Rickie Crandell, art

Rickie Crandell creates wire-wrapped jewelry. She’ll bring her work to the annual Art in the Park presented by Kearney Artist Guild on Saturday and Sunday at Harmon Park. Admission to the event is free.

KEARNEY — Even with the threat of COVID-19 and a broken arm, Rickie Crandell plans to attend the 49th annual Art in the Park Festival on Saturday and Sunday at Harmon Park.

“It’s a little hard for me to get around this year since I broke my arm,” she said. “Last year was my first at Kearney’s Art in the Park. I usually try to hit all of the festivals. I already scheduled the one in Kearney before I broke my arm, so I’ll do that one and the one in Hastings, too.”

Crandell, who lives in Inland near Hastings, dabbles in many styles of art. This year she intends to focus on her wire-wrapped jewelry and barn quilts.

“I had a great reception for my work in Kearney,” she said. “There was a decent crowd, they enjoyed it and lots of people walked around the park. It’s a nice layout.”

Presented by the Kearney Area Arts Council, this year’s Art in the Park features 34 artists, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at Harmon Park, 3100 Fifth Ave. Admission to the event is free.

Crandell acknowledges that most artists enjoy spending their time huddled in a studio instead of in front of a crowd.

“We like to hide in our little corners and do our stuff,” she laughed. “But at something like Art in the Park, people get to see what you do. I’m usually making jewelry while I’m there, although I won’t be doing that this year because of my broken arm.”

Crandell also enjoys networking with other artists.

“You can learn a lot from walking around and seeing other artists,” she noted.

Art in the Park will look a little different this year because of the pandemic. Organizer Dan Garringer expanded the event to two days in hopes of attracting the same number of patrons but spreading out the attendance.

“We’ve had to limit the number of participating artists,” he said in a previous interview. “Typically we have 60-70 artists. This year we have limited it to 40 and I think right now we have about 34 artists. We had a number of artists who committed early in the year. We gave them the opportunity to get refunds on their booth fees if they decided not to attend.”

During a normal year, Crandell already would have participated in several art fairs.

“A lot of the shows have been canceled,” she said. “I know we’ll be spread out more so there’s more area between the artists. Everything is a little different this year.”

As an artist, Crandell likes to challenge herself when it comes to something like creating a barn quilt.

“I like to step outside my box range a little,” she said. “My barn quilts are not like normal barn quilts. If there are way more pieces added to it, then I’m happy. A lot of them are just a quilt block. I will do the entire quilt. Some of the ones I’ll be bringing have a variety of colors and paint techniques.”