Acts Of Creation
This year's Carmel Art Festival offers art lovers a chance to learn about the artistic process from the artists themselves.
Thursday, May 17, 2001
Grand traditions call for grand celebrations. This Thursday-Sunday''s 8th annual Carmel Art Festival promises to be the grandest of all with new special events added to the host of art-related activities that pay tribute to Carmel''s enduring artistic legacy.
In addition to the featured Plein Air Competition, Silent and Live Auction, Sculpture in the Park, and Youth Art Show, Carmel Art Festival 2001 will premier Sculpture Withindoors, hosted by the Digital Giraffe Gallery, and "Make Art" (Saturday 10am-2pm) a free day of art-making activities for children held at the All Saints Recreational Hall.
According to festival coordinator Marie Wainscoat, what makes the Carmel Art Festival such a unique event is the opportunity it provides art lovers to learn about and experience the creative process directly from the artists themselves. "Artists aren''t honored here like they are in Europe, and it''s that ''interactive'' part of the festival I enjoy most," says Wainscoat. "The public has a chance to be introduced to artists, to see and appreciate what an artist is and how art for an artist is a necessity and a passion that has to be fulfilled."
It is during the two-day Plein Air Competition that art lovers will have the best opportunity to watch artists at work as they try to capture the special beauty of the Central Coast. What makes this such a special event, says Wainscoat, is both the challenge artists face in trying to bring a fresh artistic perspective to our familiar landscape, and the chance for local residents to find a new appreciation for the beauty of their local communities.
"It''s exciting to have artists doing different interpretations of the Peninsula, to see what each artist sees in a particular scene," says Wainscoat. "The artists look for unique locations and scenes never captured before, and there is a lot of competition with artists having to complete a painting in one day while dealing with elements and changes in light. It''s quite a challenge. If you have the opportunity to go watch an artist paint, and then see the painting framed, it''s very exciting."
Collectors and first-time buyers can bid on approximately 150 plein air paintings by both emerging and established artists during the festival''s silent auction Saturday (10am-8pm) and Sunday (10am-1pm). The live auction begins at 1pm on Sunday. All auctioning takes place at the Carmel Art Association.
As in years past, the Plein Air Competition and follow-up auctions of the artists'' paintings are the major fundraising vehicles for the festival, which last year raised approximately $10,000 for the Carmel Youth Center and its art programs. More than 75 artists will be competing for $20,000 in prize money in this year''s competition, with proceeds once again going to Youth Center art programs and the Cultural Council for Monterey County''s Professional Artists in the Schools Program. Proceeds from sales of this year''s Carmel Art Festival 2001 Poster, a beautiful aerial viewscape of Monterey by E. Charlton Fortune (pictured here), also will be donated.
"We''re very excited about the Artists in the Schools program, with funding going to all schools in the county that don''t have money to bring the program into their classrooms," says Wainscoat.
Taking Art Home
Wainscoat is also excited about the festival debut of Saturday''s Make Art event as a way to promote the arts and creativity for families and children. Five art stations will be set up and run by professional artists with such art activities as print- and puppet-making, cartooning, found-art sculpture and paper airplane creation. There will also be a table set up with crayons and paper cutting activities for pre-schoolers.
"This is a real family activity that allows the children to take their art home," says Wainscoat.
Also new to this year''s festival is the Sculpture Withindoors exhibition, the brainchild of artist Corinne Whitaker of the Digital Giraffe Gallery. Whitaker, who creates sculpture and painting using a computer, promoted the idea of another sculpture show in addition to the outdoor show at Devendorf Park to expand the festival''s reach.
"What I was trying to do," explains Whitaker, "was create an event that would bring a larger group of galleries to the festival, to have an event south of Ocean Avenue that included more of Carmel and the village in the festival and create an opportunity for more artists to be involved."
Curated by local galleries, Sculpture Withindoors will feature approximately 24 small to mid-size sculptures in a full range of media like bronze, glass, stone, marble and acrylic. According to Whitaker, the pieces run the gamut from traditional to contemporary, abstract to figurative. Friday''s opening night reception (6-8pm) will feature remarks by Art & Antiques Editor-in-Chief Barbara Tapp. The exhibit will also be on view throughout the festival from 10am-6pm each day.
In addition to the festival''s featured events, art lovers will have a chance to attend numerous artist receptions and demonstrations hosted by Carmel''s many art galleries. The James J. Resier Fine Art Gallery will show new work by past festival award winners Michael Obermeyer and Edward Norton Ward. Obermeyer will conduct a painting demonstration at the gallery on Sunday from 10am-noon.
Other galleries with special openings timed to the arts festival include the Howard Portnoy Gallery (landscapes and Carmel scenes by local artist William Hook), the Chris Winfield Gallery (works by California sculptors Jack Zajac, Gwynn Murrill, Dan Corbin and Clayton Thiel), Pitzer''s of Carmel (Plein Air Splendor Group Show), and the Galerie Plein Air (a reception Saturday from 11am-4:30pm for contemporary Monterey Peninsula Plein Air artists).
Not to be overlooked are Monterey County''s young artists, who are showing at the festival''s Youth Art Show competition. Works by more than 100 preschool through high school artists can be seen from noon-3pm at the Carmel Youth Center.
A festival favorite, the Sculpture in the Park show at Devendorf Park will be open throughout the festival. The park will also have an information booth with a schedule of events, posters for sale and volunteers on hand to answer questions.
Wainscoat anticipates greater numbers of art lovers to attend this year''s festival than the estimated 10,000 who attended last year, due in part to national media sponsorship of the festival by Art & Antiques magazine, which will hand out an emerging artist cash award during the festival and feature the selected artist''s work in a future issue of the magazine.
"The festival draws collectors from all over the country who come to meet and buy work from specific artists," says Wainscoat. "The festival provides an opportunity to get a fine piece of original art by well-known artists for a reasonable amount of money, which is why we have so many collectors who come to the festival."