Fall into fine creativity at Troutdale arts festival
If You Go
What: Fifth annual Troutdale Fall Festival of the Arts
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22
Where: Glenn Otto Community Park, 1102 E. Historic Columbia River Highway.
Offerings: Works by 60 artists, local authors, a silent auction, Kids' Art Zone, and food, wine and craft beer for sale.
Featured artist: Donna Erwin, owner of Columbia River Gallery
For most of those who live in and visit Troutdale, it's something of a given that the area lends itself to beautiful and adventurous artistry.
The small city's position at the convergence of the Sandy and Columbia Rivers, its dramatic topography and scenery, and longtime presence of vibrant artists, such as world-renowned sculptor Rip Caswell, combine to make the "Gateway to the Gorge" an unassuming yet undeniable source of creativity.
For the past four years, that growing reputation has been celebrated with the two-day Fall Festival of the Arts. This year's fifth annual event, which spotlights 60 juried fine artists, including Artist of the Year Donna Erwin, takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 22, at Glenn Otto Community Park, 1106 E. Historic Columbia River Highway, Troutdale.
In addition to a bevy of art for display and sale, the free festival features talks and demonstrations by Pacific Northwest sculptors and authors, a community "art trout project," kids' arts zone, live music by Steve Hale, Eric Johnson, Julie McCarl Trio, Dale Miller and Swingali, along with food, local wine and craft beer.
A portion of proceeds from art, food and drink sales go to the Alzheimer's Association.
Amy Machesic, special events manager for the West Columbia Chamber of Commerce, the event's lead sponsor, finds no shortage of reasons for anyone nearby to devote at least part of their weekend to the Troutdale festival.
"First of all, we're right at the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge, one of the most beautiful areas of Oregon," she said. "We have a great silent auction happening, a large number of artists and Northwest authors, along with food, beer and wine all made in our area."
A Troutdale resident for almost seven years, Machesic has noted the overall growth in the city, including an ever-expanding artistic community.
"A lot of people you run into are creative types who put passion into making things, selling them and being part of the community," she said. "Having events like this provides a great outlet for artists as a place to come together, network and be around people who love what they do."
Donna Erwin, the festival's Artist of the Year, has made an indelible mark on the community for more than 20 years with her highly successful Columbia River Gallery at 303 E. Columbia River Highway.
"I've known Donna for years," Machesic noted. "Her artistic talent comes out in everything she does. She is an internationally awarded framer who really elevates all the works that come to her … Her design skills elevate her to a level of importance and recognition that is well deserved."
Erwin's extensive community involvement includes coordinating Troutdale's monthly First Friday Art Walks and applying her framing wizardry to creations by those coping with Alzheimer's disease for the Alzheimer's Association's "Memories in the Making" gala auctions.
"Many of us have been touched by dementia or Alzheimer's," Machesic said, "and while it is hard to adjust and cope with the changing reality, support is available and access to art and music programs are so beneficial to everyone involved. It seemed like a perfect fit."
Now entering the home stretch before the festival, Machesic is confident all entities will pull off another winning event for all to enjoy.
"We wouldn't be able to put on this event without our supportive sponsors and hard-working volunteers and participation by the city of Troutdale, which is very supportive of the event," she said. "They do a great job of keeping the city beautiful and our parks pristine."
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