From The Bangor Daily News July 5, 2010

Glass art to glitter at Belfast festival

By MidcoastBeacon

By Abigail Curtis
For the Midcoast Beacon

BELFAST, Maine — When some people look at empty bottles, they see a trip to the redemption center.
But when Laurel Johns does, she imagines beautiful pieces of art — like her colorful collection of Tumbled Island Glass serving utensils.
“I’m always looking for interesting glass,” she said recently. “It’s a good way of recycling.”
Johns, an artist who spends summers in Tenants Harbor and the rest of the year on the Georgia coast, has been named the Artist of the Year for the 15th annual Arts in the Park festival in Belfast. That means her one-of-a-kind glass art will be featured at this weekend’s show, and the artist is delighted.
“I love representing the Belfast show. It’s always been my favorite show,” Johns said. “I’m really honored they picked me.”
During the art festival, she’ll be packing her booth with the beautiful and functional Tumbled Island Glass utensils as well as her stained glass work. Johns said that one of her most important artistic inspirations is the ocean, and that the utensils are inspired by the sea glass that she collects in Maine.
“Most everything comes from nature — from what I see around me,” she said. “Most all my themes are coastal themes.”
Johns is one of 83 artists who will showcase their creations at the art show. According to organizer Chris Urick, all profits made from the show go to the local nonprofit, the Friends of Belfast Parks.
That group aims to improve and enhance the city’s parks, including building the popular Belfast Dog Park and putting signs up for all parks.
Arts in the Park is usually a well attended event, she said, bringing as many as 5,000 people to the city. There will be live music all day on both days and lots of good food to eat, too.
“Not only is it a really great event, and hopefully a fundraiser, it’s also using one of the city parks for a more cultural-type event,” she said. “And it also brings people to Belfast.”
Organizers select the Artist of the Year based on the medium, Urick said.
“We like to switch it out,” she said. “Last year, there was a painter. The year before that, a metal worker. This year, a glass artist.”
The diversity is needed, because the show is jammed with all kinds of art from the region’s multitude of artists. This year attendees can see fiber art, photography, pottery, jewelry, metal work, paintings, different types of woodwork, garden sculptures and more.
“There’s just about everything, really,” Urick said. “Obviously, we like to select high-quality work. And we like to have a price range that’s good for everyone.”
The 15th annual Arts in the Park will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 10, and Sunday, July 11, at Heritage Park on the Belfast waterfront.
For more information, visit For more information about Laurel Johns, visit

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