Are you ready for a small-town festival that will knock your socks off? Look no further than a short drive to Kane, PA for the 11th annual Art in the Wilds juried fine arts show. Taking place June 24-25, Art in the Wilds boasts a spectacular array of over 35 fine art vendors, a student art show, live artist demonstrations, music, and food!
“It feels fantastic, and a bit unbelievable to be in our 11th year,” said Julie Cleland, President of Art in the Wilds. “Our show differs from the rest due to our beautiful venue, the genuine hospitality of our volunteers, and of course, the great art and great food!”
Located in the heart of Kane’s stunning Evergreen Park, admission and parking for the event are free. The venue lends an ideal setting to browse and purchase a variety of art - from acrylic, oil, and watercolor painting, to drawing, pastels, woodturning and woodworking, to jewelry, photography, ceramics, glass, fiber arts, leather, metal sculpture and more.
In order to ensure only the highest-quality art to the show, all vendors must participate in a jurying process. Those interested apply almost a year in advance, sending samples and photos of the work and booth presentations. The art is then juried and selected by a panel of experts based on overall impact, originality, presentation, design, and a mastering of their chosen technique.
Marilyn Blackmore, Executive Director of Art in the Wilds, continues to be amazed year-by-year at the quality of art they receive for the jurying process. “With five new artists, it’s tough to determine who I’m most excited to see!” said Blackmore. “This year, I think I’m excited to see Juliane Gorman from Gibsonia, PA, who will be demonstrating at her booth, and showing us how she makes whimsical felted hats.”
She continued, “Dawn Johnson, who is a native of Kane but living in Monroeville, surprised us this year by completely changing her media from jewelry to ink on synthetic paper. Her photos look awesome; can’t wait to see her new pieces.”
With that being said, let’s learn a little more about Gorman, Johnson, and a few other new artists who will be appearing at this year’s show …
Energized by the natural world, fairy tales, and fine art, Gorman creates wearable art pieces inspired by ice caverns, flying birds, and Gustav Klimt’s paintings. Yet, she strives to make hats that are useful, comfortable, and flattering for the wearer. In her own words, wool is lightweight, water-resistant, and insulating - truly a magical fiber!
“I lay four layers of Merino wool fiber uniformly in a shingle pattern around a flexible resist,” she explained. “Each layer is laid perpendicular to the proceeding one. To add luminosity, I use a different color of wool for each layer. Textural interest of contrasting material, such a silk fibers and fabrics, are placed on the outer layer.”
Interestingly, Gorman then moistens the fibers with soapy water and rubs until a ‘skin’ forms. She then hand-rolls it between bubble wrap, which causes the fibers to intermingle. Then, she kneads and massages the fibers until they shrink 30-45%. The resist is removed and the cut edges are rubbed with soap. A hat is measured for size, and further felted or stretched as needed. The soapy water is rinsed out, and the felt is shaped upon a wooden hat block. Gorman then decorates each hat and sews millinery ribbon inside to give it a professional finish.
Painting, Ink and Watercolor
Dawn Johnson surprised the jurying board this year by changing her media from jewelry to ink on synthetic paper. The inks are applied using both traditional and non-traditional methods and tools.
“My creative process is about expressing my soul, my emotions, and my interaction with the world around me,” she said.
Her paintings are created intuitively, responding to the work as it develops. What emerges is highly personal, yet recognizable to others. Johnson continued, “My works are spontaneous, impassioned, vibrant paintings that reach out and hug your soul.” Much of her inspiration comes from nature and life experiences.
“When you engage with my art, it is my hope that you will be overcome with feelings of joy and well-being, and be reminded that beauty and joy can be found everywhere, no matter the circumstance,” said Johnson. “I work with inks, watercolor, and acrylics on traditional and non-traditional art papers to produce 2D mixed media paintings.”
Hailing out of Rimersburg, PA, Horner has been working with wood since he graduated from Union High School in 1979. He exclaimed, “Over the next 20 years, I grew in my knowledge and passion for woodworking, and soon had mastered every machine in the shop at my furniture job.”
After a 12 year hiatus from carpentry, Horner bought a small lathe to revive his woodworking passions. After a rather hefty investment and time, he was set to create. “Little did I know this would become an addicting hobby that would get me through some tough times ahead,” he said.
Horner hand selects domestic or exotic woods, colored resins, ebonite and items cast in resins to turn and shape for the bodies of his work, so each individual piece will be one-of-a-kind. The bodies are turned to size, then sanded. After sanding, a six-step finish is applied, followed by a nine-step sanding and polishing process after curing.
“I use metal plating of 22k and titanium gold, rhodium, and platinum. All the metal components are pressed in, the pen is inspected, then ready for sale,” Horner said.
In addition to new artists, Art in the Wilds proudly hosts a Student Art Show within the Art in the Wilds show. The exhibition and competition features high school students from Kane, Oswayo Valley, Bradford, Port Allegany, Ridgway, and Sheffield. These schools represent McKean, Elk, Potter, and Warren Counties. “I’ve heard there’s something special happening with the children this year, something exciting,” hinted Blackmore.
Surprisingly, of the other “hot spots” of the show continues to be the locally-famous hospitality tent. According to Ruth Gentleman Peterson, Board Member and former Director of the Student Art Show, you can pick up a schedule of show events, list of demonstrations, and receive fabulous advice regarding local restaurants, lodging, and other events in the region.
Art in the Wilds is funded by grants from the Kane Community Development Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and by vital local donations and sponsors. Major sponsorship contributions include those from UPMC Kane, Zook Motors Inc., Collins Pine Division of Kane Hardwood, Kane Rotary Club, Northwest Bank, Zippo Manufacturing Co., and other corporate and individual donations.
In the Beginning: Before the initial Art in the Wilds seed was planted, Blackmore knew that there were several very talented artists in the small town of Kane, PA, population 4,000, and began to organize them. She started her journey by hosting a Celebration of Arts in the local elementary school, and moved to an Artisan Market.
The community began to appreciate and buy art. When Judge John Cleland suggested an art event with the name Art in the Wilds during the summer of 2006, Blackmore knew what that would become: an outdoor, juried fine arts show in the beautiful park in the center of town. Art in the Wilds began the year following, with a simple goal of giving the artists a venue for selling their art, providing a family-friendly yearly event, and bringing people to the area, whereby providing local economic development.
Evergreen Park is located on Route 66 in Kane, PA, between Chestnut and Birch Streets. Doors open daily June 24 and 25, 10am-5pm. Parking and admission are free. Please remember, although we love our furry, four-legged friends, dogs and other pets are not permitted at the show. For more information, please visit artinthewilds.org or facebook.com/artinthewilds. For tourism and travel information, please visit visitANF.com or kanepa.com.