Great Escape: Fine Art Under the Redwoods

Get a preview glimpse inside the Kings Mountain Art Fair.

Every Labor Day weekend, the parking lot and redwood forest surrounding the Kings Mountain Volunteer Fire Station at 13889 Skyline Boulevard in Woodside is transformed into a fine art gallery.

Paintings and photographs are hung on tree trunks or strung up on wire between the redwoods. Folk art, ceramics, glasswork, jewelry, textiles, and sculpture are also displayed, many of the art pieces in tented booths with the redwood forest providing a majestic backdrop.

This week, head for the hills and experience art under the redwoods at the Kings Mountain Art Fair. In its 48th year, the grassroots event that’s 100 percent volunteer-run with no corporate sponsorship takes place this Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features 135 juried artists and 25 mountain folk artists under the redwoods. Admission is free and a pancake breakfast with the artists starts at 8 a.m.

“Kings Mountain Art Fair is one of the best fairs in Northern California,” said fused glass artist and Colony of Coastside Artists (CoCA) member Aileen Cain of Moss Beach, who is participating in this year’s festival for the third time with her art and business, A. Cain Warm Glass, compatible glass that is fused and slumped to create colorful, mosaic-like designs and forms such as platters and vases.

“The setting is beautiful and the huge staff of volunteers is both effective and very appreciative of the artists and the art,” adds Cain.

Proceeds from the Art Fair go back to the community, primarily supporting the Kings Mountain Volunteer Fire Brigade, a group that responds to more than 150 emergencies a year, and the Kings Mountain Elementary School. The firehouse was built using Art Fair funds and volunteer labor, and the four-room public school recently installed a much needed, new classroom with the help of Art Fair funds.

"I have friends who live on Kings Mountain and are also part of the volunteer fire department," said Cain. "This fair funds many of the vital services in their community. It is a privilege to be invited to the fair and to be a part of the fund raising effort. It is also important to me to be included with so many fine artists and craft people."

Cain will be joined by fellow CoCA member, photographer Carl Mehler of El Granada, who will exhibit his color and black-and-white photographs processed by the artist himself with no digital manipulation, vividly highlighting elements of design, line, form, color, and spatial relationships.

Indeed, Kings Mountain was selected as one of the top five fine art fairs in California, according to the 2011 Art Fair SourceBook. The jury process ensures the highest quality of arts and crafts balanced across categories (painting, sculpture, furniture, jewelry, toys, etc.). There are items available at all price ranges, from $10 to $10,000.

The event is open to people of all ages and is especially appealing to families with children. In Kiddie Hollow, children of all ages can make their own art at the supervised booths, including spin, string, straw, and glitter art, among other activities. There is a nominal fee for many of these activities ($3 for 12 tickets, $5 for 24). There’s plenty of free stuff, too, including the reading corner and an authentic Native American teepee to explore. Parent's Retreat overlooks Kiddie Hollow, so the adults can relax while the children play.

Food is also available. Volunteers in the Cook Shack serve up burgers and corn on the cob. Grandma Jenny’s giant cookies, baked by local school parents, are sold as a special fund-raiser for the Kings Mountain Elementary School.

Parking is free along Skyline Boulevard with a complimentary shuttle to the fair, available wherever there is a shuttle sign (about two miles north and south of the firehouse). Dogs and bicycles are not permitted on the fair grounds. Bicycle racks are available and fairgoers are encouraged to dress in layers with temperatures on the cooler side under the shade of the redwoods.

“I look forward seeing a lot of fellow artist friends that I have come to know over the three years,” said Cain, “and a lot of customers who come back every year.”

For more information, call 650-851-2710 or visit www.kingsmountainartfair.org.


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