-crafted items will be available, such as soaps, candles, perfumes, and hand-spun yarn. To see a comprehensive list of vendors, go to http://www.bloomingartsfestival.com/exhibitors.

A highlight of the festival every year is the live demonstration of folk arts such as woodcarving, and "lost arts" such as spinning and blacksmithing.

There will be good food in abundance. The Commodore Hotel (http://www.commodorehotellinden.com) will be serving inside and out, and grills will be in operation throughout town. Vendors will offer kettle corn, Italian Ice, and a variety of artisan foods, such as homemade bread, jams, and preserves.

Of course, kids have not been forgotten in this family-friendly event. First Bank is sponsoring a "Kid zone" featuring an inflatable slide and "bounce house", and several booths will feature face and hair painting.

The Blooming Arts Festival has been a tremendous success so far. The whole community has come out to enjoy the celebration of spring, the live music and attractions, and many people have come from surrounding areas as well. Last year, the second year of the festival, attendance exceeded 7,000, and many area merchants reported their most profitable day of the year.

Attendance at the festival is free. The Bank of Perry County is sponsoring a drawing for an iPad giveaway. To be eligible for the drawing, you must first become a fan of the Blooming Arts Festival at http://www.facebook.com/Bloomingartsfestival, and then register for the drawing in person at the festival. For information go to http://www.bloomingartsfestival.com, or call 931-593-3031.

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Basket weaving from a local artistBasket weaving from a local artistA local basket weaver is shown participating in the Blooming Arts Festival in Linden, TN. In addition, she has also created the large basket fence found as an entrance to the garden beside VisionPerry in Linden, TN.The action on the street at the Blooming Arts Festival 2010Many people visiting and talking with vendors shows the action on the street at the Blooming Arts Festival 2010"Modified Trash Cans"

Part of Linden, Tennessee public arts programThe Town of Linden advertises that "even its trash cans are art" This piece of art located in front of the Commodore Hotel Linden is a real "eye catcher" Modified Trash Cans “Modified Trash Cans” by Doug St. John “Work with what you’ve got” became the theme as staff literally stole the trash cans from the street, enhancing them with thousands of pieces of hand-cut glass before returning them to the sidewalks…much to the delight of locals. Staff worked with Doug St. John over two weeks to meticulously cut, grind and place the glass. Doug St. John has training in graphic design, calligraphy, photography, illustration and design concepts, color theory, visual communication and museum studies. He has studied at Onandaga Community College, Syracuse University, University of Firenze, and with various masters in the studio setting. St. John maintains his studio, Spirit Dancer Painting and Stained Glass Studio, in Decaturville, Tennessee. www.lindentn.org Forest Abstract-art made with things you can find everyday.Forest Abstract-art made with things you can find everyday. Ashley O'Guin and Summer YOUth students used woodchips, marbles, glass, shells, paint, glue and even can tabs to create a beautiful mural.Linden Tennessee Arts and Historic District highlighted by the Blooming Arts Festival.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindentn/The Town of Linden, TN is decorated for the 3rd annual Blooming Arts Festival.The Third Annual Blooming Arts Festival will be held in Linden, Tennessee, on Saturday March 19th. The festival celebrates the rebirth of spring, as well as the economic and cultural renaissance currently underway in Linden. The event will showcase over 100 outstanding local and regional talents as well as the recently completed renovation of downtown Linden.