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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Lake Wales Art Fest Hosts 52nd Event

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by James Coulter

Cloisonne is an art style in which metalwork is decorated with colored glass material. While it might sound like a technologically-advanced technique, the art style dates to ancient times.

Lynn Hardesty has been creating cloisonne jewelry for the past 14 years. She considers it “painting with glass.” She creates something new every day. Such dedication to her craft allowed her to win Best of Show at the Lake Wales Art Fest last weekend.

“I am overwhelmed,” she said. “It is such a blessing. I am absolutely thrilled. I could not be happier. I am glad for God’s blessing and my hard work.”

Nearly 100 artists from across the state, country, and even the world congregated in Lake Wailes Park over the weekend to participate in the 52nd Annual Lake Wales Art Fest. From sculptures to paintings, these artists showcased a diverse selection of various artwork styles.

Jeff Ripple, who won Judge’s Choice, displayed many of his majestic natural landscapes. Since 2001, he has been creating these masterpieces with a real affinity for capturing the essence of natural light.

“For me, I spent a lot of time and effort thinking about light, going out and watching the light,” he said. “Watching light has fascinated me ever since I was a child. I think it is nice to earn my living in part by being allowed to wonder about the world, to capture that in a lifeform.”

Glenn Woods also won Judge’s Choice for his pottery. Like other artists, he is very much inspired by nature. As such, he appreciates being able to showcase his artwork within the natural landscape of Lake Wailes Park.

“It feels pretty great,” he said of the award. “It was a slow day, so it was the highlight of my day…I have a variety of pieces with different influences, but mostly nature. People want to buy my work. [I am] just happy to be here, it is a beautiful day.”

For more than half a century, the Lake Wales Art Fest has brought artists and art lovers to scenic Lake Wales. The last few years have seen the event make a comeback since the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with plenty of locals seeking art for their homes and businesses.

“The show is important to the community,” said Tommy Frank, Executive Director of the Lake Wales Art Council. “Lake Wales loves having great artwork. And it is here, they love performing musical artists, so it is great for the visual artists to come. This is a chance we can see different things in those art fields, what is relevant and new, and so we are creating that space to rally behind.”

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