Artistic Outlet

Artists work on display at the third annual art-toberfest

Art Toberfest Res

While autumn’s colorful foliage is an annual must-see, so, too, is Wilmington’s art-oberfest. At art-oberfest, now in its third year, Wilmingtonians can view and purchase the work of the many artists who live in the Carolina Place/Ardmore neighborhood and its surrounding areas.

“My mantra is to show off the talent in the area and let the artists reap the full benefit of their talent and earn their money,” says QUINN COOK (pictured third from left), art-oberfest’s founder. “I always wanted artists to have an outlet where they didn’t have to pay galleries high commissions for their work.”

art-oberfest, to be held on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., displays artwork on porches throughout the neighborhood and has something for every type of artistic taste. The artists include glassworkers, painters, metalsmiths, jewelry makers, photographers, scanner photographers, chocolatiers, furniture builders, watercolor artists, embroiderers, candlemakers, knitters, woodworkers, nail artists, and more.

The performing arts are represented, too. Cellist Hillary Flowers (pictured) will perform with Isaac Clowers and Will Maxwell and Paleo Bluegrass Band will show off their talents, and there will be poetry readings for the literary-minded.

While art-oberfest is about the art that’s in the area, it also brings people together and, by all accounts, is a lot of fun. Avid art lovers as well as those who take a passing interest in art come to the event.

As attendees stroll the streets of the historic and charming Carolina Place/Ardmore neighborhood, they often get to experience art they wouldn’t see otherwise, says CAMMERON BATANIDES (pictured right), who works with acrylic and watercolor and has participated in art-oberfest for all three years.

The attendees also get to meet some of Wilmington’s top, established artists as well as their up-and-coming counterparts and learn about their work. Another plus is that when the art crawlers find something they like, they can purchase original art without paying high gallery fees.

The artists who participate in art-oberfest find the event enjoyable as well.

“It is such a lovely community-oriented event,” says SUSAN FRANCY, a scanographer who has been an art-oberfest participant since 2019. “It’s just lovely. The people are so positive, and the art is so interesting. It’s not art you find at professional festivals.”

JO ANN ALFORD’s (pictured left) collage work will also be on display. The Wilmington artist has exhibited her art throughout the region and mostly works with collage or watercolor.

Cook started art-oberfest in 2019 to help artists withstand the pandemic. Since then, the event has gained a loyal fan base. The first art-oberfest attracted 18 artists. Last year, 32 artists participated and more than 750 people attended. This year Quinn has already lined up 40 artists and expects attendance to exceed last year’s numbers.

Cook isn’t surprised by art-oberfest’s growing popularity, as she says the amount of creativity in the area is exploding. She hopes to continue art-oberfest well into the future and to make it a springboard for more new artists. For example, Cook plans to showcase young artists from Dreams of Wilmington at next year’s event.

Though art-oberfest is a huge job, Cook will run it as long as it serves the artists, the neighborhood, and the larger community.  

“I want to keep art-oberfest true to the arts,” says Cook. “You see all the people walking through the neighborhood and chatting. It’s a special day, and it’s different from anything else in this whole area.”

To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to

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Categories: Culture