Carlton Abbott and An Occasion for the Arts in Williamsburg.
An Occasion for the Arts in Williamsburg.
Back in the day, says Carlton Abbott, artists didn’t have cool, shady, tents like they do now for art shows en plein air; “People simply hung up their art on chicken wire.” The 75-year-old, who paints vibrant—often almost abstract—canvases, should know: He is the longest-running participating artist at the Virginia Beach Boardwalk Art Show, having shown for the 54th time last June. He is also the co-founder of An Occasion For The Arts (AOFTA), a two-day outdoor Williamsburg art and music festival established in 1969, held each year in early October.
A prominent architect (he owns the Williamsburg firm Abbott & Partners and is a distinguished fellow of the American Institute of Architects), Abbott has displayed at AOFTA since its first year. Held in the streets surrounding Colonial Williamsburg’s merchant square, this year AOFTA will include 141 artists (selected by judges from a pool of more than double that), plus musical performances.
While Abbott’s architectural projects may take years (his firm designed the Virginia Beach Boardwalk in 1988), Abbott likes the immediacy of painting. Paintings might be taken down, but they are not renovated or changed, which he says is “the preciousness of art.” AOFTA.org