Looking back on her childhood, Ashley Baylor cherishes the many fun times she had with her older brother’s Star Wars toys.
“We shared a toy room, and I liked it when he would go over to his friend’s house, because then I could go over on his side and play with his Star Wars toys,” remembers the elementary school art teacher. “I literally think he had every single Star Wars thing ever. We just loved the movies.”
Now years later, she’s still having fun with the classic sci-fi saga, thanks to this Saturday’s Day of the Force Festival at Fountain Square’s Pure Eatery. Marking the first annual Star Wars art celebration of its kind in Indianapolis, the event will showcase a collection of Star Wars-inspired artwork from several local artists like Baylor, while also educating the public on the community-bettering work of the local nonprofit WILD FIRE.
- Courtesy of WILD FIRE
The Day of the Force is sponsored by Pure Eatery, Pygmalion's Art Supplies, Sun King, Kroger and Jockamo Pizza.
“A lot of us are kind of comic book nerds, gamers or just into stuff like Star Wars and things like that,” explains WILD FIRE CEO Kyle Walke. “So with Comic-Con and Gen Con being such huge things here, we thought we should try to do something with Star Wars because we needed an event that was around May, and May 4 is the official Star Wars Day. With the new movie coming out, it really just seemed to be a perfect fit too.”
- Courtesy of WILD FIRE
WILD FIRE has sponsored several events in the community, including last year's attempt to make the world's biggest papier-mâché ball.
For her featured work, Baylor has created a mashup watercolor painting that combines Star Wars with a TV show she also loved growing up. She says, “I painted the backdrop of the opening scene from Friends where they’re around the couch, and I tried to pick a Star Wars character for each person.” Along with her painting, several other art mediums will be represented in the event, including drawings, photography and a sculpture.
While visitors of all ages check out these works, guest art judge Ken General will also be evaluating each, ultimately rewarding the grand prize winner with an annual membership to the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
General, who will fly in from Houston for the event, currently runs a community-bettering endeavor of his own called The Duende Art Project. Having worked in the arts world for many years, he has seen themed events like this succeed in his own city.
“I’ve attended two of them … in Houston, and they call it May the Fourth Be with You,” says General, who admits he had Star Wars bed sheets growing up. “People like to dress up, have fun and see some of the talent that’s in their neighborhood, and that’s what we’re hoping to do in Indianapolis.”
Although the first Star Wars movie originally came out in May 1977, General is also aware of the series’ multiple-decade-spanning impact. He elaborates, “Now, Star Wars spans not just one generation but several.” For this reason, the festival will also feature art-making activities for youngsters too.
“Hopefully, it’s something that everyone can enjoy, and that everyone can add to and take away from as well,” he says. “It’s just a great excuse for the community to come together, have some fun, and actually be proud of some of the local art talent that they have there.”
- Courtesy of Doug Kline
Indy has seen its fair share of visitors from "a galaxy far far away" between Gen Con and the 2005's Star Wars Celebration II (seen here). But this will be the first time Star Wars art takes center stage.
Walke and General hope to make this art festival a yearly WILD FIRE event, one that grows each year. For now though, they’ll just have to let the Force do its work.
For more information on the first-ever Day of the Force Festival, visit the WILD FIRE website.