Festival of Arts to feature local artisans

Jason Huber sees Kingman and the surrounding areas through the eyes of an artist – and he likes what he sees.

"I have only been here a short time and I am so impressed with everything around me," Huber said.

"There is so much beauty everywhere you look, the desert, the mountains, the river.

…"

Huber will be one of more than 100 artisans at the 24th annual Festival of Arts this Saturday and Sunday at Metcalfe Park in downtown Kingman.

Wood sculpting, photography and drawing have held Huber's interest in the past, but since moving to Kingman last December he has been inspired to capture the beauty of the landscape with his pencil sketches.

After the drawings are complete he mats and frames the prints in his own handcrafted hardwood frames.

Images include landscapes from Burro Creek, the Hualapai Mountains, the Black Mountains, particularly Boundary Cone, and the Mount Tipton wilderness area.

He plans to have 50 prints of nine different landscapes ready for the festival.

Huber, 31, graduated from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in art.

He has traveled some since then, never staying in one place for long until he moved to Morman Lake, near Flagstaff, seven years ago.

"I met my girlfriend there," he said.

"After she graduated from NAU she was hired as a teacher in Kingman.

We moved here around Christmas time."

He said he feels a sense of permanency here in Kingman, and for the first time has a garage in which to make frames for his prints.

The annual festival has become a springtime event in northwestern Arizona with more than 100 exhibitors from Kingman and throughout the Southwest selling their arts and crafts.

Held from 10 a.m.

to 5 p.m.

Saturday and 10 a.m.

to 4 p.m.

Sunday, the Festival of the Arts also offers entertainment, food booths and a drawing for a signed poster by local artist Doris Lightwine.

"The festival is a tradition here in Kingman," said Beth Snyder, department assistant at the Mohave Community College Foundation office in Kingman.

"What makes it nice is that it is held on Mother's Day (May 12).

"This year Shawn Bristle, the music director at the college, will be the disk jockey, and several music groups from the college will perform," Snyder said.

Although this will be Huber's first year at the festival, other local artisans, such as Toni Bigelow are longtime participants at the festival.

An award-winning artist who has participated in the festival for the past 12 years, Bigelow's unique sumi-e ink paintings, acrylic paintings and ceramics will be also be available at the festival.

Bigelow has been studying and painting Japanese art since the mid 1950s when her father was stationed with the military near Tokyo.

She said Japanese art, which can be done with ink and a brush or ink brush pens, may look simple, but takes practice.

"We were taught to practice, practice, practice to learn the strokes," she said.

"It is a happening.

It is immediate action painting."

Bigelow, an art teacher since 1987, is so into her art she even makes her own paper from recycled scraps, sometimes adding herbs, flowers or other organic matter to add texture.

Arts and crafts displays, demonstrations, entertainment, a door prize, and hopefully good weather, make the festival a popular event, Snyder said.

Admission to the festival at the park and all events is free.

There will be a special hands-on area where children can express their creativity by making mom a clay pot.

This will be the fourth year that the Kingman Chapter of the Mohave Community College Foundation, a non-profit corporation that supports the college, will sponsor the festival.

Money from the 100-plus spaces artists and vendors rent during the festival is used by the foundation for scholarships, Snyder said.

For more information about the 24th annual Festival of the Arts call 757-0812.