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Art, with feeling

ArtFest through Sunday has something for everyone

Some art is meant to be touched, some is meant to be viewed. Some works of art belong on a wall, others in a yard. Art can be a painting, a sketch, a photograph. Art can be carved out of wood and art can be sculpted of clay.

All forms of art are meant to be admired; all represent a labor of love.

With about 150 artists featured at the 26th annual ArtFest, there is something for any art lover to enjoy.

Rebecca Bishop, director of marketing and communications for the Museum of Arts and Culture, said the ArtFest is “a chance for the community to come see fine art from a five-state area in one compact, lively area, to bring it all in to one place.”

Bishop said ArtFest has grown from a “handful of tents” at the MAC to about 150 booths in Coeur d’Alene Park.

“It is a juried show, and that keeps the quality of the wares up,” she said, explaining that more than 200 people entered photos of their work to be judged. “We don’t take everything.”

She said the festival draws artists and observers from all over the Northwest and Canada.

“I think they’re all art lovers of some sort,” she said. “They have to be. I think Spokane really treasures their local artists.”

And the turnout of art lovers on the first day of ArtFest indicated the weekend was off to a strong start.

“So far, it’s been good,” said Ned Fox, a fine arts photographer who set up shop at ArtFest for his fifth year. “Last year … the rain was just a constant downpour. I think people are getting out because of the weather.”

Fox said that while he sells some of his work online, it’s important to participate in community-oriented festivals, as well.

“Art needs to be seen firsthand,” Fox said. “People want to touch it, they want to see it. They want to view the texture. They want to see how it’s framed. They want to hold it. You can’t do that on the Internet. I think that’s what nice about ArtFest.

“You can see everything and it’s all top-notch,” he said.

Fox, a lifelong Spokane resident, said he has watched the art community blossom over the years.

“Spokane has really developed its cultural health for all the arts,” he said. “They’re becoming much more aware of the arts.”

The festival also included Make It Art!, an area for the smallest of artists, as well as food vendors and a stage featuring a host of local musicians whose styles are as varied as those of the visual artists displaying their work over the weekend.

Sherrill Lane Moody came from Kirkland, Wash., to visit both the Farm Chicks Antique Show, at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, and ArtFest. Having come to ArtFest last year, she knew she wanted to visit it while in town again this year.

“It’s just a great venue to come check out local artists and see what Spokane has to offer,” she said. “Just browse and admire the creativity. I just find the artists here so inspiring.”

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