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Sunday, October 13, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Features

Art on the Farm Festival offers mix of art, music and food

By Jennifer Larue Correspondent

Artists, bless their hearts, are persistent to say the least, hauling their stuff around to unpack and pack up again, never sure if their work will be well-received let alone purchased.

Still, there they are, smiling and eager to share their particular form of art with others.

Mark your calendars because yet another art fest is scheduled for Aug. 28-29. This time, it will be the first Art on the Farm Festival in Spokane Valley.

The farm, which sits on eight acres, is owned by artist Lezlie Finet and regularly visited by groups of deer. Not a working farm, the site is more like a respite from the daily grind; the setting is peaceful even though it sits not far from Highway 27.

Asked why in the world she would open her home to strangers, Finet quickly answered, “Why not?” followed by, “Because I can.”

She’s an artist with a mission to bring art to her community and to promote local spending, and she has more than 25 artists as well as local business owners joining her.

“Festivals, from the beginning, were designed for celebrating community and bringing people together,” said painter Debra Blahuczyn.

“We have become so globally minded, chain store oriented and consumed with high-tech communications that we have become disconnected. We’ve forgotten that our neighborhoods are a part of the global community and we need to take pride in them and support one another.”

Sami Perry, artist, art teacher and co-founder of the Valley event, is a huge champion for the arts, even going so far as to gently scold a shopper at an area “mega-store” who was checking out a stack of large paintings. The customer was favoring one at a cost of $400.

“I asked her, ‘Really?’ “ Perry recalled, “I explained to her that for about the same price, she could purchase a one-of-a-kind piece by a local artist. I named off some places and events where she can find local art.

“She seemed baffled. I think I scared her a little but hopefully I gave her something to think about.”

Perry will be displaying large outdoor sculptures at the farm festival. The pieces, made of Styrofoam covered in boat epoxy, look like heavy metal but are actually quite light.

Other sculptors involved in the festival include Richard Warrington, who specializes in abstract flowing figures, and Dave Henkey, who will show his functional pieces that hold everything from wine bottles to potted plants.

Kyle Patterson will exhibit his funky ceramic sculptures as will Chris Carson. A few more potters will add their work to the mix, including Finet’s primitive pieces.

Other works will include paintings, photography, handmade drums and rattles, fused glass, jewelry, altered fabric, shawls, scarves and other things not found on an assembly line. Some of the artists will share the processes their art forms take through live demonstrations.

There will also be local produce from area farmers and animals available for adoption from the Spokane Humane Society.

Art on the Farm will feature live music by local musicians and an outdoor café set up by local Italian restaurant Pinocchio’s. The menu includes pizza, pasta, ice cream, coffee, soda, beer and wine.

Mel and Tony Kupcow, owners of Pinocchio’s, have done events in the past but never an art festival.

“Doing Art on the Farm will be just another way we can express the loyalty we feel for our community,” Mel Kupcow said.

As a business owner, she said, she refrains from hiring big companies to do odd jobs like wash windows or care for the lawns: “I hire a guy down the street who’s having trouble finding work.”

With some of the money she makes as a restaurateur, she provides meals for families of cancer patients. Her friend Beatta Dire provides pampering and hair styling to the patients.

Dire, who owns The Master’s Touch Salon in Spokane Valley, will also be at Art on the Farm offering samples from the salon’s menu including henna tattoos and massages.

For cost only, she will add bling to your hair and for no cost at all, she will paint a flower on your toe.

Also, Dire said, “I will also be selling glass art to hang in the window done by an elderly gentleman who needs to supplement his income.”

It might be just another art festival, but participants hope it turns into something seen as more of a necessity, perhaps the lifeline of a community and surrounding areas.

“This will not only be great for the local art community but for everyone that attends because of the sense of community that all of us there feel for each other,” Kupcow said.

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