by Currie Alexander Powers

Laura Nugent
  “Family” has become a complicated term in recent days, one that has been politicized, sliced and diced, defined, redefined, and let’s face it, had the idea of fun sucked out of it.

If you are longing for simpler times when family meant community, sharing, and fun, then this coming Father’s Day weekend, June15–17, you will be able to find all that and more at the 42nd annual American Artisan Festival in Nashville’s Centennial Park. It is a weekend tailor-made for families to spend time together enjoying fine art, the best in contemporary American handcrafts, food, and live music.

The American Artisan Festival was built by the Saturn family. The late Nancy Saturn, a beloved Nashville retailer and early pioneer in the contemporary craft movement, started the festival with a vision to represent the highest quality of craft from every area of the country, from jewelry, furniture, sculpture, stained glass, to ceramics and textiles. That vision and tradition of excellence is being carried on by her daughter, Samantha Saturn, who, along with Nashville’s Jerry Dale McFadden and their co-sponsor, the Nashville Board of Parks and Recreation, helps draw more than 30,000 festival-goers each year.


  Samantha Saturn explains what the festival means to her personally. “My entire life was spent at this festival with my father, the late Alan Saturn, and together we loved walking the show, eating together and enjoying the park each year. I now continue that tradition with my husband, Steve, and our two children.”

The festival organizers also reach out to the local artistic community each year to pick a winning design for the festival’s poster, partnering with Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. This year’s winning design was created by Hunter Hodge. As well, this year includes a new partnership with Musician’s Corner, who provide free, outdoor music programming in Centennial Park, with performances by David Mead, the Hogslop String Band, Ferrier, and Sam Lewis.


“I am always reminded that the Artisan Festival has always been about family,” Samantha Saturn says. “A family of artists, families celebrating Father’s Day in Centennial Park together, and the greater Nashville family that has supported the artists exhibiting at American Artisan Festival for over 40 years.”

The festival honors the life of Nancy Saturn, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2010, by donating proceeds to Gilda’s Club in Nashville and the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center.

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