Tasteful Art

The brainstorm of Jacqueline Kurt and Vivian Helena is bringing an innovative art project to the Mountain Area.

The “Celebration of Tasteful Art” exhibit at Timberline Gallery is a collaboration between 16 artists paired with 16 Eastern Madera County restaurants. The concept was to have artists create pieces inspired by a specific restaurant.

“When we first proposed this idea to the restaurant owners and managers, they responded with great enthusiasm,” Kurt said. “Each artist learned all they could about their partnered restaurant, including menu, food preparation, ambiance, staff, and location. After interviews and observations, and perhaps a meal or two, the artists returned to their studios to create an artistic impression of the establishment using their specialty media.”

Helena said a variety of artistic mediums will be represented in the exhibit including fiber art, weaving, watercolor, pastel, oil, jewelry, sculpture, and photography.

The “Celebration of Tasteful Art” exhibit at Timberline Gallery” will open 2-4 p.m., Saturday, July 18, with the first of three receptions and appetizers offered by that night’s featured restaurants. The entire exhibition will hang from July 18 through Aug. 2, at the gallery.

The first reception includes the artwork of Julie Mitchell (Oka), Wendy Denton (DiCicco’s), Anita Stoll (The Blue Heron), Lola Nelson (Iron Horse BBQ), Janet Morita (Time for Tea), Dick Nelson (Pete’s Place).

Lola Nelson joined the Timberline Gallery in September, 1986, just five months after the co-op was formed. While she paints a large variety of subject matter, she is best known for her portrayals of steam trains, old tractors, wildlife, and national parks.

Nelson was born on a farm in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Equally versatile in oils, watercolor, pastels, and woodcarving, Nelson has earned more than 300 awards in area, national, and international juried shows since 1982.

“My husband Richard and I decided to drop by Iron Horse BBQ and have lunch about a month ago,” Nelson said. “The food and the service was great. The decor is pleasant and gives the appeal of a train station of early America.”

Nelson said she is a steam train enthusiast and the ‘train’ attracted her attention.

“Mike Peterson, the owner, told us that he had worked in the BBQ business for many years in southern California,” Nelson said. “His 19-year dream of his own business in Oakhurst finally became a reality a year ago. I am sure that Iron Horse BBQ will continue to be a great place to have a meal and a real asset to the Oakhurst community.”

Nelson’s husband, Richard, created a relief wood carving of Yosemite Valley for Pete’s Place for the exhibit.

Pete Kanas, the owner of Pete’s Place, began his restaurant career at the age of 16 when his family immigrated to the U.S. from Greece. His first restaurant was established in Southern California 47 years ago.

“We have enjoyed the food at Pete’s Place for several years,” Richard said. “Since I work in wood, I decided to do a relief carving of Yosemite Valley as you see it from the tunnel, in honor of the park celebrating its 125th Anniversary this year.

The July 18 reception will feature an additional treat - Patti “Kizan” Hummel, who has studied at The Tokyo Sogetsu School of Ikebana, will give a special demonstration of Japanese floral arranging.

A second reception will be held 2-4 p.m., Saturday, July 25. The featured artists and restaurants will be Francis Ades (Taste of China), De Sheldon (Sweetwater Steakhouse), Raymond McGee (Pops Family Restaurant), Vivian Helena (Alice’s Cookhouse BBQ), and David Caris (El Cid Mexican Cuisine).

The last reception, 2-4 p.m., Saturday, Aug.1, will feature artist Merylyn Whited (Supernaw’s Bar-B-Q), Zyg Zee (Cool Bean), Karen Tillison (South Gate Brewing Co.), Jacqueline Kurtt (Jade Gazebo), and Sandy Kowallis (Crab Cakes Restaurant).

Appetizers will be offered by each participating restaurant and each reception.

“The public is welcome to come support the local artists and the participating restaurants and join in the fun,” Helena said. “There is no charge for the exhibit or for the three receptions.”

Details: Timberline Gallery, 40982 Highway 41, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily, (559) 683-3345.