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'The City of Art'

Lake Oswego's Festival of the Arts celebrates another golden weekend


by: REVIEW PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE - Ben Shoop admires one of the pieces in Fire & Water, the special exhibit at this years Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts.  Andrew Edwards was in a rollicking good mood on Monday morning.

After three days of beautiful weather and beautiful art, the executive director of the Lakewood Center for the Arts was ready to declare the 51st annual Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts a huge success — and he had the numbers to back up that claim.

“We had 20,000 people in attendance,” Edwards said. “There were 175 pieces sold, 505 artists and 1,500 pieces of art on display. We had 350 artists in our open show, which is one of the largest open shows on the West Coast. The predominant feeling expressed to me was that we had a high caliber of art and great diversity. It was a great way to observe our 51st year.

“Lake Oswego," he said, "is becoming known as the City of Art.”

Established artists certainly got their due at the three-day festival, which ended Sunday. But Edwards said the event provided unique opportunities for young artists, too.

“We had educational programs and artist demonstrations,” Edwards said. “This was a creative place for young artists to be. They were able to get their hands dirty, so to speak.”

One of the highlights of the festival was "A Chronicle of Lake Oswego," the event's first-ever plein air (open air) exhibit. For two weekends in May, artists were asked to paint outdoor scenes of the city. They often encountered heavy rain, but that only spurred them on.

“Outdoors, you can see the colors better,” said painter Don Bishop of Bethany. “Outside, you get all the quality of light and magic. You can really capture the light a lot better, and there is a really nice variety of stuff in Lake Oswego, like the lake and Luscher Farm. This is one of the better plein air exhibits I’ve ever seen. It was really top-notch.”

Sylvia Ritchie and Kurt Doctor listen to the music of Quarterflash during Friday nights concert.Portland painter Jennifer Diehl said she experienced the kindness of strangers during her painting days in May, even though she and her paintings were drenched by rain.

“The people of Lake Oswego will forever hold a place in my heart,” Diehl said, “because while I painted down there, I was saved from the heat by a passer-by bringing me frozen yogurt.”

Diehl said Lake Oswego is a visually diverse place to paint. "Within minutes of the quaint downtown area," she said, "you could be within dense parks and farms.”

Diehl’s painting “Foodies,” which showed diners in Lake View Village basking in a rare sun break, won her the exhibit’s top prize — it captured the Best of Show/Purchase Award from the Arts Council of Lake Oswego. Another of her paintings, "On the Go in Lake Oswego," won the council's Board Award.

Lori Goldstein, the arts council's program director, said she could have filled volumes with the compliments she heard about the plein air exhibit.

“People were coming in and falling in love with the paintings,” Goldstein said. “It is exciting when artists create something that creates intimate feelings with their art. They find a way to celebrate why the city is so special. The artists here captured the Oregon glow.”

Speaking of glowing, Edwards is confident that this year’s Festival of the Arts set the stage for even better festivals in the years ahead.

“The reputation of our festival is growing,” he said. “We attract a high caliber of artists. Many people told me this is the only opportunity they have for seeing this variety of artwork in one location.”



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  • 23 Sep 2014

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