by Carrie Scozzaro & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & C & lt;/span & oeur d'Alene's annual Art on the Green festival is part blockbuster, part block party. From Aug. 4-6, this arts extravaganza features more than 140 artists, a juried art show, food booths, children's art areas, and entertainment throughout the North Idaho Campus. It spills over into nearby City Park and most of downtown Coeur d'Alene, including a Street Fair and the Taste of the Coeur d'Alenes. Even with this year's projected 50,000 visitors, the event retains the feel of a neighborhood party -- a place to see and be seen, reconnect with old friends and celebrate summer and the arts.
Seasoned locals bring lawnchairs or blankets and park under ample shade by one of two stages offering more than 30 performers. Proud parents will no doubt await the appearance of Friday's opening act, Children's Art in Motion from Art Shop, a weeklong arts workshop for children grades 2-7. Enjoy Caribbean-style steel drums and dancing of Bakra Bata, magic tricks by Dick Frost, or the St. Patrick's Irish Folk Dancers. Spokane First Night veterans Ruby Devine and Kathy Colton and the Reluctants, Grammy award-winning New Age artists Tingstad and Rumbel, solo guitarist Ty Kovatch, and folk/bluegrass melodies of the Watercarver's Guild provide a perfect backdrop.
Many returning visitors expect to see perennial favorites such as sandcastle master Scott Dodson or Oregon-based blacksmith Michael Plowman, who does on-site raku firing, an ancient pottery firing technique that results in mesmerizing iridescent and crackle surfaces.
Pottery is well represented this year, including many Spokane-based Pottery Place Plus artists. Barry Crutchfield of Leavenworth brings earthy saggar kiln-fired pottery, while Mary Naylor and Tammie Brush of White Salmon, Wash., redefine bistro-like pottery in black and bright colors.
Woodworkers are few but varied. Jeff Nelson and Eric Erstling of New York-based HudsonRiverInlay showcase marquetry mastery, while the hardwood carvings of Mead's Hank Chiapetta evoke Easter Island totems.
In what may be a dwindling artform, leatherworkers number only five this year, led by Coeur d'Alene locals Mark and Mary Rogers who specialize in sheepskins, such as their irresistible teddy bear. Hailing from Connecticut, Robert "Z-man" Marcone combines domestic and exotic skins, including crocodile, snake and shark.
Glassworks range from fused, such as Clark and Cindy Summers of Summers Glass in Coeur d'Alene, to layered and mixed-media artworks from Randy Sedlak-Ford of Portland, Ore.
The fiber artists number less than a dozen yet offer sumptuous color and texture. Local favorites include Nan Drye of Spokane and Melanie Habets of Careywood, Idaho, whose Inspiral Silks feature luxuriantly colored shawls, scarves and dressing screens. Mao Thao from Missoula, Mont., is known for reverse appliqu & eacute; expertise in her traditional Laotian story quilts.
Jewelry exhibitors are abundant. Look for the fused glass of Portland's Rachael Foss or the metal-based whimsical drop earrings of Joseph Brinton, beadworks by ArtFest local Amy Mickelson, and Seattle-based Tsan Sun Chan's exquisite gold and silver jewelry.
Mixed-media works include the calligraphy and fiber-based paper lanterns of Yoshi and Susie Aoki of Oregon. Paul Wisdom of Dharmaworks in Dreary, Idaho, transforms steel "bamboo" into furnishings, lightings and elegant gongs. Billings, Mont., artists Clay Green and Carolyn Peters capture Big Sky sounds with their Winds of Montana chimes. Influenced by travel, Reggie Correll showcases her bronze sculptures while the ever-experimental photography of Gay Waldman is sure to surprise and delight.
The final category includes traditional photography, as well as paintings and printmaking. If you liked Wild Wacky Women images, see Oregon-based Judy Wise's illustrations. Pet lovers will enjoy local Hayden artist Kyle Paliotto, who immortalizes your beloved Fido in painterly brushstrokes. Terri Austin-Beech, now based in Calgary, Alberta, returns to Coeur d'Alene with her nationally acclaimed watercolors.
Many artists are featured in both exhibitors' categories and the juried show, including poster contest winner Alan McNeil of Troy, Mont. "Bert" was painted on canvas with oil and hot wax. McNeil modeled him on a recent series of chickens.
The juried show includes 40 artists in 2-D media (drawing, painting, etc.), and 17 artists in 3-D media. Judging will take place Friday morning, with more than $5,000 awarded. In addition, North Idaho College instructors Allie Vogt and Joan Grey Smith will select three community-oriented purchase awards, including this year's President's Award, which is donated annually to NIC's permanent collection and often used in teaching future art students.
That connection between the community and its artists is just one aspect of Art on the Green that makes it not only one of the biggest art festivals in the Northwest, but one of the most meaningful. Sponsored by NIC and Citizen's Council for the Arts and staffed by more than 500 volunteers, Art on the Green is totally community-based. The commission received from the sale of artworks funds numerous projects that benefit area children and arts organizations. Not only is Art on the Green fostering an appreciation for the arts right now -- it hopes to do the same for future festival-goers as well.
Art on the Green is open Friday, Aug. 4, from noon-10 pm; Saturday, Aug. 5, from 9 am-10 pm; and Sunday, Aug. 6, from 9 am-5 pm. Free. Shuttle bus provided between downtown Coeur d'Alene and the NIC campus. Visit www.artonthegreen.org or call (208) 667-9346.
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