Just for a moment, close your eyes and imagine: It’s summer – more specifically, the fourth weekend in June – and the natural setting and friendly small town atmosphere of Kane, PA has lured a group of fine artists and artisans to Evergreen Park for Art in the Wilds.
They have assembled to display their work under the shade of some old oak, black cherry, and hemlock trees. Their white tents are set up and wonderful teases— brilliantly colored canvases, tiny boxes with shimmering treasures, smooth-as-satin woodturnings, and delicately drawn figures—are unpacked. The artists are setting the stage for a beautiful show.
Sitting on a porch on a spring evening in 2006, Art in the Wilds, its name inspired by the state-designated “Pennsylvania Wilds” region its located in, began as a discussion among friends. Aware of the pre-existing interest in the area for the arts, they asked, “Wouldn’t it be great to make Kane a destination for fine artwork?” They decided to move forward with the necessary research and organization. The rest is history.
Art in the Wilds is organized by an all-volunteer team that works year-round to make it all happen— everything from grant writing to marketing and volunteer recruitment happens in-house. Placing a top priority on providing an exceptional show, with the goal to expand the role of the arts in our rural communities, Art in the Wilds has, from the beginning, placed a strong emphasis on showcasing quality work, the organizers aim to meet the needs of the participating artists while providing its visitors with a fresh experience.
Interested artists apply long before the end of winter, since it is a juried fine-arts show, all work — which must be created by hand — is judged on overall impact, originality, presentation design and a mastering of their chosen technique. They come primarily from Pennsylvania and neighboring states in the mid-Atlantic region.
Located in the northern Alleghenies of Pennsylvania and surrounded on three sides by the Allegheny National Forest, Art in the Wilds attracts visitors from a wide radius, including western Pennsylvania, western New York and eastern Ohio. It is well-known that Art in the Wilds is an ideal setting to browse and purchase the artwork of the creative artists and artisans. Although each year is different, past shows have included acrylic, oil, and watercolor painting, drawing, pastels, woodturning and woodworking, jewelry, photography, ceramics, glass, fiber arts, leather and metal sculpture. The show organizers work hard to represent quality artwork and a balance of the different creative media to ensure a tantalizing shopping experience.
The show is an experience. Browsing the artwork, visitors have an opportunity to talk with each artist and discover what inspires them to create their unique artwork and artists are encouraged to demonstrate their techniques on site. Watching as a mound of wet clay is turned into a fine bowl or mug is both informative and inspiring for the viewer. This year, artist demonstrations will also occur throughout the weekend.
Visitors to Art in the Wilds can stroll over to the historic Kane Depot, one block from the park. There they will find ArtWorks at the Depot, an artist cooperative, which displays and sells the work of area artists. There, you will also find local historic artifacts and a selection of Holgate toys. A variety of food vendors are also available in Evergreen Park or visitors may choose to eat at one of the many restaurants available in ‘Uptown’ Kane.
Additionally, a student exhibition and competition featuring budding high school students from McKean and surrounding counties will be showcased this year.
The Art in the Wilds’ mission is to expand the role of the arts in our rural communities, to promote economic development and to provide a platform for artists to display their works. The friendly atmosphere of the Kane community, along with the quality of the work being exhibited, has contributed to the growth of the show. The all-volunteer committee works in collaboration with the PA Wilds Artisan Trail, PA Route 6 Artisan Trail, the Allegheny National Forest Vacation Bureau (ANFVB), and the Kane Chamber of Commerce.
Art in the Wilds is funded by grants from the Kane Community Development Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency and by vital local donations and sponsors. Major sponsorship contributions come from the Kane Community Hospital, an Affiliate of UPMC, Collins Pine Division of Kane Hardwood, Kane Rotary Club, Friends of Westline and Zook Motors, Inc. and other corporate and individual donations.
The Tenth Annual Art in the Wilds show will be held on Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is housed by the beautifully wooded Evergreen Park, located on Route 66, which is also Fraley Street, between Chestnut Street and Birch Street in Kane. We are proud to offer free admission and parking so that all people can attend the show.
Check out www.artinthewilds.org or www.facebook.com/ArtInTheWilds for more information. For tourism and travel information, please visit www.visitANF.com or www.kanepa.com.