It is time to remind everyone about the annual Leavenworth County Artists’ Association Holiday Art Gala which always occurs on the first Friday evening in December. This is a really good deal both for artists and the general public because it gathers together a bunch of artists for one evening in downtown Leavenworth at the Heritage Center.

We artists, with the support of many in the business community, foot the bill for the annual gala which includes all the art plus live music and finger food. The artists are eligible for cash prizes, too. The public gets to visit both the art and the artists in a very casual atmosphere in a very inviting venue.

I am not sure why, but when artists are welcomed into a community and they are given the chance to thrive, the entire community seems to benefit culturally, socially and economically. You can check out some special areas in Kansas City if you need proof of that concept. In fact, in many cities where the arts flourish, the artists themselves are often forced to move to other locations because the rising economic values increase the cost of living beyond the capabilities of the artists.

I will remind everyone about the event as it gets closer, but it is definitely time for artists to get moving and start producing some art pieces for the gala if you want to participate. Most of my fabric art actually goes into an annual fiber show in November, but I know that if I am going to do anything in oil, I better get moving pretty soon so that it is ready for December.

We have few limits on the kind of art that is accepted in the show. Nearly any medium that you can think of in two dimensions and three dimensions is an acceptable medium except large quilts. I love large quilts, but the gala is not capable of hanging them properly so we have to limit them in this show. Smaller quilts may be accepted depending on their size and if they are mounted so that they can be hung properly.

We will obviously have a large number of paintings in oils, acrylics, watercolors, pencils and pastels. We also usually have photography and a few stained glass pieces and maybe some wood-burned art. I just recently saw some awesome wood-burning pieces at our monthly woodworkers’ meeting that would compete really well with any art. In fact, this particular artist has won numerous awards at art shows already. Scroll saw work is also spectacular.

We often have wood carvings, painted gourds, wire sculptures, awesome jewelry, pottery, woodworking pieces and ceramic tile pieces. 

You should consider producing for this annual gala. Go to the LCAA website for specific information about entries. There is a fee for each item entered because, besides the business sponsorships, this is how we pay for the show as well as the cash awards.

Suffice it to say that nothing lewd or terribly offensive is going to be accepted in order to honor community values, but we are very open to what is accepted. Although you do not have to be a member and there is no discount for being a member, you can find out more about the show by attending one of our monthly meetings on the second Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Heritage Center.

If the arts are going to enhance the culture and value of downtown Leavenworth, then artists need to step up and participate in annual events like this. I hope to see you and your art this year.

Matt Nowak is a retired natural resources specialist and lives in Lansing.