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Brookings Art Festival Boosts Town's Economy

July 14, 2012, 10:28 PM by Lindsey Branwall

Brookings Art Festival Boosts Town's Economy
BROOKINGS, SD -

Many of the SDSU students that reside in Brookings pack their bags and head out of town when the summer hits, leaving a chunk of the city's economic income absent, but that palette is changing this weekend.

There's no shortage of income, coming into the Brookings Summer Arts Festival. While the 200 artists take home their profits, the city of Brookings also cashes in.

"All these people in town buy a tank of gas or stop at a convenience store on their way home or stay in motels,” Brookings Summer Art Festival Board of Directors member Dave Huebner said.

In a season where the town is often quiet, voices and footsteps filling Pioneer Park make that hard to believe.

“When the students go home for the summer, the town is really quiet, but this weekend everything is full again, so it really adds an economic boost to the community,” Huebner said.

JoAnne Bird is a well known artist in the area.

"I'm always trying to come up with new ideas, I never stay in one thing,” Bird said.

While her fans have been coming back to buy her impressionist paintings for more than 20 years, Bird migrates back each season to its culture.

"We meet all the people we've known over the years, it's a gathering, and we're like family, all of the artists; we get to see the artists,” Bird said.

But she isn't the only one who feels that way. Paula Ball's back at the festival for the first time in nine years. Even though she's bringing her daughter for the first time, the sights and sounds are all too familiar.

"It has that atmosphere of almost coming home, a family reunion, even though I'm not from Brookings. It has that togetherness, a whole community pulling together just to celebrate,” Ball said.

Artists have come from across the state to show off their paintings and sculptures. The festival ends Sunday at 5 p.m.

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