The Upper Arlington Cultural Arts Division's tradition of providing a venue for artists to showcase their work, as well as allowing guests to access and absorb the arts, will return Sept. 3 during the 52nd annual Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival.

The festival will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Northam Park, 2070 Northam Road.

As has been the case since local artists organized the first public art show in 1966, and since the Upper Arlington Cultural Arts Division staff took over the event in 1983, the festival is a celebration of creativity and community, according to UA Cultural Arts Manager Lynette Santoro-Au.

She said this year's festival will feature approximately 140 artists from throughout the country who will exhibit in 18 different disciplines.

There also will be two stages with live music and other entertainment, as well as two dozen food vendors.

Shuttles will run from the Kingsdale Center, 3180 Kingsdale Center, and National Church Residences, 2335 North Bank Drive.

"The Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival is timeless," Santoro-Au said. "The event pulls together contemporary artists working in a variety of disciplines, including visual arts, performing arts, dramatic arts and culinary arts.

"Over the years, we have been very intentional in growing the event exponentially and adjusting what we offer based on feedback from our artists and patrons," she said.

"By remaining true to our mission to create opportunities for artists, the event has stood the test of time."

In keeping with Upper Arlington's yearlong recognition of its centennial, festival organizers will highlight artists whose works are connected to the community celebration by placing ribbons on their booth signs.

Santoro-Au said the event is noted nationally because it's a celebration of creativity and brings in an average of $2,000 in sales for each artist who exhibits.

Columbus artist Mary Ann Crago, who will return to the festival for her sixth time this year, agreed.

"The best thing about the Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival is the art-appreciating crowd that it brings -- every year," Crago said. "This show never disappoints."

Santoro-Au said the Labor Day Arts Festival is ingrained as a community celebration in Upper Arlington.

She noted it's an opportunity for residents and those visiting Upper Arlington to take in a local park for free, with the added bonus of experiencing interactive and visual arts.

Those aspects are in keeping, she said, with the National Endowment for the Arts, which has said outdoor art festivals are uniquely poised to help audiences experience interactivity in the arts, as well as to appreciate the value of personal creation and performance.

"For some, getting a new piece of artwork from a favorite artist is part of their tradition," Santoro-Au said. "For others, it's seeing the Upper Arlington High School Band open the festival that is their tradition.

"For many of our patrons, introducing their children to art for the first time and seeing them embrace their own creativity is a tradition they cherish. We know our patrons enjoy the casual and engaging atmosphere of festival and that many return year after year to experience the arts on their terms."

Those hoping to get a sneak peak of the work that will be on display at the Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival can "like" the event at https://www.facebook.com/UALaborDayArtsFestival.

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate