Unusual

After learning about the Kentuck Festival of the Arts in Northport, Alabama, I jumped for joy at the fact I would meet and interview an artist. I also panicked a bit— I would have to talk to complete strangers and ask them questions about themselves!

On the morning of October 15, I woke up early and dressed in jeans and a t-shirt then grabbed my backpack and got in the car with my friends Tatyana, Kaylee, and Lillie Marie.  When we arrived at the festival, small boys in yellow shirts waved our car towards a resting spot in the grass near some softball and baseball fields. The first order of business was to listen to Mr. Dickson’s spiel about the buddy system, how we needed to make sure and check in with him at 11:00, how we had to be back at the front bleachers at 1:00, the time we would leave . . . 

We entered the festival parking lot, and there were multiple RVs and a few weird cars scattered about that had paint splotches and other crafts attached to the hulls of the cars. I knew, once I saw these cars, that this wasn’t an ordinary festival, at least not like any festival I’ve ever been to. We got to a large tent with bustling and hurrying people who took money and handed out tickets and maps of the festival. Quickly, I looked at the map and key to find Amanda Bennett.

Bennett is a young, brown-haired, mixed media artist that was located in booth H-20. She wore a long-sleeved Alabama shirt with jeans and sandals. As I slowly walked up to her, I became more nervous with every step I took. I felt myself get knots scattered with butterflies around them in my stomach.

amanda_bennett_kentuckWhen I finally got the courage to walk up to her and speak, I introduced myself and said, “I emailed you about the int—” but the tall skinny woman seemed to brighten up and jolted her hand in my direction.

“It’s so nice to finally meet you!” she said. 

I took her hand with a surprised look on my face as she burst with joy that we would be speaking and interviewing.

Ms. Bennett’s tent contained many of her works of art in the mixed media artworks, so I began with a simple question, “How was your trip to Kentuck?” to which she responded that it was good and easy.

As the interview went on, Iasked her  more serious questions. Bennet originally went to college to become a teacher but learned she would rather pursue art.  When I asked her why she had used a spatula, as a child would, to make her art. She responded simply again: “Texture.”

Toward the end of our interview, one question I had to ask was: Do you have anything you would say to a young artist my age, pursuing the arts?

She responded with a ponderous thought. “I will say this that’s very cliche: you can do anything you want to do.” She said also told me that she wished she had begun art earlier on, rather than after college.

My final question was one my teacher said we should always ask. “Is there anything else that you would like there to be in the article?”

“I had a great interviewer, with amazing questions . . . who’s acting shy!” She smiled and laughed then looked at my friend, who was part of the buddy system with me,  and asked “Is this normal?”

We all laughed a bit, and my friend responded. “No, she’s an extrovert!” And we all laughed once again.

“I am flattered and honored that you interviewed me,” Bennett said, after I told her I was excited and happy to meet her.

After walking around the festival for a bit and looking at the different artists’ work, I had realized I didn’t get a picture with the fabulous artist I interviewed!

So I walked back to her after checking in with my teacher and waited as she talked with a customer. Once she finished, she recognized me and my partners Jay and Mason and smiled. I told her m predicament, and asked if I could take a photo by my favorite piece of art that was wonder woman. She smiled and agreed.

After the photo she said she had a gift for me and gave me a Polaroid copied onto wood and signed the back of it. I was very grateful that she gave it to me and that she was as chill as she was.

Amanda Bennett was a bright, glowing young artist, and the Kentuck Festival of Arts was colorful and diverse. After seeing Bennett’s art, I have become very interest, and who knows, maybe I’ll start dabbling in the arts myself.

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