doug hout

Doug Hout.

MANSFIELD -- Despite some rain Saturday morning, the weather improved and the sun came out by afternoon, just in time for the first-ever Mansfield Arts Festival. 

The event kicked off at noon in Central Park, featuring a variety of live music, street performers and more than a dozen local artists set up in individual booths. 

One of those artists was 77-year-old Doug Hout of Bellville. He makes metal flowers, peacocks and more by re-purposing metal objects like spoons.

He explained how he usually uses the round portion of spoons to make flower petals and the handles as leaves for his flower projects.

"But once you make so many, you can use the handles (as petals), too. You put them all together, and then you have those flowers," Hout said, pointing to another batch of the metal flowers. 

He estimates he's made between 200 and 300 in total since his retirement. 

"When I retired, I thought, well, now I need something to do. I looked into part-time jobs, and they were 32 hours (per week). I had retired from that," Hout said. 

He didn't accept a part-time job, and instead kept looking for something else to fill his time. 

"I remember I was at a craft show in Pennsylvania, and I thought, 'I could do that,'" Hout said.

He came back to Bellville and began making metal crafts. He aims to progressively tackle more and more challenging projects.

His last project towers just over his head. The piece features two giant metal sunflowers atop stems made of rebar.

"I bent this rebar, and then shaped these leaves out of metal. I had a friend paint them," Hout said. "The base, here, it's a plate off a plow. And the flowers were farm equipment, too." 

Just a few yards away was Mansfield artist, Jody Odom Sr., who had brought his paintings to display. He also was looking forward to hearing his son, a local musician, play later in the afternoon. 

odom

Jody Odom Sr.

"It is a chance to bring my art to the public," Odom said. "The art sector and just (a chance) to hear and see other local artists, this inspired me to come and to show folks my work." 

 Victoria Hoefler, one of the festival coordinators, has said she'd like to see the event continue annually. The festival is put on through the Mansfield Art Sector, a part of Richland Community Development Group.

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