Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts revamped


screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-10-02-12-amJOSEPH — A full-blown arts festival is going to start today, courtesy of the Wallowa Valley Arts Council.

The Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts is celebrating its 34th year — but it’s going to look a bit different than years past.

According to Jeff Costello, director for the WVFA, the arts council had a discussion last year about how the usual event had resembled a single show instead of a festival.

Joseph is known for its art district — it was named Oregon’s first city-wide Arts and Cultural District in 2014, he said. It has many things to offer to the art enthusiasts in the area, so why not expand it?

“We said, ‘Why don’t we look around and bring in other aspects and make it a bonafide festival?’” Costello said.

With that in mind, the council brought different avenues of art expression to the area — and most of the events are free to the public.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-10-02-22-amBeginning today, a showing of the 2015 Ruby Peak Film Festival winners will be at the Josephy Center. Ruby Peak is a festival that gives filmmakers 48 hours to produce a short film. The WVFA will be showing the previous year’s winners and other submitted work over three days of the festival, Costello said.

The En Plein Air Competition, to be held on Sept. 15 at the Josephy Center, will bring more than 20 artists to the area to paint in the “natural environment” over the course of two days.

“I think the artists have wanted to do this all along,” Costello said. “The time of the year with the autumn leaves, this gives the artists a beautiful scene to capture for the artists.”

The artists’ work, once finished, matted and framed, will be on sale for the public to purchase.

That event, beginning at 3 p.m., will also be the kickoff to the Joseph Gallery Walk
beginning at 4 p.m.

Costello said all the art galleries in Joseph will be opening their doors for everyone to enjoy the art.

On Sept. 16, the “anchor of the festival” will take place at the Opening Night Artists’ Reception from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Joseph Community Center. Cost is $20 in advance, or $25 at the door. The event is fully catered with hors d’oeuvres and wine.

“Artists from all over the United States (and) around 200 pieces of art will be on display and on sale in the community center,” Costello said.

He said the month of September is really the “fifth season” for Wallowa County.

“We’re really trying to use this Festival of Arts to highlight and celebrate the different aspects that make this valley so rich in the arts,” he said. “To tap into the artists. It’s the season of art.”

The art galleries generally notice an uptick in their revenues during the month of September, he said.

On Sept. 17, the Quick Draw event will cost $5 at the door and will be fully catered.

Costello said 15 to 20 artists who are participating in the arts festival will set up their display and have 90 minutes to create a piece.

Those in attendance watching the artist create their artwork will be able to bid on the piece while it is still being conceived.

The raffle for the Autumnal Equinox piece by artists Tom Clevenger will be held Saturday night, as well.

For tickets, a full schedule and more details, go to www.wallowa valleyarts.org.

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