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At Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival, exhibitors show mastery of setting up shop

FORT WORTH -- Exhibitors setting up for the Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival have it down to a fine art.

Because many artists attend festivals and shows throughout the year, they've mastered setting up and arranging their booths in just a few hours. On Wednesday, about 200 artists, plus food vendors and other exhibitors arrived downtown and began creating a minimall along Main Street.

The four-day festival begins today.

Artists donned gloves to unload trucks, pushed dollies and unpacked carefully wrapped photographs, ceramics, paintings, woodcarvings, jewelry and glasswork.

Working alone, sculptor Jeffrey Zachmann, of Fergus Falls, Minn., set up his booth in less than three hours.

After laying carpet atop the brick street, he erected several black panels to serve as booth walls, installed lights and hung his mechanical works for display.

For his kinetic sculptures, he bends stainless steel wires into giant zigzag patterns. A motor lifts a marble or ball to the top, which winds around as it drops through pathways to the bottom, where the process starts over again.

The machines are powered by electricity, but gravity makes the marbles roll. The one-of-a-kind pieces on sale this weekend cost $2,800 to $16,500, he said.

Zachmann, who has sculpture installed at Cook Children's Medical Center, said his booth tends to attract a crowd.

"It can get kind of loud," he said. "When I first started out making these, it flabbergasted me. I didn't think anybody else would be interested. It was my little quirky thing."

Activity did not slow Wednesday when blue skies briefly gave way to light showers and a few minutes of small hail. Artists were buoyed by a weather forecast predicting clear, sunny days, with temperatures in the mid- to high 70s through Sunday.

"I'm so glad it's going to be such a nice weekend. Bad weather, that can really wear on you after a day or two," said Rick Abrams, 50, a graphic designer and artist from DeLand, Fla. "My goal is to go home with an empty van again."

JESSAMY BROWN, 817-390-7326

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