Mike Brown, an award-winning artist nationally renowned for his detailed oils and acrylics depicting a wide variety of landscapes and wildlife, is one artist those who attend will want to be sure and find.
While this year marks the 29th Riverfest put on by the Service League of Cherokee County, it is the first for the artist from Canton who enjoys a national reputation for his work that has appeared on a number of Ducks Unlimited stamps.
“I had thought about being in Riverfest for a couple of years, but had other shows out of state at the time of the festival,” Brown said. “I decided this year to stay closer to home and let the people around here know about my art.”
Brown said he had been asked several times by Service League member and Riverfest Arts and Crafts Chairperson Barbara Jacoby.
“Finally this year I took her up on it,” he said. “I just want people to see what I am doing, want them to experience seeing my work up close, and I am hoping it would spark collectors’ interest here in Cherokee County.”
Brown is no stranger to festivalgoers around the state, although this is his first festival to show his art in Cherokee County.
He has participated in the Dogwood Festival, Summerfest and the Atlanta Art Festival, as well as the Blue Ridge Arts in Park, shows in Dallas, Texas, and in Tampa and Orlando, Fla., among others.
“I grew up on a farm, and that is one of the reasons for my interest in wildlife.” Brown said. “Songbirds are my biggest selling items, they are so popular and I enjoy doing them.”
Mammals and African style art are now something that he is painting, including horses.
“I am also doing more portraits of people’s animals, their child’s horse, their pet, as a commission. I enjoy that as well,” he said.
A wild turkey he photographed on the banks of the Etowah River was recently chosen for the 2013 Hawaii Game Bird Stamp Winner.
“I have many duck hunters who collect my work,” Brown said.
Since going back to the easel in 2009, Brown has entered and won many renowned contests, including the 2013 Ducks Unlimited Texas Artist of the Year, 2012 Ducks Unlimited Ohio of the Year, 2011 Massachusetts Primitive Firearms Stamp winner for a portrait of deer and the 2011Ducks Unlimited Iowa Artist of the Year.
Brown and his wife moved to Cherokee County in 1999. For 18 years he pursued a career 3-D visualization, owning and operating his own company.
Prior to that, Brown was a successful artist with his works appearing in various private and public collections, including at the Georgia governor’s mansion.
In 1984 his artwork was published in the book, “Georgia — A State of Beauty.”
Riverfest — something for everyone
Riverfest is Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Organizers said that the juried show, featuring more than 200 exhibitors, concessionaires and entertainers, showcases some of the finest arts, crafts, festival fare and live performances the Southeast has to offer.
Riverfest is the Service League’s flagship fundraising event, with all proceeds benefiting the needy children of Cherokee County. Admission for adults and children 11 and older is a $5 donation.
The event will take place rain or shine. Free parking and shuttle services are available. Dogs are prohibited in the park by city ordinance.
For the past 29 years on the last weekend of September, the festival has signaled the arrival of fall and has become a favorite fall tradition of many north-metro Georgia families. This year’s festival will feature many returning favorites, as well as several new and exciting exhibitors and features, according to Riverfest spokeswoman Millie Cline.
Cline said in a release that the cornerstone of Riverfest is the exhibition of fine arts and crafts, all handcrafted by artisans from throughout the southeast and beyond. Riverfest will welcome a record number of exhibitors this year representing all major categories of arts and crafts, which shoppers have come to expect for the last 29 years.
The redesigned children’s area will feature many returning favorites, such as the Lions Club Train, petting zoo and pony rides, as well as many soon-to-be-new favorites, such as hamster bumper balls, a climbing rock wall and an old-fashioned carousel, she said.
Local authors and illustrators of children’s books also will be on-hand to interact with patrons throughout the festival weekend.
The League will debut its newest cookbook, “Gatherings & Traditions,” at this year’s event. Samples of select recipes from this new compilation of approximately 350 tested, tried and true family favorites will be presented to festival patrons for tasting, and cookbooks will be available for purchase for $14.95 plus tax.
Established in 1935, the Service League of Cherokee County is a volunteer group of 90 women who work yearround, collectively volunteering more than 10,000 hours per year to raise funds for local needy children. Funds raised during this event and other fundraising events sponsored by the League provide necessities such as food, clothing, dental care, eyeglasses, medical care, scholarships and much more.
To find out more about the work of the League, visit www.serviceleague.net.