LakeFest opens door to art, music and fun

Event begins tonight at Lake Kittamaqundi, runs through Sunday

LakeFest opens door to arts


When asked to use a full-sized door as a canvas, some artists created designs with animals, flowers or abstract shapes.

Columbia artist Linda Press painted a picture of another door.

Her painting depicts a door opening onto a view of the Tuscany countryside in Italy, and, painted on the other side of the real door, is a view looking into a house.

"It just seemed made for this door project to have a door to paint in the door," she said. "Then it gives you a nice three-dimensional quality. "

The first 17 doors of the Making an Entrance project will be on display at Lake Kittamaqundi as part of LakeFest, a free, three-day festival of music, art and family activities that kicks off the Columbia Festival of the Arts.

LakeFest starts at 5 p.m. and runs through Sunday.

The doors will appear at other venues during the festival, which continues through June 24. The roster this year includes rock band Blood, Sweat and Tears; Irish band Grada; Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers; Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra; and comedians RENO and Ty Barnett.

Incorporating a public art project into the festival "is something I wanted to do, because I am a visual artist," said Nichole Hickey, the festival's executive director. "I am always trying to find ways to more fully integrate the visual arts into what we do over the course of the festival."

The project committee chose the theme of doors as a way to attract sponsors.

"People like functional art, things they can use in their homes," Hickey said.

She also said a door works as a canvas for artists who work in two dimensions, and as a starting point for those who want to carve or sculpt.

Artists submitted designs, and 120 proposals were posted on the Internet. The organizers sought sponsors to buy the doors for $2,000, to be split between the artist and the festival.

Hickey said festival staff and volunteers did not have the time they needed to make the project flourish, so they are extending it for a year. She said she hopes displaying the first doors will help generate excitement for the project and that more time "allows us to work [the sponsor] angle over the next year."

A second part of the project - called Opening Doors: Making a Difference - is on display through June 25 at the Columbia Art Center in Long Reach. There will be a reception for the exhibit June 17 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

For that part of the project, the art center invited about 70 elected officials, educators, artists, nonprofit leaders and other prominent Howard County citizens to decorate foot-high wooden boxes with hinged doors to depict what brought them to their leadership roles.

They were allowed to seek help from family and friends, said Rebecca Bafford, director of the art center, and they were encouraged to "focus on the message they want to convey rather than having to be confident in their artistic ability."

Some leaders used photographs and quotes to highlight the people and events that inspired them. Others went more three dimensional.

Toby Orenstein, owner of Toby's Dinner Theatre, submitted a box with purple curtains on the front and a tiny re-creation of a dressing room inside, complete with working lights.

Stephanie DeAbreu, a development specialist at Hospice of Howard County, made a door with a keyhole cut out of the middle, revealing silk flowers, a butterfly and a mirror.

"We've been very impressed by the amount of effort and skill and craftsmanship that has gone into [the boxes]," Bafford said.

The full-sized doors, which will be on display at LakeFest, also required a significant amount of work, including getting them into artists' studios, preparing them to be weather-proof and creating the actual designs.

"I like to work large," said Press, whose oil paintings have been selected for international competitions. "I had the image right away for the door on the door. It just seemed like a real challenge, real intimidating."

Press has not been able to find a sponsor for her door, but she created it anyway to give potential sponsors an example.

Janet Gohres' door, with a painting of sea turtles on it, attracted a sponsor who wants to put it in his North Carolina beach house.

Gohres, of Falls Church, Va., previously painted a 3-D donkey for a public art project in Washington and painted sea birds for an Ocean City project. She heard about the Columbia project through the Lee Art Center In Arlington.

"It's a fun project," she said. "I like getting something that is actually going to go in someone's house."

But, she said, the late arrival of her sponsor has meant a lot of painting at night and early in the morning around her children's schedules.

"I'm fairly meticulous," she said. "The spots are driving me nuts."

LakeFest attendees can see the doors firsthand as they enjoy live music on two stages, jugglers, clowns, kids' craft projects and other entertainment.

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