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story.lead_photo.caption Carly Dahl, executive director for the Batesville Area Arts Council, holds a T-shirt for Artoberfest, the annual arts festival, which will take place Saturday on Main Street in Batesville. - Photo by Staci Vandagriff

— The Batesville Area Arts Council will host its third annual Artoberfest on Saturday on Main Street in downtown Batesville.

Artoberfest, which is a free festival, is the brainchild of Carly Dahl, executive director for the Batesville Area Arts Council.

“I’m originally from Michigan,” she said. “There are tons of art fairs and street fairs there. We really didn’t have anything like that here in Batesville. My dream was to get something like that started here.”

The first year for Artoberfest was 2016. Dahl said the council applied for a grant with the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the grant helped pay for the first festival.

“We got some funding to get the ball rolling,” Dahl said. “Now, we’re pretty self-sufficient on that.”

Dahl said the council found out it received the grant in late August 2016.

“It was a pretty quick turnaround time,” she said. “We pretty much had one month to plan the first year, but it went really well. It was on a smaller scale than it is now. We actually doubled in audience size from the first year to the second.

“We’re hoping to just keep growing.”

The festival, which will last from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., features local and regional artists booths, a sidewalk chalk-art competition and art demonstrations, including a live mural painting by Lyon College art students. The festival will also feature live music by Ed Casper, Love Holler, Sleeping Fit and Walter & Rounds, along with other family-friendly activities.

In addition, the Arkansas Arts Center Artmobile will be a part of Artoberfest.

“This one-of-a-kind space features curated exhibitions of works from the Arkansas Arts Center’s permanent collection,” Dahl said. “The current exhibition, Who What Wear, presents a tailored collection of original artworks. While engaging with these diverse representations of clothing, viewers are invited to try on the idea that who they are is reflected in what they wear.”

Dahl moved to Batesville from near Detroit. Her husband, Dustyn Bork, is an art professor at Lyon College in Batesville.

“I’m an artist,” she said. “I do lot of painting, printmaking and drawing … kind of a mixture of all those. My husband and I pretty much got involved with the council as soon as we moved to Batesville. We wanted to cultivate an art scene as soon as we moved here.”

Dahl served on the Arts Council board for four years. She is currently in her fourth year as executive director for the council.

“We were able to meet a lot of artists through this and get to know the art community in Batesville,” Dahl said. “We’ve been able to kind of shape the changes that have been made over the years for the Arts Council. We just wanted to be a part of that.”

Dahl said the Batesville community has been receptive to the festival.

“We’ve noticed a huge turnout last year and a lot of support,” she said. “We have all the artists fill out surveys from the first year to the second year, and they noticed a big difference in sales. I think it just took awhile for the community to realize what we’re trying to do.

“So when the people come out to an event now, they know they can start doing some of their Christmas shopping because we have all these artist vendors set up along the street.”

For more information about Artoberfest, visit the Batesville Area Arts Council at www.batesvilleareaartscouncil.org or call (870) 793-3382.

Staff writer Mark Buffalo can be reached at (501) 399-3676 or mbuffalo@arkansasonline.com.

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