Friday, February 17, 2012

Kids Day at the Folk Festival

The Mennello Museum Folk Festival was three days this year. The first day on Friday was set aside just for kids. I arrived in the early afternoon to see what was going on. The place was quiet with a small encampment of white tents set up under the overcast sky. I decided to lean against a flag pole to do a sketch. Dawn Schreiner and her husband, Eric, arrived to set up her tent. Dawn did the poster for this year's festival with a nice painting of Earl Cunningham whose folk paintings comprise the main focus of the museum's permanent collection. I always look forward to seeing Dawn's colorful and whimsical work.

Genevieve Bernard pulled up in her VW Bug and she explained to me that there were about 50 school children running all around that morning. Ibex puppetry was there with puppets from "Panther and the Crane." Frank Holt, the museum director, pointed out that there was a new puppet of a manatee. These puppets were life sized and a few children were scared, but when they were allowed to touch the puppets they were OK. There were crafts activities using recycled cardboard. Kids could paint a Valentine heart or lace a cardboard disk with an intricate pattern of yarn.

Unfortunately my mural was hidden by go carts, cars and mobile storage units. Very few people attending the festival would ever know it was there. Regardless, I made my way through the maze of machinery and signed the mural with a sharpie above the list of school children and parents who had helped. It rained lightly when I began the sketch but never hard enough to force me to run for cover. Then the sun came out and I sweated and baked since I hadn't thought about shade. When the line work was done, I walked about ten feet back under the shade of a live Oak tree. I'm looking forward to seeing "Style & Grace". These paintings are from the private collection of Michael & Marilyn Mennello. I saw them when I visited his home and they are from some of my favorite "Ash Can" artists, like John Sloan, Robert Henri and George Bellows.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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