Art steals the scene at Fine Arts Fiesta

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First Posted: 5/13/2013

The “elders” who are gathered, disciple-like, in Robert Broghamer’s sculpture of “The Last Breakfast” sit at a long table adorned with a real fabric tablecloth and a drippy sunny-side up egg.

The wood-turned-bowl by Ed “Sonny” Jones of Pittston shows off the natural grain of the burl that grew on a brown mallee tree in Australia.

And the kitten in Shirley Trievel’s pastel piece is snoozing comfortably, curled up alongside the feet of a human buddy.

Those are just a few of the details likely to fascinate and charm you as you stroll through the 2013 Fine Arts Fiesta, set for May 16-19 on Public Square in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

“It’s always very nicely presented,” said Rachael Goetzke, an Osterhout Library staffer who expects she’ll be helping out with crafts under the children’s tent.

“I always enjoy looking at the different artwork,” said fiesta fan Sarah Berry, 23, of Plymouth. “I’d feel I really missed out on something if I didn’t go.”

Art fans like Berry will be sure to admire Nancy Swiger’s photograph of a “Textured Tulip,” which won not only first place for photography in the fiesta’s adult juried competition, but also “Best of Show.”

“It’s wonderful. It’s a different kind of photograph,” contest coordinator Gary Womelsdorf said, noting the dreamy, almost antique quality the photo exudes, thanks in part to the color tones and texture the artist added by, as she said, “playing around with software.”

This is the first time in six years that a photograph has garnered the “Best in Show” award, Womelsdorf noted.

Other first place awards include the intriguing sculpture by Broghamer, who is from Forty Fort; Jones’ wood piece, an oil painting called “The Chemical Wedding” by Dave Reinders of Kingston; a watercolor image of “Blue, Blue Water” by Lorraine Elias of Plymouth; and Trievel’s pastel rendering of a girl and a kitten, titled “Good Company.”

With six grandchildren and three cats of her own, Trievel has plenty of opportunities for inspiration.

Among the three pieces of art she will have on display at the fiesta, the one titled “Grae” is a representation of her soon-to-turn-three granddaughter, Graesyn, while the others are so loosely based on sketches of other grandchildren that the youngsters wouldn’t even recognize themselves.

Trievel, who teaches art at Meyers High School in Wilkes-Barre, considers the fiesta “such a nice tradition” and thoroughly enjoys her visits there.

So does 17-year-old Amanda Miller of Dallas, who has a special reason to be excited about this year’s offerings.

Three pieces that she submitted to the fiesta’s junior/senior high school art competition took first place, second place, and a third award sponsored by The Glen Lyon Art Studio.

“I’m really excited. I wasn’t exactly expecting it,” said Miller, who studies art with Sue Hand of Dallas.

Miller’s prize-winning entries depict the entrance of the “Virginia Hotel,” painted in acrylics; a line of shops on a street in Bar Harbor, Maine, rendered in mixed media; and a New Jersey beach scene, painted in watercolor.

The judge did not see the names of the artists when she was judging the student submissions, Womelsdorf said, and was somewhat surprised that the same young artist took three out of the 26 awards

“Her work is terrific,” Womelsdorf commented.

Miller, who expects she’ll major in engineering in college, plans to study art as a minor.

Painting is “relaxing,” she said. “It’s a good feeling being able to work on something you have some sort of attachment to and transform it into artwork.”

Describing a typical visit to the fiesta, she said, “Normally I go through the student art tent and look through all the (vendors’) tents. I like the jewelry tents. Then we go to the adult art tent, and then we go to the food.”

In that last category, does she have a favorite?

“Oh, the potato pancakes,” she said. “Definitely.”