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15th annual Festival of Art this weekend


by: SPOKESMAN FILE PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Facepainting and other kid-friendly fun will be a big part of the 15th annual Wilsonville Festival of Art, set this year for May 31 and June 1 in Town Center Park. The arts community in Wilsonville has been struggling to find a solid way forward in recent years. So the timing could not be better for the 2014 Wilsonville Festival of Arts, the city’s annual showcase of artists and their creativity.

Organized and run by the Wilsonville Arts and Culture Council, it is a two-day display of painting, music, the printed word, photography, sculpture and a whole lot more. From the historic nonfiction of Pulitzer Prize winning former reporter Gregory Nokes to the metal sculptures of Wilsonville artist Jesse Swickard, the Festival of Arts is intended to shake you out of your day-to-day routine and thrust you deep into a world of color and sound.

This year’s event will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 31 and June 1, in Wilsonville’s Town Center Park. There is no admission fee, and the entire event is open to the public. So bring the family for a blizzard of entertainment and perhaps even enlightenment.

“I think it’s going to be a big event,” said Kit Whittaker, a longtime Festival volunteer who helps organize the author section of the event. “I’m pretty much focused on the author part of it now, that’s my little chunk. This year we’ve got a great lineup; Greg Nokes is going to be back, and Paul Gerald is going to be here again.”

by: SPOKESMAN FILE PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Author Gregory Nokes, standing, is among a distinguished group of writers who will appear at the Wilsonville Festival of Art May 31 and June 1. When you throw in the art, children’s activities, music on the main stage and more, it’s still going to be the same familiar event that Wilsonville residents have grown to love. Only now, Whittaker added, an infusion of new behind-the-scenes volunteers have helped bring new energy to the entire Wilsonville Arts and Culture Council, the nonprofit responsible for putting on the event.

“They are just on top of it,” she said. “They’re finding and putting together new ways to communicate even though we’re going with the same tried and true formula that’s worked for us for 15 years now.”

Highlights and attractions

Like always, there will be juried artists selling their work, including entries in the festival art show. And, as mentioned, award-winning authors will be discussing their work and selling books, while the main stage will host music, dance and theatrical acts over the course of the two-day event.

On both Saturday and Sunday, the entertainment will start at 10:30 a.m. with demonstrations by the Steal the Sun Tai Chi group. On Saturday, this will be followed at noon by music from the I-5 Connection music group, while on Sunday the noon slot will be taken up by Contra Swings, a duo featuring fiddler Jennifer Sordyl and jazz guitarist Don Berg. The Saturday 1 p.m. slot will see the Wilsonville Theater Company, while on Sunday, eclectic band Bug Toast will take up that position in the schedule.

On Saturday, Wilsonvill High School’s award-winning a cappella group Soul’d Out will perform at 1:40 p.m., followed at 2 p.m. by Oregon’s New History Minstrels, who will re-enact scenes featuring Wilsonville area pioneers Alfonso and Jesse Boones, from whom the well travelled Boones Ferry Road takes its name. The final performance on Saturday will be at 3 p.m. and will feature He Said, She Said, a Portland jazz group featuring pianist Darrell Grant and a quintet of vocalists featuring Jeff Baker and Marilyn Keller.

by: SPOKESMAN FILE PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Naomi LaViolette will perform on the main stage at this years Wilsonville Festival of Art. On Sunday at 3:15 p.m. the Main Stage will see the Stomptowners perform their Celtic dance routines, with vocalist and pianist Naomi LaViolette rounding out the day at 4 p.m. with a set of her folk-tinged pop tunes.

When it comes to the written word, two of the more interesting authors who will be setting up a booth for the weekend include Chad Fister and his fledgling publishing firm Trisef Books and Carolena Torres.

Fister writes young adult fiction that leans toward the adventurous.

“It’s a little bit spooky,” Whittaker said. “But he’s just a young, very vigorous interesting guy.”

Torres, for her part, writes about women and the romantic conundrums they find themselves wrapped up in.

“She spends a lot of time in Mexico and writes about Mexico,” Whittaker said, noting that both authors also plan to make an appearance June 5 at a special arts event at Wilsonville’s Trudy’s Living Room furniture store. “They might be a good yin and yang.”

More mechanically, the World of Speed auto museum will have a race car on display, while there will be enough food from various vendors to feed an army.

by: SPOKESMAN FILE PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The student art pavilion will once again feature the work of Wilsonville High School students. At the same time, event organizer Theonie Gilmore said that volunteers still are urgently needed for the day of the event. For more information on how to volunteer, or on the event itself, visit http://wilsonvillearts.org.

by: SPOKESMAN FILE PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Did we say kids are a big part of the Festival of Art? Well, well say it again: there will be plenty to do for the youngest members of your family May 31 and June 1 at Town Center Park.

By Josh Kulla
Assistant Editor / Photographer
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