Arts and crafts festival returns to Kingston | Kitsap Week

Works of art line the display area for a previous art competition at the Kitsap Arts & Crafts Festival. - Johnny Walker
Works of art line the display area for a previous art competition at the Kitsap Arts & Crafts Festival.
— image credit: Johnny Walker

Art is essential to the equation of our society. It explores, explains and expands the understanding of ourselves. Without it, our product is meaningless.

But art is often first on the chopping block when tight education budgets need trimming.

To help art prosper in Kitsap, and among its students, the non-profit Kitsap Arts & Crafts Association has championed the cause for more than five decades.

“It started in 1960, that was our first festival,” said Evy Halvorsen Holstein with the Kitsap Arts & Crafts Association.

That art show, the first Kitsap Arts & Crafts Festival, was held at a Poulsbo school. The festival not only continued to feature the talents of local artists over the years, it has served as the main fundraiser for the association’s work of promoting art in schools and providing scholarships for higher education.

“We are a non-profit, we are entirely volunteer-run,” Halvorsen Holstein said. “All proceeds go to scholarships and support the arts in schools.”

Art for a cause

The Kitsap Arts & Crafts Festival is the second-longest running such event in Washington.

“The organization is 55 years old. It started in Poulsbo, and Viking Fest grew out of our festival,” Halvorsen Holstein said.

“The whole idea and the whole purpose of our organization is to support the arts, beginning in the school system with children,” she said.

Since the first show in 1960, the festival has been held in a variety of Kitsap venues.

“The event has moved around a little bit from Poulsbo to Port Gamble and now to Kingston to stay, because we have room to grow there,” Halvorsen Holstein said.

The arts and crafts festival is the association’s primary fundraiser. The proceeds are packaged into scholarships for post high school education and art promotion in area schools.

“(Scholarships) go to Kitsap County students, in any of the arts,” Halvorsen Holstein said. “They can be design students or they can be singers.”

Scholarships are packaged into $2,000 per Kitsap student. The student can apply for a $2,000 scholarship each year they are in college.

The first scholarships were handed out in 1975. Since then the association has given out 194 scholarships.

The association moved around its base of operations, and its festival, over the past few years. This caused a lull in funding, Halvorsen Holstein said. No scholarships are planned for this year, but the association’s reserves have been filling and Halvorsen Holstein said that the scholarship program will begin again in 2015.

“Our organization is rebuilding the festival with the support of the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce, working towards a future of fun and education in the arts,” Holvorsen Holstein said.

The festival

The event is filled with artisan craft booths, local food, a juried art show and a student art show, making for a day of art appreciation and relaxing shopping with local crafters.

Both art shows are juried competitions across two-dimensional, three-dimensional and photographic genres, and are judged by the same panel of local artists.

The 2014 jurors of the art competition include Josef V. Venker, a Jesuit priest and instructor of art at Seattle University; Mary Weichman, a 3-D artist and art instructor at Olympic College; and Preston Wadley, a photography instructor at Washington State University.

Jurors act as gatekeepers into the adult art competition, and judge both art shows.

Live music will also be a feature attraction with a hefty line up, including: the Boot Scootin’ Grannies, Gary Walker, Idealism, Paul Holiday, Eugenie Jones, Isthmusia, the Jeff Kashiwa Band and more.

Kitsap Arts & Crafts Festival

When: July 25-26, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and July 27, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Kola Kole Park, 1128 NE Maine St., Kingston

Info:, Kitsap Arts & Crafts Facebook page

Champagne preview party: July 24, 7 p.m. at the Kingston Community Center. $15 per person, or $28 for a couple, at the door. Get a sneak peek at all the art and mingle with Kitsap artists and scenesters. Jazz artist Eugenie Jones will perform and artist awards will be announced.

Live Music

Friday: DJ playing popular music

Sunday: Boot Scootin’ Grannies, the Kitsap Children’s Musical Theatre performing the music of Godspell, local artist Gary Walker, and electronic alternative music by Idealism.

Saturday: Paul Holiday, jazz artist Eugenie Jones, Industrial Revelation, Kingston-based progressive rock band Isthmusia, and jazz saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa.

*Check the festival website for the live music schedule.

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