Hog Artists & r & If this is your image of summer arts events, be ready to have your paradigm shifted by the inclusion of a unique motorcycle show in our "picks" of summer art events. What do Harleys have to do with art? Aesthetics -- the study of beauty -- which, if you've seen the bikes from Orange County Choppers, you already know how such a thing is possible.
Consider the red and chrome masterpiece bike commemorating New York City firefighters killed on 9/11. Or the improbably webbed chrome overlays on the Black Widow bike. Or the sexy stylings of the black-and-chrome Mikie-Vinnie bike, as aesthetically dynamic as a Metropolitan museum-quality Mies van der Rohe chair... but with horsepower.
"These are works of art," suggests promoter of this summer's event Kerry Dunne, "that could someday be in the Smithsonian."
Die-hard bikers may turn up their well-weathered noses at O.C. Choppers' admittedly outrageous bikes. (No one we know would ride the Christmas bike, either, although those antlers might help scare deer off the roadway.) But OCC isn't for purists. Or posers. It's for the people. Ten million fans watch the bickering bike-builders weekly, including 50,000 last year when OCC toured the West. Promoters are expecting at least that many when OCC rolls into the Spokane County Fair & amp; Expo Center on July 28-30, says Dunne, who credits the community and Cue11's David Cebert with getting one of OCC's coveted four annual shows.
The whole event is interactive, family- and fan-oriented and superbly marketed. The audience, for example, will help design a bike -- that someone will later win -- built onstage in under an hour by Paulie Jr. and crew. Of course, Paulie Sr. will inevitably tell Junior he screwed things up, but the audience laughs because 1) it's funny and 2) it reminds us of our own tenuous familial relationships. OCC history narrated by cast, television outtakes and segments like Mikie's favorite moments (like when Senior lit the car on fire) round out the stage show.
Other features include vendor displays (eight semi-trucks' worth), an exhibition of 25 best-of-the-Northwest bikes (contact firstname.lastname@example.org to show your stuff) to be voted on by fans, and how-to seminars. The cast of OCC will also be performing in their version of a garage band (apparently good enough to open for Lynyrd Skynyrd in August). Proceeds from tickets ($25; $40, weekend; free, children 10 and younger) will surely raise lots of money for the Boys and Girls Club. And you can even get a $5 discount off admission at Yoke's Market. Visit www.occinamerica.com.
Regional Roundup & r & Before OCC rolls into town, consider doing a little easy riding of your own into Washington and Idaho's rural byways. Colville's Artburst (July 23-25) offers music, food, theater, art and kids activities in the idyllic setting of Colville's Yep Kanum City Park. Many local artists will be exhibiting their work, ranging from painting to pottery to crafts, and several will provide demonstrations throughout the weekend. In addition, caricaturist Kelly Abramson will be on hand to do free portraits. For children, several arts workshops sponsored by the Greenwood Institute d'Art are scheduled so kids will have something to remember the weekend by. They can even learn to make their own didgeridoo!
Should you miss Colville's Artburst, plan on attending the area's North County Artists Trails, July 28-30 or Aug. 25-27. This self-guided tour of artist studios, local eateries and points of interest will send you round-trip from Colville to Chewelah. Remember to get the NCAT artcard and six or more "stamps" -- you can enter them into a drawing to win a piece of artwork valued at more than $1,000.
Across the state line and northward are equally interesting art events in lovely Sandpoint, Idaho. The fourth annual Artists' Studio Tour of North Idaho combines driving and walking to get you into studios and galleries throughout the Panhandle from June 1-Sept. 4. The tour has grown from 10 to 40 artists at more than 30 locations, featuring painting, glasswork, fiber arts, pottery, jewelry, metal and wooden sculpture, photography and furniture. To obtain a map for the driving tour, contact www.arttourdrive.org.
While in Sandpoint, check out the walking part of the tour for Artwalks I and II. June 16 is the opening reception for Artwalk I, which runs until July 19. Artwalk II runs from July 21-Sept. 8. Most of Sandpoint's galleries participate, including the co-op Artworks Gallery, the Chris Kraisler Gallery, and the Pend Oreille Arts Council Gallery in the Old Power House. If you go early enough, catch the farmers market, one of the best in the area, or stay for Saturday concerts in the park. Visit www.sandpointonline.com.
Coeur d'Alene on Display & r & Our final artsy pick for summer is the much-loved and ever-expanding Art on the Green, Coeur d'Alene's counterpart to Spokane's ArtFest. Running from Aug. 4-6, this 28th annual art extravaganza features a juried art exhibit by dozens of the area's best-known visual artists, more than 30 performing artists and more than 140 exhibitors selling their artistic wares. Located on North Idaho College's scenic lakefront campus, Art on the Green is flanked by two concurrent events: Tastes of Coeur d'Alene in the City Park and the Street Fair beginning on Sherman Avenue. Shuttles are available (www.artonthegreen.org), but the best way to get around is by bicycle or on foot.
Sponsored by Citizens Council for the Arts, Art on the Green is a major fund-raiser for community and educational projects, including ArtShop, a week-long visual and performing arts activity attended by nearly 400 elementary-age kids. Many children then participate in stage events, while others take advantage of the kids' arts tent, which is stocked with fingerpaints, beads, gourds and other fun things. Many older kids also participate in the Clothesline Booth, which showcases emerging and established artists outside of the juried format. This bargain-based feature of Art on the Green is a real crowd-pleaser, offering a variety of art at incredibly affordable prices. For more established artists, more than $3,000 in cash will be awarded in the juried show.
Other favorite features of this event include sandcastle art, raku pottery firing, and the Art on the Green poster contest. Winner Alan McNeil of Troy, Mont., was selected this year from nearly two dozen entries. Runner-up Lisa McCormick was last year's poster designer, followed by Robin Lecuyer, both of Coeur d'Alene.
Although attendance over the three days could number in the thousands, Art on the Green manages to feel like a neighborhood fair. Old acquaintances are refreshed and new ones made; so are memories. Like many of the other art events this summer, it's a place where the bounty of summer is preserved in pictures to keep in your mind -- or on the wall -- to be treasured throughout the year.
DON'T MISS & r & PLEIN AIR PAINTING evolved from 19th-century France and refers to luminosity of painting outdoors. Watch 25 local artists capture the majesty of the Lake Pend Oreille region on June 15-16 at Sandpoint's Hope Market Caf & eacute;, which happens to have great food and a tres chic art gallery. Visit www.timberstand.com.
Fiber arts range from kinetic sculpture to tapestry to batik. Explore it all at Tinman Gallery's third annual FIBER ARTS INVITATIONAL from Aug. 4-26. Enjoy the artist reception on Aug. 4 or check out the Garland Arts and Music Festival on Aug. 12.
For splendor in the GLASS ON THE GRASS, be at Gonzaga's Jundt Museum on Aug. 19-20 to enjoy live demos, a juried show and a dazzling array of blown, fused, cast, leaded, foiled and painted glass.
Rising star and Spokane Art School instructor DARA HARVEY creates vibrant images in the Pop Surrealist tradition. Experience her dreamscape canvases at the Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d'Alene through July 8.