Full Moon Over the Palouse by Doug Martindale. Painted with pastels on paper.
What started off as a daydream of Deb Sheldon’s has turned into a reality.
It was more than 10 years ago that the idea for an annual art festival hosted in the South Hills of Spokane first popped into the painter’s head. But it wasn’t until five years ago that she was able to turn it into a reality.
Today, Art on the Blacktop is a popular event for both local artists and people in the community. The festival this year features 22 local artists showcasing their craftsmanship. Sheldon’s goal is to introduce the people of Spokane to the artists living among them in order to build a connection between the two groups.
“It’s sort of understanding what an artist community looks like. I think the world has kind of a wacky vision of what artists are, and it's not always an appealing image,” says Sheldon. "And so to be able to come and have everyone be friendly and inviting and respectful and incredibly talented, it's a really good thing.”
The artists at Art on the Blacktop are selected by Sheldon. From young artists in need of exposure to more seasoned veterans, the event is full of people with a range of skills and crafts. The idea is to showcase as diverse of a group as possible, Sheldon explains. A little bit of everything at the festival works best, and for Sheldon, only the best will do.
“These are people I’ve either worked with for years or I’ve seen work and been really impressed and thought, 'These are people that I think the people in the South Hill ... should meet,'" Sheldon says.
Doug Martindale specializes in pastel painting and after being introduced to Sheldon and impressing her with his art was invited to have a booth at the festival. This year will be his first, and he'll be Art on the Blacktop's first ever pastel artist.
A teacher at the Spokane Art School and a recent transplant to the area, Martindale has worked in markets like Seattle and California and says the art industry in Spokane can be a difficult one to break into. That's why he says events like the Art on the Blacktop are so important for local artists.
"Here in town I've found it's not a very vast gallery scene," says Martindale. "Artists here I think need to really grab whatever opportunity you can and this one is a good one. "
The event is hosted by Sheldon, her husband Jason and daughter Emma on the pavement outside of 29th Avenue Artworks. The art gallery, design business and frame shop has been owned and operated by the Sheldon family for over 30 years.
This year Skewers Food Truck will return after their first appearance at the event last year, selling Mediterranean cuisine. Currently the Sheldons are working on expanding the blacktop on the property and could potentially add an additional five artists to the event in the future.
Here is a full list of all the artists that will be present at this year’s Art on the Blacktop and their specialties:
Wax and Found Objects
Melanie Lieb Taylor:
Sumi and Watercolor Painting
Jewelry and Photography
Art on the Blacktop • Fri, Jun 22, 5-9pm; Sat-Sun, Jun 23-24, 10am-6pm • 29th Avenue Artworks 3128 E. 29th Ave. • facebook.com/29artworks • 534-7959