Who would’ve thought you could begin an arts education at a county fair? The folks who created the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts at Fairplex (MSCAF) do that each year.
From the Industrial Age to the Computer Age . . . Three Centuries of Artistic Innovation – the MSCAF exhibit during 2010 L.A. County Fair, Sept. 4-Oct. 3 – will again spotlight more than 40 artists demonstrating 12 means of creative expression.
The gallery becomes an interactive classroom for young and old as working artists demonstrate watercolor and oil painting, ceramics, woodworking and carving, mixed media, stone carving, stained glass, metal sculpture, jewelry-making, weaving and more.
These demonstrations are many times introductions to different art forms for many schoolchildren participating in the FairKids Discovery Program of field trip tours held each morning before the Fair opens.
Fairguests can watch as watercolorists Bill Anderson of Huntington Beach, Tom Fong of Alhambra, Joanne Formia of Pasadena, Marciano Martinez of Brea, Richard Martinez of Claremont, Brenda Swenson of South Pasadena and Jan Wright of Claremont, and Judy Schroeder of Orange tame paint and water into subtle shadings and images.
Painter Anderson will also be demonstrating, with Nelson Scherer of the Millard Sheets Gallery Foundation, how a variety of early printing presses worked.
Oil painting will be demonstrated by Thor Ericson and Janice Ericson of La Habra Heights, particularly her painted cat rocks. Other oil painters are Karlis Dabols of Rancho Cucamonga, Veronica Kortz of La Habra Heights, and BJ Lane of Duarte who will show how to use oil bars instead of paint from a tube.
Audrey Durnan of Claremont paints on silk instead of stretched canvas to create hand-drawn, hand-dyed pillows, scarves.
Elizabeth Carr of San Bernardino and Melanie Phillips of Rancho Cucamonga will demonstrate mixed-media techniques – paint, paper, ink, watercolor, crayons, collage, beaded jewelry, stained glass jewelry and more.
Lucien Van Oosten of Glendora will demonstrate illustration techniques, including pointillism, also know as stippling.
Sculptors use many materials – stone, wood, metal – at MSCAF this year. Woodcarvers include Robert (Red) Collins of Wilmington and Connie Williams of Long Beach, Marsha and Steven Cunningham of Pomona who create intricate wood puzzles, Osvaldo Orellana of Claremont, and John Svenson of Upland (who carved The Ranchero onsite in the Court of the Redwoods at the 1954 Fair). Stonecarving will be demonstrated by Jim Coffman of Padua Hills, Claremont. Dan and Dina Romero of Mentone will share metal sculpture techniques.
The world of ceramics will be explored by Crispin Gonzalez of Claremont, Steve Loya of Pomona, along with Scott Stragier and Jake Yaeger, who teach at the Career & Technical Education Center at Fairplex.
Several forms of glass will be featured. Hillel Rzepka of Laguna Beach creates hand-blown glass hearts. MaryAnn Rachford of Temple City will demonstrate stained glass. Kazumi Svenson of Wrightwood fashions sculptures from glass beads and Elizabeth Serna of Rancho Cucamonga specializes in jewelry.
Members of the Tri-Community Weavers and Spinners will also be featured.
Book-signings are also scheduled:
• Woodcarver John Svenson will sign copies of his newly published book, Exploring Forms by John Edward Svenson, an American Sculptor, on the days he is doing demonstrations, Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays throughout the Fair from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Photographer Gene Sasse will sign copies of his books, Maloof Beyond 90: An American Woodworker and Garden Thoughts, on Sunday, Sept. 5 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Friday, Sept. 24 from 4 to 7 p.m.
• Carolyn S. Owen Towle will sign copies of Damngorgeous, a book about her father Millard, on Wednesday, Sept. 8 from noon to 3 p.m.
• Betty Davenport Ford will sign her book, The Sculpture of Betty Davenport Ford, on Thursday, Sept. 23, noon-3 p.m.
• Laurel Meister will sign copies of the children’s book Tutu Knows Best, for which she did the illustrations, Saturday, Sept. 25, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Works by several of these artists are featured in the Gallery Store, which has doubled in size since last year.
MSCAF is a proud part of the Smithsonian Institution Affiliation Program. Through this partnership, the Center shares with the community the Smithsonian Institution’s artifacts, programs and expertise.
MSCAF is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
For more information about From the Industrial Age to the Computer Age . . . Three Centuries of Artistic Innovation at the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts at Fairplex, visit lacountyfair.com.
The L.A. County Fair is Sept. 4-Oct. 3. Hours are Sunday, Sept. 5, 10 a.m.-midnight; Monday, Sept. 6, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Wednesdays, noon-10 p.m.; Thursdays, noon-11 p.m.; Fridays, noon-midnight; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-midnight; and Sundays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Under the direction of the Los Angeles County Fair Association, Fairplex is home to the L.A. County Fair, the largest county fair in the world, as well as The Learning Centers which encompasses Fairtime Learning, The Child Development Center, The Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC), the Junior Fair Board, and the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts. Fairplex also operates a diverse hospitality business with the Sheraton Fairplex, McKinley’s Grille, KOA RV Park, Finish Line Sports Grill, Cornucopia Foods, and the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Conference Center (opening 2011). The campus is also home to the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum and the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona; horse-racing and Barretts Equine Limited; as well as the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition. For more information, please visit www.fairplex.com.