With spring in the air, the Hermiston Art Festival is creating fresh excitement in the downtown business district.

For more than a dozen years, local art enthusiasts have hosted an annual festival in Hermiston. With the lack of a 2018-19 Desert Arts Council season, a new partnership developed with the Hermiston Downtown District to present the Hermiston Art Festival, said Mary Corp, event co-chair.

“This is an opportunity to show off the arts and our downtown,” Corp said.

Judy Pederson, Hermiston Downtown District president and festival co-chair, said the event supports and encourages people’s creative spirits, while further building a sense of community. In addition, she’s thrilled about the opportunity to show off improvements and beautification efforts in the downtown district.

“Hermiston’s Main Street area may be small in comparison to other cities but it has heart and believes in being a welcoming place to everyone,” Pederson said.

An indoor/outdoor event, the Hermiston Art Festival is Saturday, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Professional artists from across the region will display and sell their work in hosting downtown businesses and along Hermiston’s festival street.

Admission is free to attend the festival. Special classes in painting (separate sessions for children and adults), floral design and cookie decorating are available for fees ranging from $15-$30.

Corp said the caliber of work in the juried show is superior, including many new faces to the festival. Featured artists include Corp, Jan Beitel, Daniel Brennan, Laura Gable, Diana Hayden, Stella Hickey, Kate Kopaczewski, Leah Lutz, Pat Quigley, Samantha Sautter, Pam Sharp, Adam Sims and Justin Stark. Mediums represented include paintings, fabric art, jewelry, drawings, metal art and wet plate photography. Artists are competing for gold, silver and bronze awards and a people’s choice award, which include cash prizes.

Also, Hermiston High School art students will showcase their creations at several businesses. With 40 pieces of work, Corp said that’s a strong show for local students. Five prizes of $20 each will be awarded to student artists.

Festival entertainment includes the HHS choir, Majazzty (10 a.m.); BBPD — Brad and BC Power Duo (10:45 a.m.); Jonna Kopta, vocalist/keyboards (noon); Zumba by Joy with audience participation (1 p.m.); and Cory Cooley & Eric Jepsen, singing favorite tunes with harmony (1:45 p.m.).

Corp said including music as part of the festival provides a fuller experience and draws more people in.

“For us painters, you get to see the finished product,” Corp said. “With musicians, you get to experience the sound. It adds energy.”

And, BBPD epitomizes energy. Featuring a pair of former band teachers — Brad Rozema and BC Clarity — Corp calls them a “dynamic duo.”

Playing with force and artistry, the seasoned musicians also juggle multiple instruments, including saxophones, flute, trombone, trumpet, flugelhorn, guitar, piano and various percussion instruments. Clarity carries the load on vocals, while Rozema harmonizes.

“We play everything from Dixieland jazz to pop tunes,” Clarity said. “We play a variety that no one else can match.”

For more information, call Corp at 541-720-3859 or visit www.facebook.com/Hermistondowntown. To register for classes, stop by Lucky Endz Gifts, 239 E. Main St., or call Pederson at 541-289-1112.

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539

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