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A feast for the eyes, mind and soul

Lake Oswego's Festival of the Arts will fill George Rogers Park and Lakewood Center with art, music, dancing and more


by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Hannah Slauson, a senior at Lakeridge High School, hangs a painting for the elementary school exhibit. Slauson has been helping at the exhibit since she was 11 years old.

How do you top a Golden Anniversary?

For organizers of the 2014 Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts, the answer is simple: You gather artists, dancers and musicians in a stunning location, and you prepare a bountiful feast for the eye, mind and soul.

That’s what awaits visitors this weekend, when the 51st-annual festival fills George Rogers Park and the Lakewood Center for the Arts. The festival is open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, although donations to support the festival will be accepted.

Last year’s festival was a true milestone; Golden anniversaries are pretty rare, after all. But this year’s event promises to be special, too, with highlights that include:

n “Fire & Water — Contrasts in Expression,” a gallery exhibit of two- and three-dimensional work that invites viewers to compare and contrast art made from — and inspired by — fire and water;

n “Tiny Vision,” a juried exhibit of 82 works of art that are smaller than 18 inches by 18 inches;

n The largest Open Show in the Pacific Northwest, featuring more than 1,000 pieces of art; and

n “A Chronicle of Lake Oswego,” the festival’s first plein air exhibit, which promises to shine a new light on Lake Oswego’s landscapes and landmarks.

“We do look for change,” said Susan Bitzer, who’s in charge of all of the exhibits. “We want the public to see new things every year.”

To help make that change happen, the festival has named Bea Ogden its first new curator of the Open Show in more than 20 years. Jan Rimerman has stepped down from the position, and Ogden, who served as Rimerman’s intern in 2013, says she’s looking forward to the challenge.

“With the Open Show, there are so many quirks and variables that go on under that tent,” said Ogden, who will soon receive her master’s degree in art from the University of Oregon. “And this show attracts 20,000 people a year!”

Ogden is a member of Cloudbreak, a curating group that specializes in presenting “unexpected art in unexpected places.” She wants to provide a taste of Cloudbreak at the Lake Oswego show.

“I want to create a sense of intimacy with art, with lots of mini galleries inside a massive gallery,” Ogden said. “We want to create an immense art experience where people can get lost in little spaces.”

Curator Marilyn Davis is also planning to provide new experiences with “Fire & Water,” this year’s special exhibit.

“We want to focus on the dramatic contrasts and comparisons between fire and water,” said Davis. “The exhibit is set up to emphasize the contrasts. One section evokes fire, color and texture. The next section shows water, and the sections alternate back and forth.”

For the “Chronicle of Lake Oswego” exhibit, arts council program manager Lori Goldstein has assembled some of the most outstanding plein air painters in the Northwest and given them a fascinating theme with a hometown feel. For two days in May, the artists were asked to paint scenes of Lake Oswego, and Goldstein is thrilled with the results.

“This is the first time the arts council has had a plein air (open air) exhibit,” Goldstein said. “People saw these artists back in May working on their paintings, and now they can see what the results look like. They can see how to go from a blank canvas to a masterpiece. Through rain, sun and wind, these artists found a unique way to illuminate what Lake Oswego has to offer.”

Young artists have a lot to offer, too, and there’ll be plenty of youthful creativity on display at the festival this weekend. Katie Urb-Brink and Debra Owen, art teachers at Lake Oswego High School and Lake Oswego Junior High School, have assembled the work of artists from kindergarten through high school.

“I love to see how fun and fulfilling it is when kids get to see their art on display,” Urb-Brink said. “I love to see their big grins.”

Still, just being a kid wasn’t enough to have a painting placed on display. “There are only 25 kids out of the hundreds I taught whose work will be on display,” Owen said. “So it’s a big honor for them to have their paintings here.”

On Saturday afternoon, student artists will be honored with a catered reception at the Lakewood Center. Throughout the weekend, “Kids Get Creative” activities will range from face painting to hands-on sculpting with clay. There will be art demonstrations for adults, too, as well as dancing, live music and theater performances by the Missoula Children’s Theatre.

Artists’ booths will fill George Rogers Park, and there will be plenty of dining options — from fine cuisine to hot dogs and hamburgers — at both the park and the Lakewood Center.

For more information and complete schedules, go to lakewood-center.org.




Local Weather

Light Rain

54°F

Lake Oswego

Light Rain

Humidity: 90%

Wind: 14 mph

  • 27 Nov 2014

    Rain 55°F 52°F

  • 28 Nov 2014

    Rain 53°F 37°F