Festival of Fine Arts returns for 6th year at middle school | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Festival of Fine Arts returns for 6th year at middle school

Rick Chandler

So how does one become a mixed media artist? Having two young children at home helps.

“I’ve always been interested in art, and when my first baby was born 12 years ago I was looking for something I could do artistically from home,” said Melissa Gregory, whose papier-mâché based, epoxy and resin finished creations will be on display at the Lake Tahoe Festival of Fine Arts on Saturday and Sunday, July 7-8.

Gregory, who has a degree in graphic design, had been dabbling in art since childhood. But she began working in mixed media art 12 years ago, and has stuck with it, having sold her work in shops throughout Northern Nevada.

“I worked in advertising until my first child was born.” she said. “I wanted to work with papier-mâché, and I happened to pick up this amazing book which had a lot of such projects.”

Gregory, a 20-year Tahoe resident, has two sons now, whom she home schools. Her artwork includes functional items such as clocks, bowls, boxes and jewelry, plus one very large mammal. You may have seen him outside of the Blue Angel Cafe here in town – she created one of the decorative Tahoe bears, a big blue guy named “Bear Your Soul.”

Gregory is only one of about 75 artists who have been hand-picked by the Tahoe Arts Project to participate in the festival, which is now in its sixth year. Not your typical craft fair, this festival combines unique creative pieces with interactive entertainment, all in an outdoor setting at South Tahoe Middle School. Admission is free.

The festival will feature gifts, food booths, live music, dancing, Aikido shows and activities for children, as well as fine art on display, including painting, glasswork, jewelry, photography, woodwork, ceramics, sculpture, wearable art and metalwork.

Hours of the festival, which is a fundraiser for Tahoe Arts Project, are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

“The festival really started getting big about two years ago,” Tahoe Arts Project Director Peggy Thompson said. “We had more than 100 artists that year, and that was a bit too many, so we began limiting the number. Many are local artists, but a majority come from out of town.”

Thompson stresses that this is not your typical craft fair, where anyone who pays for a booth can set up shop. Artists at the Lake Tahoe Festival of Fine Arts are chosen by the Tahoe Arts Project board of directors.

“Artists will conduct personal demonstrations from their booths, kids can partake in art teachings and we have an active entertainment lineup for the day,” Thompson said. “Our aim is to bring top artistic talent into our community for all to enjoy.”

Thompson estimates that approximately 5,000 people attended the festival last year.

Among artists attending this year will be Denise Mancour, whose oil painting, entitled “Tahoe Shores,” graces this year’s festival brochure cover. Mancour lives in Tahoe during the summer and La Quinta during the winter. Other local artists participating in the festival include Dirk Yuricich (photographer), Molly Bennett (Jeweler), Kristen Schwartz (painting) and Gregory (Mixed Media).

Various food and beverage booths will be ready to serve, including Cold Stone Creamery, German Sausages, Roasted Corn, Chuck Wagon (burgers, nachos, hot dogs etc.) and more.

The Lake Tahoe Festival of Fine Arts is a fundraiser for Tahoe Arts Project, a nonprofit organization that brings professional performing arts to over 5,000 young students in South Lake Tahoe and provides cultural enrichment and diversity for the community.

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