West Linn artist celebrates her year as arts festival poster child

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Jan Rimerman still has a big smile after another strenuous weekend as curator of the open show at the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts.The secret of Jan Rimerman’s success may be that she keeps smiling when she feels like dropping from exhaustion.

That was Rimerman out there again at the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts this past weekend, wearing her red curator togs, pointing here, pointing there, giving encouragement, giving orders, answering questions from all kinds of people every 10 seconds, greeting countless artists and old friends, instructing her 75 red-shirted volunteers, doing a dash of public speaking here and there.

Before this marathon of activity, Rimerman had to hang 1,280 pieces of art in 58 hours so “it will look beautiful, not like a garage sale.”

How does she still do it after 22 years? Rimerman gives out a long sigh, then laughs. Her answer: She loves the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts.

“I have seen so many artists grow and change over the years,” Rimerman said. “It’s like a festival family. I love meeting other artists and sharing great art with the world.”

This year’s 50th anniversary of the festival was important for Rimerman, who has been such a big factor in its growth and success. But 2013 was also the 25th anniversary of Rimerman’s winning poster for the 1988 LOFOA. It was a key event in her career as an artist.

Using colored pencils, she worked “day and night, day and night, day and night” to get her piece ready, applying layer and layer of color. She breathlessly turned it in to the festival judges at the last possible minute. Then she discovered something.

“Every other piece was matted, framed and perfect,” Rimerman said. “I used two pieces of masking tape to hang my work.”

However, Rimerman’s work was spectacular, and it was chosen to serve as promotional poster for the 1988 LOFOA.

“I was a young artist then, and that meant so much to me,” Rimerman said.

Her prize-winning poster, which was on sale this past weekend, was a big boost in the career of the young artist, and she has filled in the last quarter century with her own art and promoting the work of others, especially young artists. For the past 11 years she has operated Neptune Studios in West Linn.

Rimerman and company came through with another great performance in 2013. This year’s open show had more than 100 paintings reflecting the culinary theme of the festival, an herb garden and more demonstrators than ever. As always, she did not know until Father’s Day what art she would have to work with and still came up with a cohesive exhibition.

Jan Rimerman may not be Super Woman, but she comes close. In this perfect storm of activity she took time to reflect on the festival and art in general, the things that worry her and the things that encourage her.

“The thing that really concerns me is that in arts organizations there are mostly older people in leadership,” Rimerman said. “A newer generation is not joining.” Also, “Art is such an expensive venture. You have to have a creative idea, use your own material and frame it. It costs $3,000 to buy a booth. We might be losing a young generation of artists.”

On the other hand, Rimerman also sees art moving in many positive directions.

“In the last two years people have been responding to art and buying art a lot more,” she said. “It is nice to see this renaissance. Art is essential to breathe and live.”

It is hard to imagine, but Rimerman said there will finally be a year when she is not curator of the LOFOA open show. There are so many projects that call for her involvement, such as directing the art portion of Lake Oswego Reads. She will still be a major force for art in West Linn and Lake Oswego.

However, now that she is finally getting a chance to rest, the former poster girl can do some fond reflection on 2013.

“This has been a very special year,” Rimerman said.

For more about Jan Rimerman and Neptune Studios, go to .

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