Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Art in the park

37th annual Sun Valley Arts & Crafts Festival goes on display

The view through Audrey Heller's slightly skewed lens will be on display at the Arts & Crafts Festival.

The high percentage of artistic souls in the valley spikes dramatically this weekend as the Sun Valley Arts & Crafts Festival sets up shop on the green grasses of the Sun Valley Resort.

From Friday, Aug. 12 to Sunday, Aug. 14, 130 artists from around the nation will descend on Sun Valley to proudly display and sell their exquisite creations. This year there will be eight local artists under those dandy white tents, accompanied by five other Idaho artists.

The Sun Valley Center's Arts & Crafts Festival is consistently ranked among the top 100 best arts and craft shows in the country by the Art Fair Source Book, and The Harris List ranks it among the top 20 in the Pacific Northwest and California. Attendance is free of charge and entertainment and educational programs are scheduled throughout the weekend.

Booths at the festival fall into the following categories: ceramics—functional and non-functional, digital, drawing, fiber—wearable and non-wearable, glass, jewelry, metalwork, 2-D mixed media, 3-D mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and woodwork.

One of the highlights of the show is the opportunity to view daily artists' demonstrations. This year, watch a potter throw clay on a potter's wheel, a kite-maker teach paper to fly, an artist tell stories with images and a papermaker turn pulp and water into sheets. Demonstrations are held in the Artists' Demonstration tent near the center of the festival.

This is the 37th Sun Valley Arts & Crafts Festival. Each year a jury of nine local arts professionals spends three days viewing over 4,250 slides submitted by 710 artists from the United States, Canada and England. The result is a fine selection and diverse range of North America's leading artists in their fields.

The rules of the festival require that the artists show work made by only their own hands. Artists submit five slides of their work, one of their booth, and an artist's statement. The statement is read to jurors as they view the artist's slides, which are viewed anonymously. Each group of six slides is viewed at the same time to give the jurors an understanding of the artist's body of work as a whole.

A preview of each category allows the jurors to see the content and quality of each category and to discuss the difficulty of technique or uniqueness of execution. During the silent jury round, scores are given to each artist and the artists with the highest cumulative scores are accepted into the festival. Several artists scoring just below the cut-off are added to a competitive wait list.

New this year to the festival, Center Executive Director Sam Gappmayer has chosen to spotlight a selection of local artists who, although not juried into the festival through the usual routes, have exhibited a strong commitment to their craft. He has selected ceramic artists Elmer Taylor and Susan Ward, jeweler Kary Kjesbo, painter and illustrator Kim Howard and woodworker R.C. Hink.

Among the local artists the jury did select for this summer's nationally recognized festival are first-time participant glass artist Paul Downey and seasoned festival artist metalsmith Colten Tippets. Both are based in the Wood River Valley. They will join last year's Best of Photography winner, Ketchum-based Barbara Kline.

In addition to these fine local artists, several artists from greater Idaho will be travelling to Sun Valley. These include returning wood sculptor Lona Hymas-Smith from Burley, jewelry artist Jody Peterson from Victor, Boise woodworkers Michael Hamilton and Dee Roberts, Pocatello ceramicists Dwight and Regina Masak and for the first time in many years, Challis' maker of unique rustic chairs, Don King.

The caliber of art on display and the diversity of artists showing their wares is sure to guarantee a fabulous day out for art lovers, shoppers and curious passers-by alike. Even the little ones can remain entertained. A kid's activity area will be open between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday and between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. This year children will have the opportunity to fashion a sun hat, felt wool, make a mask or create a faux-glass bowl. On Friday at 1:30 p.m. children can listen to author Barbara Joosse read from her new book "Papa Do You Love Me," a tribute to the unconditional love between parent and child.

Alongside the artistic pleasures for your eyes and the entertainment for your children is a host of sonic pleasure for your ears. The festival includes three days of live music.

Headlining Friday evening from 5:30-7 p.m. is Texas native Ruthie Foster who has been garnering critical acclaim for her soulful versions of blues, gospel, roots and folk. Opening for Foster are Fred Crabtree, singer/songwriter from 1:30--2:30 p.m. and Rick Hoel, an acoustic folk singer from 5:30--7 p.m.

Saturday retains a bluegrass feel as singer/songwriter Hart Gibson plays from noon--1 p.m. and then joins his bluegrass quartet Public Radio from 1:30--2:30 p.m. Will Bell rounds out the day with acoustic folk from 3--4 p.m.

Sunday provides an afternoon fiesta of Mexican music as Mariachi Zavala celebrates its heritage. The band plays traditional Mexican music with a unique contemporary sound. It will perform from noon--1 p.m. and from 3--4 p.m. Shades of Purple offer some contemporary jazz between 1:30--2:30 p.m.

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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.