All of you artists have heard of the call for art for the annual Holiday Art Gala in downtown Leavenworth and now it is time for artists and anyone who appreciates the arts to put it on their schedule to attend the annual affair on Friday, at the Heritage Center on Delaware.
The Gala starts at 5 p.m., so, you can plan to stop in to view the art on your way home from work. Or, plan to dine out someplace downtown and then stop in. The awards are handed out at 7:30 p.m., so it is not really a long night and you still have plenty of time to go out elsewhere if that is in your plans.
It is easy to make the Gala the place to be though, since we always have a bit of finger foods and some drinks and we always have live music. The holiday art show has been a Leavenworth tradition for many years. It used to be held on Sunday afternoons at the Carnegie. One year, with a new person taking charge and making it into a real gala affair, we blew our welcome at the Carnegie by having way too many art pieces and guests for the venue.
Since then, the Leavenworth County Artists' Association has been giving its gift of art to the community at the Heritage Center where there is plenty of room to display the art and for the live music, food, and drinks.
Lately, the interest in purchasing art from the show has been strong enough that the association is allowing patrons to buy and remove the art that evening so that they do not have to return two weeks later when the show is over. That means that if you want to see the art, it is a good idea to show up on the gala night because some of it will be leaving the hall before the night is over.
Keep in mind that the gala is not intended to be primarily an art sale. It has always been the association's gift to the community by bringing in many pieces of art made by local and regional artists. By adding the other amenities to the show, it makes it a fun evening and the place to be in Leavenworth on the First Friday in December.
The show is judged by a professional artist, usually from the Kansas City area, and there are cash awards and honorary awards given on the evening of the gala. The guests also get to vote for their favorite piece and have a voice in the People's Choice Award. We watch pretty close to ensure that no one stuffs the ballot box with multiple ballots.
The variety of art is astounding. Of course you will see plenty of art done with traditional and familiar media, but you will also see some outstanding hand-made jewelry, wood carvings and wood turnings and some fiber art. Since quilts are such a huge medium in itself, we do not invite quilts as each quilt may take up more space than a number of other pieces of art. Leavenworth is the Queen City of quilts, though, and there are multiple opportunities to see great quilting at other venues.
Page 2 of 2 - For my part, I am entering a bit of fiber art. I spin and weave wool and I often make triangle shawls on a triangle loom that I made myself. For the first time, I have made a basic white or ecru shawl which I used for a blank canvas on which I embroidered a feather pattern in dark grey yarn. I think that it looks more like an Indian woman's shawl and I have no idea how the judge will take it, but it is something new for me in shawl making.
If you want to see the Indian feather shawl and probably 100 more pieces of art, then meet me at the Heritage Center on Friday between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. I'll probably be the only one there in sandals.
Matt Nowak lives in Lansing and works as a natural resources manager.