Momentum Art Festival Brings the Community Together

Momentum, the arts and culture festival introduced to Toledo in 2017 by the Arts Commission, celebrated its sixth year with some fresh and exciting changes. 

Momentum Festival Coordinator Tess Healy notes that the festival began not only as a celebration of arts but also as a revitalization effort. In the past the festival has been located on the riverfront, however this year, to shake things up, the event moved into the downtown center in an effort to revitalize spaces on North Superior between Madison Avenue and Adams Street. The goal is to take over vacant spaces and fill them with art, music and dancing – an explosion of talent and creativity, showcasing Toledo-based talent.

Exhibitions abound

Over the course of three days spanning two weekends, Sept. 8, Sept. 15, Sept. 16, festival goers explored colorful spaces and marveled at anchor art — giant eye-catching, spectacle pieces or high quality interactive works that engage viewers. 

Some of the featured anchor artists included Gathered Glass and Brad Scherzer, among others. There were also many local artists exhibiting. “Artists are given a 10×10 space to do whatever they want, installation or performance,” Healy explains. “Any medium of art including poetry, theater, dance, visual, painting, glass, all of it.” 

The goal of moving to the heart of downtown is not only to promote these forgotten spaces but also to bring the creatives together.  “Giving everybody a chance to show their work and see everybody else’s work and to make it fun,” Healy said.

Intersection between art and design

Two people look at neon letters.
The Alphabet Project provides a vibrant and engaging scene for attendees.

Coinciding with the festival is a program that has flourished since 2018, Momentum Intersection. The collaboration between the Arts Commission, NSG Pilkington and the Toledo Museum of Art, features an exhibition where artists create using Pilkington sheet glass in an entirely new and genius way. 

Once these artists prepare a proposal and pitch to a panel of jurors, finalists are chosen and their sheet glass pieces are displayed in the Glass Pavilion starting Sept. 15 until October 15. 

“The program has grown so much that it has become international, all thanks to the amazing people involved in the glass committee: Kyle Sword, Alli Hoag and Diane Wright,” Healy said. 

The idea to let artists work with glass they might not typically work with, glass with gold tints, tech glass and other varieties, lets the artists explore and engineer new ways to work with manufactured materials.

Showing up and standing out

To make Momentum happen each year, the community really comes together in big ways. This year the festival had over 50 sponsors.

“Everyone is so excited to help; it really takes a village, but the village came out,” Healy said. 

The ultimate goal for Momentum is to bring artists together, to bring the community together and to celebrate what makes our city special.

“We saw the need for a big giant event that brought everyone together all at once to have fun,” Healy said.

For more information, visit theartscommission.org/events/momentum.

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