SUMMERFEST: Artists in action, wine tasting ... with 40,000 best friends

Summerfest schedule: July 14, 2-9 p.m.; July 15, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; July 16, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

As downtown Kirkland attracts increasing attention for its high-quality galleries, Kirkland Arts Center is setting the standard of what a community-based arts center can be.

Catering to the 40,000 or so patrons expected to attend, more than 120 juried artists will exhibit, demonstrate and sell artwork in clay, glass, wood, painting, photography and jewelry.

Kirkland Avenue will be devoted to demonstrating artists and artists in action, with sparks flying as festival- goers try fiery raku-style ceramics, molten bronze casting and glass fusing. KAC's artist-in-action booths give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at artmaking, as well as the chance to explore their own artistry.

"Summerfest is about more than just presenting work by regional artists in a beautiful, outdoor setting - it is an opportunity for the community to experiment, learn and interact with art," notes Quinn Elliott, KAC's executive director.

100 pounds of clay

For two years running, the highlight of artists-in-action has been the extremely successful Iron Potter competition. Given 100 pounds a clay and a potter's wheel, two professional ceramic artists race against the clock and each other in an effort to create the most unique and inventive functional ceramic piece.

This year's competitors include challenger John Taylor, a nationally-known sculptor and potter and reigning champion Paul Metivier, head of the Green River Community College Ceramics Program.

Juried art, ceramics, photography

Summerfest will feature handcrafted work by more than 110 local and national artists includeLiz Gamberg, Kalan Intawong, John Hansen and Lisa Lamoureaux.

Among the 14 juried categories are painting, ceramics, photography, jewelry, glass, fiber, garden art and wood. Jurors include: Judith Heim (Kirkland Arts Center board member and artist chair of Summerfest committee), Patricia Rovzar (Kirkland gallery owner) and Jason Huff (Kirkland Arts Center artistic director).

Live music

Throughout the weekend, local favorites such as Little Big Man, Soul Flight, Cambalache, Yeke Yeke, Balkanarama and the Nelda Swiggett Band will be performing and variety of world music. Check the KAC Web site for more details.

Wine tasting and vittles

For the second year in a row, Summerfest will host a wine tasting garden under the Pavilion at Kirkland's Marina Park. In its inaugural year, the garden attracted nearly 20,000 wine enthusiasts.

Each winery will feature up to three of their distinct varietals and winery staff and Washington state wine ambassadors will be available to discuss selections and answer questions.

Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase bottles of their favorite vintages - many of which are unavailable for purchase through retail outlets - at the wine shop.

Among the 14 participating wineries include Silver Spur, Fort Walla Walla, Terra Blanca, Piety Flats and Maryhill. There is no cost to enter the tasting garden. A tasting package can be purchased for $15 plus service fee in advance and $20 at the gate, and includes one souvenir wine glass and six tasting tickets. Individual tastes can also be purchased at the event for $2.50.

The wine garden will be open from 4-9 p.m. July 14; 12-8 p.m. July 15; and 12-4:30 p.m. July 16.

Tickets may be purchased at participating Kirkland shops and restaurants or at

At select times throughout the weekend, the wine garden will also feature demonstrations and sampling of specialty menu items from the Kirkland restaurants: Marina Park Grill, Sake House and Mixtura.

Proceeds from Summerfest help support Kirkland Arts Center's gallery, education and community outreach programs.

For more information, please call 822-7161 or visit the Kirkland Arts Center Web site at[[In-content Ad]]