KINGSTON — The Kitsap Arts & Crafts Festival at Mike Wallace Park is more than a three-day showcase of local art.
For many aspiring and emerging artists, the event is a life changer.
The festival raises money for college scholarships. Scholarship recipients have gone on to art and graphic design careers, and in some unique fields. Maddy Trower, a West Sound Academy grad who went on to Rhode Island School of Design, is now a research assistant and staff artist at Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight.
“The scholarship was very important to realizing my identity as an artist,” she said.
“Going through the process of application and presenting my work was very validating to me when I was getting ready to attend RISD. Heading off to art school isn't necessarily the wisest course of action in an unstable economy and I was also still grappling with whether I could make art work for me as a career rather than a hobby. Hearing that other people in the community liked my work and believed in my potential as an artist was very valuable to me.”
Emily Zach, a Kingston High School grad, went on to Western Washington University and is now a photo researcher at Becker & Mayer, a publisher in Bellevue. She’s helped design book covers and debuted as a hand model. Her father, Jamie, is a past scholarship recipient and an active artist.
Megan Oost graduated from North Kitsap High School and earned a B.A. in studio art, summa cum laude, at Whitman College. She is working on an advanced degree at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Oost is a jewelry maker, painter and three-dimensional artist whose works have been shown in exhibitions in Richmond, Va., Baltimore, Md., and Walla Walla. After grad school, she will teach art or work as an artist.
“She was so grateful for the scholarship,” her mother, Margaret, said. “It really helped her.”
Since 1975, Kitsap Arts & Crafts has awarded 185 scholarships to local young people to help further their arts education. Each scholarship is $2,000 with three additional annual renewals, if grades are maintained and the student continues his or her art studies.
The 54th annual festival, July 26-28, continues to evolve in its appeal and reach — a reach that could bolster the scholarship fund and increase the number of works submitted for the juried fine arts show.
One, this year’s festival does not include a juried fine arts show at the Kingston Cove Yacht Club. “It’s fairly spendy to rent that space,” association president Bryan Monroe said. Instead, the festival will invest the money to join a system by which artists can electronically submit works for consideration in future shows.
“There are some cool online submission services that reach out to a lot of artists,” Monroe said. “In the past, we’ve sent calls to artists off our database, which is decades old. It’s a finite list, it’s not going to grow. That means, if you’re not on the mailing list, you don’t get anything. An online submission service has a database of 11,000 artists. Artists can submit from any place in the west.”
Two, this year’s festival has a three-day entertainment lineup and shares Mike Wallace Park with the Kingston Farmers Market and Concerts on the Cove.According to the association, it’s the second-oldest festival in Washington state, and, “It’s the only [consecutive] three-day event in Kingston all year,” Monroe said. “It pulls in more visitors to Kingston (from outside Kitsap) than any other event.”
Three, winning entries from the Student Art Show at West Sound Academy’s Frodel Gallery will be on display at the festival.
Other works will be on exhibit on the park grounds. There will also be food vendors and a beer garden. Free two-hour parking is available nearby; paid parking is available in the marina parking lot.
Here’s the entertainment schedule.
Noon: Festival opens.
12:15-3:30 p.m.: Background music.
4-5 p.m.: Ali Marcus, original Americana.
6-8 p.m.: Chasing Mona, rockabilly.
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Julie Duke Band, classic blues (Kingston Farmers Market).
4:30-5:30 p.m.: Allyn Guthrie, heavy wood.
7-9 p.m.: Danny Vernon, Elvis impersonator (Concerts on the Cove).
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Eric Alexander & Friends, original folk and harmonies.
1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Boot Scootin’ Grannies.
3-6 p.m.: Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band, Dixieland.
Student Art Show
If Oost, Trower and Zach’s stories mean anything, it’s this: the exhibit of 2013 Student Art Show winners is a must-see.
The show was juried by Rosemarie Heather Dowell, whose paintings are collected internationally and have been shown in galleries in Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.; a commissioned painting is on exhibit in the Vancouver, B.C., City Hall. She and her husband, Gerald, authored “Images of Bainbridge Island,” a collection of her poems and pen-and-ink drawings, and Gerald’s watercolor paintings.
First: Megan Donaldson, “Fallen Snow.”
Second: Graham Baran Mickle, “Penny for Your Thoughts.”
Third: Jolie Fritzer, “Moonlit Night.”
Honorable Mention: Isabelle Cloward, “Dancing Crane.”
First: Daisy Proctor, “Life Size Bust of Princess Leia.”
Second: Devon Jacob, “Reflection.”
Third: Madison Stron, “Peace on Earth Teapot.”
Honorable Mention: Lehuanani Espinoza, “Dragon.”
First: Christine VonDeen, “Northwest Shore.”
Second: Chealsey Rosebrook, “Gary.”
Third: Madeleine Bentley, “Campus Life.”
Trower, the former high school artist who’s now a staff artist at a Duke University research center, said, “The scholarship helped me in ways far beyond the financial assistance it provided. It helped me feel more confident in my pursuit of art … It helped me bridge the mental gap between ‘student interested in art’ and ‘artist,’ which is my primary identity right now.
“As I went through my four years at RISD, [the scholarship] was always a small but important reminder of where I come from and the duty I had to achieve to the best of my abilities. I am honored to say that I received it for my entire stay at RISD.”
Festival at a glance:
— 1959: First Kitsap Arts & Crafts Festival.
— 1959-2009: Festival is held first in Poulsbo, then for about 10 years in Port Gamble.
— 1974: First Kitsap Arts & Crafts scholarships awarded.
— 2010: Festival moves to Kola Kole Park in Kingston, with a juried exhibition in the Kingston Cove Yacht Club.
— 2011: Festival continues at Kola Kole Park, with juried exhibition in the Kingston Community Center.
— 2012: Festival moves to Mike Wallace Park.