The Summer Colors Fine Art Show connects people of all ages
By LIESEL SCHMIDT
An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.
James McNeill Whistler, American painter
As anyone who has ever tried to find success as an artist knows, the payoff isn’t always swift in coming—and for some, it never comes. But even for the most talented and passionate, exposure is critical in making an artist successful.
Over the years, art festivals and shows have become an important way for artists to gain the exposure they need to make a name for themselves and reach a wider audience than they would by simply displaying their pieces in galleries. These events are also often a great draw for visitors to the local area, making them beneficial to the larger community as well as its inner community of artists—and celebrating the way art makes us think and feel, both in creating and viewing it.
For more than 40 years, the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau has hosted artists and given them a stage on which to showcase their talents during the annual Summer Colors Fine Art Show. Created by the Art League of Highlands-Cashiers (ALHC), the event, along with its sister show, the Fall Colors Fine Art Show, has been instrumental in offering artists the opportunity to sell their work to art lovers from near and far. From that initial handful of artists, the event has grown to include more than 30 oil painters, watercolorists, mixed media artists, sculptors, photographers, jewelers and potters, garnering increasing attention for the quality fine art on display and the uniquely local feel of the show.
Last year brought the advent of a few new features to the Summer Colors Fine Art Show: live music and a children’s art competition sponsored by Blick Art Supplies. “The children’s competition was such a special way of encouraging young people to make a connection to the art,” says Show Chair Colleen Kastner. “It was a simple idea: Let the child go through the show and pick the piece of art they like the best, then write down what they liked about it and draw their own sketch of it. I was delighted to see a group of teenage girls sketching one of my paintings, [featuring] a voluptuous woman with an attitude and the words, ‘I am not a toy for you to play with. I am not a fragile flower wilting in the sunlight. Don’t tell me who I am—who or what I can be.’
“I asked the girls why they chose my painting, and they said they liked the message,” she says. “That was the highlight of the show for me. The fact that the positive and life affirming message in my work connected with those young women meant the world to me!”
Clearly, the art show isn’t something that resonates only with adults—nor is the art. As a means of expression, it connects people of all ages and walks of life, speaking to everyone in different ways. For that reason, the show draws thousands of buyers and art enthusiasts from the local area and beyond. “It’s a great networking and sales event for our artists and cultural event for locals and visitors,” says ALHC Chair John Bauknight, noting that last year’s event was the most successful ever. “It’s something the whole community benefits from.”
“It’s such a fun, local experience to visit the gorgeous Sapphire Valley,” Kastner adds. “You can meet some great artists and see their work in person. Plus, we’re planning live music again, along with the children’s art competition. It’s also an indoor event, so we don't have to worry about rain."
Held on July 22nd and 23rd from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day, the Summer Colors Fine Art Show is located at the Sapphire Valley Resort Community Center. Admission and parking to the event are free. ALHC artists to be featured this year include such oil painters as Sara Crook, Zach Claxton, Sue Taylor White, Peggy Marra, Terry Warren and Catherine Connolly Hudson; watercolorists, acrylic and mixed media artists such as Margie Bauer; and woodworkers like Jo Miler, in addition to sculptors, potters, glass artists and more. Visitors may enjoy exploring the area, from various locally owned restaurants within walking distance of the event venue to the many stores, parks and restaurants a few minutes’ drive away in Cashiers. For more information, visit the Art League of Highlands-Cashiers website at artleaguehighlands-cashiers.com.