COHASSET — “Can I have more blue on it?” Tristan Reyes Erler, 4, of Cohasset anxiously waiting in front of a stand at the South Shore Art Festival for his new wooden gyro.
He had returned to the stand for the third time in a day, finally getting what he wanted.
“If you return a few moments later, you can have one more,” John Shooshan, a member of the Massachusetts South Shore Woodturners, said while turning a piece of wood with a lathe.
After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the 67th South Shore Arts Festival on the Common drew a crowd to its three-day festival that runs June 17 to June 19.
“It has been a tradition for Cohasset,” said Tristan’s mother, Wendy Erler. “It feels like summer again!”
Patrice Maye, the executive director of the South Shore Art Center, said the main purpose of the event is to introduce public art to the South Shore residents.
The exhibition featured artworks from more than 300 local artists. There were rows of booths with artwork, crafts, jewelry, clothing and food Friday through Sunday.
One of the main exhibits is a giant mural painted by 22 local students. The students painted a person blowing bubbles by the window. The students used symbols including doors and pigeons to show a hopeful future.
“It’s amazing that sometimes we forget how skillful they are,” Maye said.
The mural will be installed in the front of the South Shore Art Center.
Lynn Ray, a member of the art center, used passionate strokes in vibrant colors such as yellow and light green to show an abstract scene of the sunlight shining through her flowerbed in her oil painting.
“It’s moving into the abstraction, but you can still tell it’s a floral,” she said. “I like to use a bright color. I worked very quickly. I want it to be a vibrational expression.”
Coinciding with the Juneteenth holiday, Maye said she hopes the arts festival serves as an advocate for social justice in the South Shore community.
She invited Robb “Problak” Gibbs, an African American artist based in Boston. He is known for his latest public mural “Breathe Life Together” currently on display in the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
The main tent displayed paintings of Gibbs, as well as the photos of the murals Gibbs created in the past.
“I want to give the residents of the South Shore a taste of Boston and how public art changes lives,” she said. “I’m trying to have an art festival a platform for social change.”
Offering the public a chance to interact with the art by holding a social justice narration every day, she said, propels people to change without realizing it.
The event was held in honor of Dorothy Palmer, one of the founding members of the art center who died last year.
“It’s a beautiful tribute to her,” Maye said. “She loved this festival so much.”
The event attracted about 40 craft exhibitors, fewer than the pre-pandemic level, Maye said. But it was still nice to be back on the Common.
On display at Kathleen Scranton’s table were the purses she makes from old books she rescued at libraries around New England.
“Do you have ‘Black Beauty’?” Dan Moore of Boston asked.
“Of course, that’s my favorite book,” Scranton said.
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Reach Hongyu Liu at HLiu@patriotledger.com.