Artists from many mediums return to the LCSC | North West

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On a warm spring Saturday, booths filled the lawn of the Lewis-Clark State College Library as local and foreign artists showed off their art.

After a two-year hiatus, Art Under the Elms, perhaps the biggest part of Lewiston’s Dogwood Festival, has drawn family, friends and their dogs to the free three-day craft fair.

Vendors were seen around the lawn selling handmade goods, including an array of art, food, jewelry, photography and sculpture. Some vendors returned to the craft fair, participating in previous years, while many new artists showed their talents.

Queues formed behind the food trucks, people stopped to admire the paintings, and many strolled from stall to stall – it was a sight to behold and the place to be.

J. Steven Robertson, an artist from Ogden, Utah, came all the way to Lewiston to sell his photographs of wildlife, cars and landscapes.

“If you look at all these photos, you’ll see that it’s all about the eyes, except when it’s not,” Robertson said. “I think each type of photography, whether it’s landscape, portraits, wildlife, they’re all really different disciplines.”

Robertson specializes in animal portraiture and many of his photos show the emotion of animals. Showing two photos of bison side by side, he said animals are as different as people, have their own behavior and present themselves to the world.

Robertson said that by focusing on getting the right angle, there are a thousand ways to take a shot, which can yield just as many results. Robertson finds personality in everything he photographs, including cars.

Josh Kristensen, an artist creating backlit wooden landscapes, showcased his art at the fair. Kristensen uses rare wood grains to mimic different landscaping designs. His works depict mountains of various shapes and sizes, all illuminated by LED lights. All of her projects are hand drawn and hand cut one piece at a time; it takes two to three weeks to complete one of his creations.

Kristensen has been creating these pieces for 15 years, and over the past seven years it has become a full-time job. Kristensen attends several craft fairs to sell his artwork, and this is the second time he has participated in Art Under the Elms.

“(I’m here because), in addition to making money as an artist, of course, having so many people in front of you to see and watch and be inspired that you can actually make a living as a artist,” Kristensen mentioned.

Coming from the Nez Percé Tribe, Linda Dufford, Velda Penney and Agnes Weaskus shared their art to bring awareness to missing and murdered Indigenous women. The theme of their booth was missing sisters, and in their paintings they used symbolism to show the pain and injustice that the families of missing people feel.

Painting a red hand on the women’s faces, Dufford said it was to show the silence of this particular issue within tribal nations and tribal communities. Currently, there are 30 open and unsolved cases of missing Indigenous people in the area, according to Weaskus.

“We need some resolution, some justice,” Dufford said. “We see that these people need justice, in terms of what’s going on.”

In Weaskus’ painting, she made three women, all with red handprints on their faces, and in the air she painted an eagle feather to represent freedom.

“I know some things have been done recently (in legislation), but that’s by far not enough, it’s the start,” Weaskus said. “We just have to keep moving forward because it happens to us. It’s happening to women across the country, across the world, right now.

Penney’s painting showed the spirit of a murdered Native woman, leaving behind her materialistic clothing and objects as she moved forward. In the sun, the paint shimmers because she chose to use a metallic, shimmering paint.

Penney said using art as an expression of this sensitive topic is a peaceful way to address this issue, bringing representation to missing persons and the violence that Indigenous peoples face.

Art Under the Elms will wrap up today with a final session that opens at 10 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m.

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