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Spoon supplies golden taste for FOTA

50th anniversary of festival sees outpouring of more than 22,000 art fans


by: REVIEW PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE - Giants fan Mattew Edelen admires the necklace he made at the Oregon Preschool Kids Day activity on Friday at George Rogers Park.It was the 50th anniversary of the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts, and a golden time was had by all.

There were 22,000 people who flowed into Lake Oswego over the past weekend, gathering at Lakewood Center for the Arts, George Rogers Park and Marylhurst University to enjoy the good weather, good food and glorious art. Artists made out well, too, selling more than 150 pieces of artwork. It was an event that made Andrew Edwards very happy. Liane Lawrence, left, and Darlene Thompson find a bronze sculpture by Ann Fleming that they really like at Art in the Park.

“It was a great celebration,” said Edwards, director of the Lakewood Center for the Arts and a major contributor to the FOA since the 1970s. “Everyone supported this great opportunity to engage with the arts. We really appreciate our restaurants, businesses and many patrons. We had visitors from all of the western states.”

The festival was blessed by many outstanding artists, including the Gold Exhibit, which included FOA winners from decades past.

A true highlight of the golden celebration was Spoon: Culinary Inspired Art. It continued the festival’s knack for selecting an unusual theme for its special exhibit and later having people say, “What a great idea!”

The 2013 FOA steering committee outdid itself for its golden anniversary with Spoon. The exhibit gave its patrons a new appreciation for food and a new appreciation for art. The work could be as simple as a painting of a New York steak (a big favorite of grill cooks in the audience) and a saucer piled with three gaudily decorated doughnuts. Or it might be the sculpture of a teapot that made you think you were in another dimension.

For this show that left people hungry for more art, you could thank Marabee Bertelsen and her four partners on the Spoon committee, Susan Bitzer, Marilyn Davis, Taissa Achar-Winkels and Lori Goldstein. As soon as the 2012 FOA ended, the five women began working to assure that the special exhibit for 2013 would be a smashing success. Having a culinary theme for the special exhibit was unknown territory, since Bertelsen said she knows of no other exhibition like it. The Missoula Childrens Theatre gave a wonderful performance of The Tortoise Versus the Hare. Here, Mikki Littler plays a bearded dragon.

“All year long we went to shows and searched on the Internet to find artists that would be interested in our theme,” Bertelsen said. “Most of the artists represented here are from Oregon.”

The five women designed five unique vignettes to showcase the art — lounge bar, fantasy dining room, tea garden, industrial kitchen and swank and sophisticated club. If people got too warm in the fire-themed vignette they could immediately go to the ice-themed vignette and cool off. There was also a art history-themed table set up by Goldstein, which told a lot in a small space. There was even a Campbell’s Vegetarian Alphabet Soup can painting by Andy Warhol.

From a painting of a little red rooster to an edgy sculpture of kitchen tools, Spoon covered the gamut of the relationships Stimulus Package gets the crowd stimulated with its rocking performance on the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde park stage on Friday evening.between art and food.

Hilde Morin was one of the artists who made the exhibit happen. Originally from Venezuela, Morin, who lives just outside of Lake Oswego, has spent the last 26 years in the U.S. She is an example of how the steering committee was able to find just the right artists for the exhibit.

“I asked them, ‘How did you find me?’” Morin said.

But find her they did, and the committee was glad when they saw the incredibly beautiful fiber bowls she made. Morin used pieces of fabric and “stitched the heck out of them.” One bowl was themed “Blood Orange Marmalade,” a true extravaganza of color. But another bowl was even more fascinating because it shows a street in Small Town America.

In addition, Spoon had no bigger fan than Morin.

“I’ve looked around 20 times,” she said. “Every time I find something new.”

Beth Sauter is a hometown Lake Oswego artist who lives in a picturesque house in a picturesque neighborhood. She was thrilled with the culinary theme of the 50th FOA, and her work promoted this theme in a vivid way. It was Sauter who painted the portrait of the three doughnuts. Even more impressive was her painting of a hosta plant. Sauter’s painting looked even better than the genuine hosta that was placed right next to it.

Possibly the most appropriate artwork of the entire exhibit was the dinner gong, which served as both a great piece of art and a genuine dinner gong.

“What a special way to celebrate our 50th anniversary,” said Joan Sappington, an institution at the festival for 40 years. “We had very, very many comments from people who really appreciated our diversity. People were tremendously positive. This was one of the most complicated presentations we’ve ever made.” Baylor Boe, age 2, does some pretend driving in an Audi displayed by festival sponsor Audi of Wilsonville.

The FOA will now take some time for basking in the success of the 2013 event and thank some of the people who made it possible.

“We had such a high caliber of contributors,” Edwards said. “There were the Confederate Tribes of Grande Ronde, Audi of Wilsonville, the city of Lake Oswego and Key Bank. We couldn’t have done it without them.

“It costs around $280,000 to stage this festival, so all the support we get is crucial. Everything goes to the bottom line.”

One distinguished aspect of the golden anniversary is that it gave out awards in the names of two women, Sappington and Dee Denton, who have been instrumental in the festival’s success.

The day after the 2013 FOA closed, work began to put on the 51st edition of the festival in 2014.Tom Griffith checks out the 'Spoon: Culinary Inspired Art' special exhibit at the Lakewood Center.




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