For a Local Artist the A-RTS Festival Transforms in More Ways Than One

The annual A-RTS Rockville Arts Festival not only transforms the streets of Rockville Town Square into a fine arts gallery, it also creates a prestigious opportunity for local artists to transform their artistic callings.

A few years ago, Paul Hurwitz’s house in Rockville was so filled with his woodworking projects that his wife started to suggest selling more of the pieces.

For thirty years he had been working with wood. The hobby started when his wife went to law school. She was busy studying and money was tight, so he decided to use the skills he was taught while attending middle school in Michigan to make a dining room table. He jokes that the table took him three years, just as law school took her three years.

Inspired, he kept on building. Over the years he would mostly sell to friends, or to those who heard about his work by word of mouth.

After the first A-RTS, his daughter, Lauren, encouraged him to apply to the next one. His woodworking business then became a family pursuit. When he was asked for photos of his work, his daughter Lauren took them. When he was asked for a website, his son Jacob, an engineer at Dropbox, quickly jumped in to design one. While in the International Baccalaureate program at Richard Montgomery High School, his daughter had made an ink stamp woodcarving of his profile and they used it as the basis for his “Paul the Wood Guy” logo. Lauren’s also at his side during the festivals, along with her dog, Echo, a beautiful Keeshond who definitely completes the effort as a full family affair.

Hurwitz travels to mills in Pennsylvania to find the wood for his projects insisting “the most beautiful walnut, cherry, and maple is grown in Pennsylvania”. Large-scale Furniture makers like a consistent grain. When a piece isn’t uniform enough to be glued together, the wood is put aside. Years ago, the mills would sell it cheap, but then they realized artists needed these pieces because as Hurwitz says, “You can’t create without wood.”

Since Hurwitz doesn’t use any stains, all the colors of his woods are natural. Many of his designs incorporate different hardwoods with contrasting colors and grain patterns. He believes that the photos don’t accurately represent the grain of the wood in his work. In person, light reflects at an angle and changes what is seen through the clear finish. Every piece is one-of-a-kind.

Although Hurwitz has a day job working as a program manager in the psychiatry department of a medical school, his woodworking is obviously a gratifying passion.

This weekend, the A-RTS Festival will feature his work along with 160 other nationally recognized artists from around the country. You’ll be able to find the finest work in ceramics, drawings, fiber, glass, graphics, jewelry, metalwork, paintings, photography, printmaking, sculpture, wood and mixed media.

While searching for your special purchase, you can also find specialty foods from artisanal food vendors including the following:
Handmade gourmet Fudge from Chocolate Moonshine
Gourmet aged balsamics and infused olives oils from East End Foodies
Frozen wine frappes (sorry, no alcohol) from Nectar of the Vine
Pickles of all varieites from Peter Peppers PA Pickles
Handmade gourmet chocolates and truffles from Parfections
Nut butters with no added sugar, oil or preservatives from Cheryl’s Nut Butters
Handmade gourmet Biscotti from Anita’s
Artissan wine based specialty foods from The Sommelier’s Palate
Natural Bath and Beauty Products from Maw Ahh
All natural beef sticks and peanuts from Bronco Bill’s Beef Sticks and VA Peanuts

Plan to grab lunch from a restaurant or one of the food vendors, Sherri’s Crabcakes, Chic Crepes, Kettle Korn, Kona Ice, and Tasty Creations – Waffles.

There’s also live entertainment:
Saturday: Noon – 2 PM Justin Trawick and 3-5 PM Colonel Josh
Sunday: Noon – 2 PM 19th Street Band and 2:30 – 5:30 PM Wytold

A-RTS Rockville Arts Festival: Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 11 AM-6 PM, Sunday, May 7, 2017 from 11 AM – 5 PM. Admission is FREE. The outdoor event is held rain or shine located on the streets of Rockville Town Square, Rockville, Maryland (Maryland, Ave., Middle St, and Gibbs St.). Streets are closed to traffic for the Festival.

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