The courtyard at 119 E. Third St. in downtown Marion was filled with music, art, flowers, red hats and cold beers Monday night at the first Collide at the Courtyard event.

The event was hosted by the Fusion Arts Alliance (FAA), a local nonprofit with the goal of supporting and advancing artists in Grant County.

According to the FAA website, Collide at the Courthouse is “an artist-led showcase of contemporary and experimental performance and visual arts born from a belief that the power of art unites and strengthens our own neighborhoods and communities.”

The event began with a wildflower arranging workshop led by local artist Anne Maddox.

Maddox demonstrated how to create wildflower arrangements while also teaching attendees about each flower.

“We’re looking at weeds in a new way,” said Claudette Casey, the “Queen Mother” of the Red Hat Society social group in Marion. “(Collide at the Courtyard) is just something different to do. It exposes us to different things that we hadn’t thought of.”

Casey said she had heard about the event from a fellow red hatter, Arletha Smith.

“(Collide at the Courtyard) is something interesting, something different,” Smith said. “It was something to do in Marion.”

Although Smith is not an artist, she said she connected with Maddox’s art.

“(Maddox) said something about the Bahamas, and my family is from the Bahamas,” she said. “My grandmother lived in Nassau, and she did flower arrangements with native plants for the hotels there.”

Smith said she enjoyed learning about which insects and birds are attracted to each wildflower.

“It’s interesting how (Maddox) explained that a flower in the wrong place is a weed,” she said.

Another red hatter, Ann Jones, said she enjoyed the workshop but came for the live music by local artist Layla Adair Price.

Collide at the Courtyard is a free event that will take place weekly from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Monday nights and will feature an artist workshop, live music performances and drinks from Folkies Tavern.

“We’re hoping that it will gain some momentum with each week,” said Executive Director of FAA Greg Fiebig. “It just gives people a reason to get out of their houses.”

FAA Deputy Director Pamela Schlechty said she is looking for artists to showcase their work and perform weekly through August.

“I’m hoping to get dancers and maybe get a comedian out there, who knows! Any talent, any genre is welcome,” she said.

In addition to Collide at the Courtyard, FAA hosts live-stream interviews with different local artists on Facebook.

FAA is also hosting the Congruence Arts and Music Festival at the Gardens of Matter Park on Aug. 21 from 5-9 p.m.

For more information and to showcase artwork at Collide at the Courtyard, email info@fusionaa.org.

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