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Chasing Down The Muse: High hopes for summer festivals

Chasing Down the Muse

The pause is as important as the note. —Truman Fisher, composer

In life, as in music, the pauses are equal to the actions — the notes — in creating the whole. I ponder this truth as I take my own pause between the actions necessary to getting the summer’s festivals up and running and the actual startup.

The Sawdust Art Festival had its Preview Night first this week on Tuesday, followed by the Art-A-Fair on Wednesday night. While Preview Nights are big party atmosphere occasions and energetic and exciting, the pause following is a welcome and necessary one. Though brief, the respite of a couple of days allows all the artists and staff to step back and breathe for a moment before the long days ahead.

No one knows for certain what all those long days may bring. Hopes are high. A lot rides on what transpires over these summer days and nights. The pause is an opportunity, not only to rest and refresh but to give thought to goals and how best to reach them. Since I, along with booth partner and fellow artist Suzette Rosenthal, am in the Sawdust Art Festival, I can attest to the fact that there are a lot of hopes and dreams for this summer’s show. Change is afoot and my own hope is that it carries all the artists along with it. We humans struggle with changes always, but perhaps we can give pause to think of the opportunities that reside within some of the changes. We’ll see.

Just to keep you abreast of some of these changes and what’s “up” this year for at least the festival of which I am a part: Honda has come on board at the Sawdust Art Festival as one of the sponsors. Two Honda autos will be on the grounds throughout the summer, with the all-new 2011 CR-Z sporty hybrid being part of an opportunity drawing to be held on the grounds at 4 p.m. Sunday, August 29. I’m definitely going to get myself a ticket. You should too. Tickets will be $5 or $20 for five of them. Artist Ryan Gourley had the winning design for the Honda Insight car, which now appears to be a decked out old “woodie.” Fun stuff! The winner even gets to pick out the color.

Rich Costales and Kailee McGee (daughter of Sawdust artist September McGee) are filming on the grounds throughout the summer, making a documentary film of the Sawdust Festival from booth picking right through closing day in August. The vibrant young film makers are qualified, highly professional and enthusiastic about what I see as a daunting adventure. How do you condense a period lasting more than three months into an hour or so? How do you capture the roughly 200 artists, not to mention their thousands of customers, on such a brief film and do all of them justice? Still, these intrepid film makers are taking this project on with gusto, if not enough money (they, too, could use sponsors.)

Then, there are the 70-plus Collectors’ Panels created with wonderful imagination by Sawdust artists to raise money for the art education fund. These beautiful panels are spread out over the grounds in the various artists’ booths through the summer, with an auction to be held on Aug. 22. The panels can be viewed at any time and silent bids taken as well as a “Buy it Now” option. Participating artists outdid themselves on this one!

There is more, so much more. Perhaps I have titillated you just a wee bit. My moment’s pause has conjured up a wonderful vision in my mind for a summer of delight. There will be new faces, good food and entertainment, many special folks to meet and to visit with. I look forward to the upcoming “notes” of the summer.

To check any of this out, you can go to, or just come to the Sawdust Art Festival and see it all for yourself. I’ll be there, maybe in pause mode at times, but definitely creating a piece of the scintillating whole.

Cherril Doty chases down the muse wherever she takes her in order to explore the many wondrous mysteries of life. You can contact her at (714) 745-9973 or