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Art Off Pike - Downtown Covington's Urban Arts Festival - Is Back!

Art Off Pike, Covington’s annual free urban arts festival, returns for its 12th year on Sunday, Sept. 25 with more than 50 artists, performances by local bands, spoken word and performance artists, and interactive art installations, all along 7th Street between Washington and Madison from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Some of the highlights:

12, 2 and 4 p.m. – Costume parades led by the Forealism Tribe, who will hold costume-making workshops at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.)

All day - Caravan Traveling Sound will bring their mobile sound studio and pop-up instrument showroom for guests to explore music and even record their own songs.

Watch for the unveiling of a new mural featuring Covington native Una Merkel (who began her career as a stand-in for Lillian Gish, had a famous hair-pulling fight with Marlene Dietrich in Destry Rides Again and earned a Tony Award and Oscar nomination during her long career.) Designed by Durham Brand & Co. and funded by COV10.

Among the Art Off Pike artists are Ryan Fardo and Amy Weber, who founded Pistons & Polish in 2014 – and who took time off from making artful, create “upcycled” household items for a wedding earlier this month.

Fardo laughs that they can’t remember exactly how their business began, “but it was clearly strongly influenced by our shared collaboration as a couple -- a mix of soft and hard materials, female/male perspective, and combining modern touches with a vintage vibe. 

“We did a few projects together in 2013 for family weddings and friends, just as a creative outlet. We were overwhelmed by the feedback and thought ‘maybe we can do something with this,’ so Pistons and Polish was established in early 2014.”

They began selling on the local flea market circuit with items from materials they find at yard sales, swap meets, dirt malls, re-use centers and estate sales and opened an Etsy store. They’ve had a steady increase in sales “and we are now considering a full time commitment to the brand.” (A.K.A. taking a leap of faith and quitting their day jobs.)

They imagine and execute their creations, from bud vases and butter-and-cheese-knife sets to furniture, from their home base in Cold Spring.

Look for a double waterfall, live edge, black walnut coffee table made from “slabs that have been staring at me for the last few months,” says Fardo.

“All of our woodworking slabs are sourced locally from primarily sick, problem or storm damaged trees.  (We are "those" people who are willing to knock on a random door when we see a tree that's being cut down or has recently fallen in a yard to inquire about the wood).

“A lot of the cuts of wood we use would be considered “junk” by many craftsmen. We focus on the natural character of the wood with a “live” edge left intact which often shows bark, nicks or other signs of life that are lost when boards is milled into square lumber.


“We never use stains or paints to alter the natural look of the wood allowing the beauty of the woodgrain to shine through as it was intended.  And, to finish off the piece, we like to contrast the natural wood with metal legs -- for this table, we chose the bright red hair pin legs which impart a nice mid-century vibe to the somewhat rustic look of the walnut slab.

See how they did it here.

The Madlot will house music, entertainment, local food trucks and seating. The stage, sponsored by Braxton Brewery, will feature a variety of programming including dance, spoken word, and music.

Smoking Zeus will open Art Off Pike at 11 a.m., 10-piece band Baoku, led by Baoku Moses, will close the festival taking the stage at 4 p.m.  

After Art Off Pike, A Community ReSoup in Orchard Park will be hosted by the Northern Kentucky Incubator Kitchen, LiveWell NKY, The Center for Great Neighborhoods, and COV10, beginning at 6 p.m. and will include soup made by chefs from the NKY Incubator Kitchen comprised of “gleaned” foods gathered from local farmers.   

Art Off Pike, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. 7th Street between Washington and Madison, Covington.

Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts