Tag Archives: National Museum Wildlife Art

Laguna Beach’s Sawdust Art Festival; Rocket Science & Plein Air!

1235327_10201862646150037_273817503_n“All art shows….contribute to our creative sides.”  ~ Tom Klingenmeier, General Manager, Sawdust Art Festival

California Roll.

Thanks to good friends, I was recently lucky enough to visit the city of Laguna Beach, CA . It’s a wonderful arts city, crowded with tourists and locals alike, just as Jackson is during our high summer season. We went to an art fair I’ll never forget: the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival on Laguna Canyon Road. Set against a cliff in a eucalyptus grove, Sawdust is a world unto itself, wildly creative, funky and welcoming. A waterfall splashes off the cliff into a rocky pool.

Sawdust is open two full months during the summer, late June through early September. Participating artists must be from Laguna. Close to 200 artists build their own booths each year. Booths must be constructed of wood frame and roofs, built strictly to code, and they can be as imaginative as artists wish, resulting in a fair that feels like a pop-up fantasy art village. Booth spaces differ in size, so Sawdust artists must scale to fit. Artists are responsible for taking booths down and restoring the three acre grove to its original natural state. Booths come down after Sawdust’s Winter Fantasy Show; a holiday-themed show taking place the last two weekends in November and the first two in December. Offices, meeting rooms, a glass-blowing center and arts education “classrooms” remain up year-round.

A very broad array of price points means there’s affordable art for everyone.

Sawdust blew me away! From the moment I walked in (entry fees for adults are in the $7-$8 range) I wondered how Laguna pulls this fair off; it’s 47 years old. I made a note to contact Sawdust, ask pesky questions about its structure and history, and report to you! Tom Klingenmeier, Sawdust’s general manager sent a generous response. I’ve edited my questions and Tom’s replies for length.


Tammy Christel: How did Laguna Beach galleries initially respond to Sawdust? Was there trepidation? How do galleries feel about Sawdust today?

Tom Klingenmeier:  When we began only about a third of  the galleries Laguna currently has existed, and there was some resentment. Soon, though, gallery owners, hotels and restaurants realized that Sawdust generated over a half-million visitors in a short time. They quickly adapted and embraced the shows. They now rely heavily on the traffic we generate. Some of our galleries collaborate, featuring local artists in Laguna’s three summer festivals. Some artists conduct co-ops, taking turns being in their space to cut down on sales personnel. It also affords the artists more time to share art experiences with visitors, leading to more affordable art and knowledge for the buyer.

TC: How is Sawdust paid for?

TK: We sell tickets, and if you saw all three shows you had the chance to buy our “Passport to the Arts” ticket for all those shows, all summer long; it includes one-time parking in a large lot served by free tram service that goes all over town. We charge very nominal booth fees, have a retail shop that sells only Sawdust T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats, and we charge rent for the five food concessions we lease. We have a saloon, selling wine and beer.

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30 Days of Western Visions; Dog Show; Kiki Smith!

Unless you live under a sculpture trail rock, you know the National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA) is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. A quarter century of bringing the best of the wildlife art genre to the public is excellent reason to celebrate, and this year NMWA is extending its annual Western Visions celebrations. Traditionally beginning WV events in September, this year everyone is envited to take part in activities scheduled to launch August 18th, 2012. From that date through September, visitors may attend lectures, take hands-on workshops, view and purchase fine Western contemporary art, and attend some dandy artsy parties. Oh, and you’ll meet some of the genre’s most renowned artists.

Western Visions’ featured artists— sculptor Richard Loffler and painter Tucker Smith—will lead special events. On September 13th, ride horseback with Smith for a special arts workshop. A passionate wildlife observer, Smith will join guests for lunch and provide a chance to see the world through his painter’s eyes on a horseback ride at Spring Creek Ranch; the adventure begins at the museum in front of Tucker’s special painting donation for this year’s auction, “Through the Aspens.”

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Heather James Fine Art’s Feminine Side; Riddell at NMWA

She’s not real. But she sure looks real. Walk through Heather James Fine Art’s front door and see if you aren’t fooled by the gorgeous girl, seductively kneeling, eyes closed, sensual lips barely apart, clad in a short, filmy, black dress—and meditating.

“Kneeling,” by Milwaukee artist Marc Sijan, is, says he, an homage to humanity’s fascination with its own myriad forms. “Kneeling” is mind-blowingly realistic, and irresistable. Gentlemen, in case you didn’t know, women check each other out all the time. I was drawn like a bee to a flower by this polyester resin and oil-paint sculpture. Timidly I approached her; could I sense a heartbeat? Would she move? If she had, I’d have jumped out of my own skin. Was she really that gorgeous? As you near this magnetic work, you’ll notice her “flaws,” imperfections we all have: freckles, visible veins, some evidence of an oily complexion, the beginnings of a wrinkle, a tiny scar. And it’s these details, not immediately visible, that we sense from across the room, ultimately drawing us towards her.

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Bike to Art & Free Burgers; Oka Doner’s Earth, Fire, Air, Water at Art Association

June 14th, 2012, on a Thursday afternoon, Jackson Hole Public Art hosts “Bike In” celebrations for two community-painted underpass mural projects: the Garaman and N. Hwy. 89 pathway underpasses. The celebration is timed for ‘after work,’ and the first 50 cyclists to zip through get free burgers! I assume these are good old  classic cow burgers—but they may be turkey burgers, or tofu, or elk, or bison burgers! And I don’t know if you get cheese with that, or onions, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, chips on the side….It’s a free burger, folks!  Just go with it!  The murals were painted by local artists Mike Tierney (scheduled to speak at this week’s Culture Front Cocktail Hour discussion at the Rose, a Culture Front event production!) and Abby Paffrath. 80 kids also worked on these murals, and I believe some other local artists may have been initially involved.

Here’s how the evening will go:

5:30 PM – Visit/show up/bike to the Garaman Underpass. These murals are “symbols of hope and inspiration and represent solutions to today’s challenges,” says JH Public Art. Then….

6:30 PM – Meet and park at the Center for the Arts: ride in on the North Highway 89 Pathway to the pedestrian gateway to the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Then….

7:00 PM – North Highway 89 Underpass: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to mark the completion of Don Rambadt’s public artworks titled, “Aspen Gateway, Sky Play and Communities.”  Then….

7:30 PM – National Museum of Wildlife Art: Celebrate the unveiling of sculptor Sandy Scott’s “Presidential Eagle.”  That’s the end of your ride, and at the end riders will be treated to the sounds of live music with Screen Door Porch, Rising Sage Café goodies,….and that’s where the free burgers come in!    www.jhpublicart.org


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Finish Lines, Exquisite Opportunities, Altered Books

The National Museum of Wildlife Art’s (NMWA) 2011 “Western Visions” event was a success, bringing the Museum at least $600,000, funds that will benefit its education programs. This year, Tucker Smith’s oil painting East Fork Rams was the top-seller, going for $40,000 at the Museum’s September 16th’s finale sale. Awards were distributed to many notable and deserving Western artists; perhaps the highest honor went to painter Mark Eberhard, whose oil on board painting Snowy Owl won the Museum’s Trustee Purchase Award, making it part of the Museum’s permanent collection.

On October 6, 2011, award winning photographer John Weller will visit Jackson to present  The Last Ocean: Antartica’s Ross Sea Photographs by John Weller. After reading research and articles on enviromental threats to the Ross Sea, Weller took up his camera to document those waters, “one of the last pristine open ocean ecosystems on Earth.”  Weller’s photographs will be on display at NMWA October 1, 2011 – January 29, 2012.  An opening reception takes place at NMWA on October 6, 5:30 pm. Weller will speak at 7 pm, in Cook Auditorium.

“Through his remarkable images, award-winning photographer Weller takes viewers on a journey that celebrates the Ross Sea as one of Earth’s last healthy marine environments,” says the Museum. “Dramatic photos offer a glimpse into the lives of wildlife from Emperor penguins to silverfish inhabiting the remote region both above and below the Antarctic ocean’s surface.”


Cool news from the Art Association’s Jenny Dowd: NMWA is looking for artists to collaborate in its upcoming (Bronwyn Minton inspired) exhibition Exquisite Animal: A Community Art Exhibit. Curated by Minton, the artist “game” is played by several people asked to draw a part of an animal; head, front legs, tail, fins, etc. on a “huge sheet of paper,” creating giant animal composites. Each figure presents unlikely combinations, juxtaposed into fantastical creatures. Contact Minton at bminton@wildlifeart.org for more info!

More from Jenny: She has been in contact with Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson, Curator at the Portland Art Museum. In conjunction with Laing-Malcolmson’s interest in Northwest art, she is working to build a library of art by artists in this region.  Artists are invited to submit packets of work examples to be considered for future exhibitions—accepted works will not only be on display at Portland, but have the chance to travel to other museums in the area.

Very, very nice. Here’s what you do to apply:  Mail a disk with up to 20 images of your work, a resume and artist statement to:

Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson, Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR  97205.

From the Teton County Library:

Friday, October 7, from 5:30-6:30 pm, join the Library in the Center for the Arts Lobby for reception celebrating Renewal: Altered Book Exhibition. “Local artists have spun new creations from discarded books and library-inspired words for this exhibit, celebrating the library’s renewal through the addition and renovation now underway,” says the Library. “The opening reception will feature book art; appetizers provided by the Teton County Library Friends; and an opportunity to see our building model! Architects and library staff will be available to answer questions about our building project.”

You can also make origami!  And it’s free!

Through October 28, at the Center. Contact Adult Humanities Coordinator, Oona Doherty, 733-2164 ext. 135, odoherty@tclib.org. To learn more about library programs or construction, visit www.tclib.org.