WATERVILLE — Erika Doucette gently brushed a neon, mustard-yellow color onto an already bright, multi-colored mannequin standing on the Main Street sidewalk.

The 29-year-old and her live art project drew a lot of attention Saturday afternoon from fellow artists and potential buyers at the annual Waterville Intown Arts Fest, which is in its 42nd year of showcasing artists downtown.

Doucette asked passing artists to add a brush stroke to the dummy, which she named Cookie, and called it a collaborative piece that will always be changing until someone buys it.

Her unique project was among the more than 60 art vendors who displayed a variety of artistic wares in tents lining Main Street from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Doucette hadn’t made a sale as of noon, but the aspiring full-time artist said the chance to introduce people to her work is the best part of the festival.

“I’m trying to get together a small art show, but it’s really hard to make connections,” she said.

She graduated from the University of Maine with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and dreams of making a living by selling her art, she said.

To make money, she works at a bakery in Augusta and sells the occasional piece at shows and art festivals.

“It’s about getting yourself out there,” she said.

Jill Gordon stopped by the tent and checked out a few photos and sculptures, speaking briefly with Doucette.

Gordon, who teaches philosophy at Colby College, said she attends the festival every year, getting to know local artists and looking for unique original pieces.

The 49-year-old from Fairfield said the festival is a chance to make first contact with artists.

“I take their little (business) cards and maybe I’ll buy something later for my house,” she said.

Ryan Kohler is another artist who hopes the festival can help catapult his career.

He graduated from the University of Maine at Augusta, where he studied art, and works at a retail store to make money while trying to sell his art.

“My grandparents taught me to paint as a kid, and I’m just trying to make it work,” said Kohler, 24, of Oakland, while a couple of customers looked over one of his canvasses.

Jamie Cluchey looked at Kohler’s piece titled “X-communication,” which showed wires criss-crossing an electricity pole on a blue background.

The 28-year-old teacher from Belgrade said she was looking for a piece to buy for her home.

“It’s fun to meet the artists, and it’s great to see so many different, talented artists here,” she said.

This year’s festival had a spike in the number of young artists who joined some of the more veteran vendors, according to Shannon Haines, executive director of Waterville Main Street, an event organizer.

More than $5,000 in prizes was given out to the artists, according to Haines.

“It’s great to see younger artists on the streets,” she said.

David Robinson — 861-9287

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