Gaze into the inviting blue ocean waves in Lorraine Elias’ prize-winning watercolor, and you may feel like you’ve joined the Plymouth artist on her vacation to a Hawaiian beach.
Look at the entrance way to the flower-festooned Virginia Hotel — 17-year-old Amanda Martin from Dallas painted it in acrylics — and you might imagine you’re about to step into a world of luxury accommodations.
Then stop to admire the colorful and abstract “Chemical Wedding” oil painting by Dave Reinders and you’ll think … you’ll think … what will you think?
“It is meant to be more evocative than literally meaningful,” Reinders, 62, of Kingston said with a chuckle. “I definitely see some insects going on in there. I see flowers. I see bones. I see internal organs.”
So if you visit Wilkes-Barre’s Fine Arts Fiesta, you know you can expect a variety of art, from realistic landscapes and thought-provoking sculptures to wildly abstract pieces along with music, dancing and fiesta food.
The annual event will take place Thursday through May 19 on Public Square in the city’s downtown — and, if you’re like Elias, the artist from Plymouth, you might want to visit more than once.
“I need a lot of time,” she said. “I have to circle the entire square. Usually I circle it twice and go back to spend more time looking at the paintings and the different stands. Sometimes I come back another day.”
“I like the democratic aura of it all,” said Reinders, the Kingston artist whose abstract piece won first place in the oils category. “I like the fact primarily that the fiesta is accessible. Probably for a lot of people there, it’s the only time they look at fine art. It’s great that they can look at it and see if it’s of any use to them.
“I also like that it’s accessible to any or all competent artists. You don’t have to be an established gallery artist to have something in the show and maybe to sell it.”
Indeed, there is a lot of art for sale at the fiesta — not only under the tents where you can spot winners of the fiesta’s adult juried awards and junior/senior high school award winners but among dozens of vendors whose wares range from handmade brooms to stained glass to leather handbags to wood turnings to ceramics and more.
“I like seeing all the jewelry tents,” Lisa Ford, 36, of Kingston said, admitting she’s also a proud mom who expects to see a piece of art by her 14-year-old daughter, Celeste, in the student show.
Those who work up an appetite circling the square will be happy to know they’ll be able to find everything from seafood to potato pancakes to Cajun gumbo at the many food stands.