A tall, dark, handsome painter named Justin from Columbus, Ind. will be demonstrating his art during the Linn Creek Arts Festival in Marshalltown on July 19. That is not so unusual, until one learns that Justin has four legs and replies with "neighs!"
Justin the Artistic Horse, a Friesian, will be making his Iowa debut in Marshalltown during the city's annual outdoor fine arts fest. The event takes place on the grounds of Fisher Community Center, bounded by Linn Creek, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a post party and concert from 6 to 9 p.m.
"Justin's painting demonstrations draw crowds," said Adonna Combs, owner and artist herself. "He grows quite animated with an audience!"
Not only is Justin striking in his appearance, his abstract art is striking as well. Combs dips brushes in various colors of non-toxic acrylic paint, lets Justin choose his palette by taking a paintbrush in his mouth and he swashes away on a canvas. A hoof print "signature" is his finishing touch.
Planners of Linn Creek Arts Fest are hoping that Justin brings visitors from throughout the Midwest. Justin has Facebook fans from neighboring states who reportedly say they wish to see him in Iowa.
While Justin is just one of the family-friendly attractions at the fest, the real goal is to draw art lovers to the booths of 50+ fine artists who will be displaying and selling their creative works at the event.
If you go ...
What: Linn Creek Arts Festival
When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: Fisher Community Center, 709 South Center Street in Marshalltown.
Features: Justin the Horse, Youth activities, including a Junior Art Lovers' Gallery, food vendors, indoor exhibitors and raffle prizes.
Post-party: 6 to 9 p.m. with wine and beer tent and music by Ben Hagen Trio featuring vocalist Amber Duimstra.
Pam Swarts, owner of Marshalltown's downtown art gallery, The Perfect Setting, says she learned about Justin from an Illinois gallery owner and contacted his owner on a whim.
"I had no idea if they would travel this far or be available," Swarts said. "When the festival planning team got the affirmative word from Adonna, we were thrilled."
Combs is also excited about the Marshalltown event. Two nights on the acreage of Dr. John Terry, a horse veterinarian, and his wife Carol, festival volunteer, will be part of the perks.
"Sharing my tall, dark and handsome painting friend to a new audience will be the best part!" Combs said.
For more information, visit www.linncreekartsfestival.com.