Entering in its 13th year, Art in the Wilds, a juried fine art show in Kane, Pennsylvania, has become well-known throughout the region and now, throughout the United States, as a top destination for artists and art lovers. Director Marilyn Blackmore is thrilled to announce that the show was named “one of 11 must-attend shows for artists and craftspeople in the U.S.” in 2018 by Sunshine Artist Magazine, and it’s easy to understand why. Beautifully made jewelry, pottery, glass arts, woodworking, sculpture and other finely crafted works are just some of the items featured each year, along with an exhibition of student artwork from area high schools.
Since 2006, Art in the Wilds has been held during the fourth weekend in June in Evergreen Park in Kane, Pennsylvania. This year’s dates are June 22 and 23 from 10am-5pm on Saturday, and 10am-4pm on Sunday. Both admission and parking are free, and there is a variety of food vendors available for lunch and snacks.
According to Blackmore, the event began as a conversation among like-minded friends who had a dream of making Kane a destination for fine artwork. The name of the event was inspired by the PA Wilds’ designation of the area as part of its 2.1 million acres of public land. PA Wilds integrates conservation and economic development to strengthen its communities, and the show has continued to celebrate this through promoting the work of regional artists in the beautiful setting of Evergreen Park.
Unlike other art and craft shows, participation in Art in the Wilds is not a guarantee; in fact, the process is competitive, as artists must submit their work before a panel of jurors in order to be accepted into the show. Not only does this ensure the high quality of the work, but the process also guarantees an outstanding variety of artwork, mediums, styles and more.
According to Blackmore, artists must submit photographs of recent work as early as a year in advance, and their work is juried on the following criteria: overall impact, originality, presentation, design and mastery of their technique. Additionally, all work must be original creations, made by hand. While many of the artists are from Pennsylvania, some come from neighboring states throughout the mid-Atlantic region, and visitors come from near and far, too, to enjoy the event and the quality of work it exhibits.
Renaissance-themed Animal Portraits
For artist Ellen Paquette, 2019 is her fifth year as an exhibitor at Art in the Wilds. Last year, she was honored with the Best of Show in 2D award, and she is looking forward to another great year. “It’s a wonderful show to be a part of for a variety of reasons,” she said. “The crowd that attends is supportive and interested, and the festival volunteers take such great care of the artists. The beautiful shady park setting is perfect.”
Paquette emphasized that it is an honor just to be selected to participate in the show, let alone win an award, as “it has developed a strong reputation as a successful show and has a very competitive jury process,” she added. This year, her display will include original paintings and limited edition prints of her Renaissance-themed animal portraits. “I’m focusing more on endangered species as time goes on,” Paquette explained. “I make sure I have work available at a variety of price points so there’s something for everyone.”
Paquette is pleased to share that Art in the Wilds will also be the first opportunity for the public to see her newly published book, “The Portfolio of Ivy Brambleblossom,” which features several of the animal portraits. To learn more about Paquette and see samples of her work, visit www.ellenpaquette.com.
Jewelry artist LeAnne Marquis is also looking forward to participating in Art in the Wilds this year. The gemstones used in her jewelry are handpicked for their uniqueness, and many of her latest creations are created using a torch to heat-treat copper to create beautiful colors. “Each piece is designed and handcrafted by me and each one an individual work of wearable art,” Marquis explained.
Marquis, who holds a fine art degree from the University of Hartford, Hartford Art School, has maintained a life-long passion for painting and jewelry. An innovator, she is always experimenting with different techniques, colors and stones to create her unique pieces. For this, she has been recognized throughout the region and the country. Her jewelry has been featured in the juried art publication New Art Review, Rochester Magazine, Syracuse Wedding Magazine and more. Her “firepainted” pieces are a beautiful addition to Art in the Wilds and would make a beautiful addition to one’s jewelry collection. To learn more about Marquis and her work, visit www.marquisjewelry.com.
Pottery Inspired by Dance
Stacie Johnson-Leske is looking forward to a great weekend at Art in the Wilds this year, which is one of several fine arts shows where she exhibits her work. Johnson-Leske, who resides and owns a studio in Ridgway, Pennsylvania, holds a BFA from the North Carolina School of the Arts. In 2002, she received ceramics lessons as a gift from her husband, and ever since has nurtured her interest in the craft and become a well-known potter throughout the region.
Her love of dance actually informs and inspires many of her pieces. “For me, the clay is the body of the dancer,” Johnson-Leske said. She compares the white stoneware that appears delicate to the body of a dancer, which also appears delicate, but has incredible strength. “I am the music as I use the rhythm of the spinning wheel to encourage the clay to compress and stretch into fanciful shapes which, like a prima ballerina, are lightweight yet deceptively strong and durable.” From bowls to plates to platters and custom pieces, Johnson-Leske’s work is a testament to her artistry. In fact, visitors can see her at work in her booth, where she will be creating art throughout the weekend. Learn more at www.yourfiredpottery.com.
Visitors to Art in the Wilds will be treated to the works of many other artists in diverse mediums including wood, ceramics, glass, fiber, metal, photography and more. To learn more about the show and view a listing of 2019 artists, visit www.artinthewilds.org. Artist applications for the 2020 show will be available on the website in January 2020 and due by March 1, 2020.