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Brenda Kersevich was commissioned to do more paintings after Arts in the Park earlier this month.

The success of the first-ever Arts in the Park event has inspired local artists to keep displaying their work.

While some of the participants were long-time artists who are used to displaying their work publicly, many were first-timers who were apprehensive about the idea of having strangers view their work.

But the comments that those artists received during the June 21 event has inspired them to keep creating and keep showing the world what they are doing.

Some of those who displayed their works are preparing to do so again at the Boomfest event at the end of August. They have found that sharing their work -- and the inspiration for it -- to be something that both they and the visitors enjoy.

"Everyone said that I had nice work, and most people asked, 'Did you do ALL this?' recalls teenager Sara Kreutner.

"I did have quite a lot of different things accumulated," said Kreutner. "There were also a lot of comments on my drawing of Roy ("Emergency" TV show actor Kevin Tighe); several people knew who it was, but others asked. And I had fun letting people guess what the subjects of a couple of pictures were; one was looking down inside a jelly jar and the other, down into a pop bottle. Most people guessed that those were animals' eyes."

Kreutner has shown her work at home-school events before, but the Arts in the Park was her first art-only event. She said she was nervous but didn't notice it until her home "pointed out that I was starting to hyperventilate and flutter."

Kreutner, also, plans to join Boomfest, although she has plenty of other summer activities to keep her busy.
"Other things I am doing this summer include 4-H, keeping up a large garden, custom artwork, summer camp Junior Counseling, and volunteering every week at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics," she says.

Ivy Hinrichs of Cedar Rapids is another fairly new artist who had entered just a couple of art events before Arts in the Park. She and her husband, Randall, attended the Vinton show.

"We truly enjoyed the experience of the whole day," she said. "Between meeting fellow artists, talking with visitors and the beautiful day we ended up having, we were really pleased with the day. I have done a couple of shows in the past (both in Cedar Rapids) but felt like this was one of the more successful ones to show and sell my art. I enjoyed getting feedback from visitors, enjoyed seeing smiles on their faces when they saw my whimsical creations and was I was happy to see some of my work go home with people to enjoy! The event was well organized with friendly and helpful volunteers making the day easy and fun. I would definitely do this event again as we had such a great time!"

Hinrichs loves to do unique animal paintings; one that attracted attention was a zebra with a pirate eye patch. She said her husband gave her the idea for that one a night when she had "artist's block."

Painter and sketcher Brenda Kersevich attended the show with her daughter, Kristin Dods.

Kersevich said she began her art career as a young adult, during the time when she was going through a divorce. She said her early works expressed the emotions of that era.

At Arts in the Park, Kersevich gained new fans, and even some new projects.

“People were great and excited about my work. I always love to hear feedback because for me it helps me grow as an artist. I commissioned several pieces that I will be doing over the next few months,” she said.

And as for those younger, newer artists, Brenda encourages them to keep working on their projects.

“My advice for emerging artists would be to just relax and let being an artist guide you in whatever direction it takes you. Practice is a must, especially as you develop your talent.”

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