The Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts is keeping up with its innovative tradition by offering several new twists for this year’s event. The festival takes place in Joseph Sept. 13-16.
Jeff Costello, the festival’s director, said one of the changes is its location within Joseph. The festival formerly took place at the Joseph Community Center but is now located at both the Josephy Center and the Mt. Joseph Lodge, across the street.
“The community center was a wonderful venue to do this,” Costello said. “The council just felt that the relationship it has with the Josephy Center is growing into another strong asset for the arts community in general. With the strong community support behind the Josephy Center, it seemed a pragmatic move.”
The “En Plein Air” competition also will see some changes. The competition begins Wednesday, Sept. 12, and extends into the afternoon of the following day. The 3 p.m. “quick finish” takes place at the Wallowa Lake Lodge and is the kickoff for the Joseph Galleries Art Walk.
Costello said that the manicured grounds of the lodge should be particularly conducive to the “Quick Draw” competition, also a festival favorite, and changed from an evening to an afternoon event.
“As the night goes on, these artists have essentially 90 minutes to create a piece of art,” Costello said. “As it’s developing before people’s eyes, they start bidding on the pieces in a silent auction. It gets pretty intense during the last 30 minutes or so.”
He added that the band Homemade Jam will play during the Quick Draw and other musicians are scheduled to play throughout the festival, culminating in a Sunday classical music concert at 4 p.m. at Josephy Center.
According to Costello, the art show features work from 69 artists with about 130 pieces hung at the festival, not including the Quick Draw or En Plein Air pieces. Artists will also get the chance to leave unsold art hanging at the Josephy Center until the end of the month.
The majority of juried art will hang at the Josephy Center. The popular opening reception, Friday, Sept. 14, takes place at the Josephy Center and features the hand-painted wine glasses, regional wine and a catered meal.
Joseph artist Tom Clevenger has donated one of his segmented-wood bowls for raffle, the proceeds will go to benefit the Youth Arts Program at the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture, as well as the purchase of a new state-of-the-art movie screen at the OK Theatre.
Raffle tickets can be purchased in person, at the Josephy Center, online at josephy.org or wallowavalleyarts.org, or at all special events at the OK Theatre.
“All in all, these changes are not what I’d consider significant jumps, but combined, we hope that all of these changes will create a thrust of energy for the festival for the next 36 years,” Costello said.
Tickets for the Friday Evening Opening Reception for the Festival of Arts can be purchased in advance online at wallowavalleyarts.org or in person at BeeCrowBee in Joseph, The Bookloft in Enterprise or the Josephy Center. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.