Art Fest offers artists a chance to show off their talents

June 26, 2005|by CANDICE BOSLEY

HARPERS FERRY, W.VA. - Chris Nelson made fluid motions with his hands as he surveyed a piece of wood, visualizing how he planned to carve an intricate design of a cougar descending a mountain into the walnut.

Then, he revved up his chain saw.

Along with grinders, chisels and the claw end of a hammer, Nelson uses a chain saw to create wooden sculptures.

Nelson also carves intricate designs into wooden frames for his oil-on-canvas paintings, many of which were on display Saturday at Art Fest, held at Art Unlimited outside of Harpers Ferry.

The daylong outdoor festival also featured live music and food. Two more such festivals are planned for July 16 and Aug. 6, from 1 to 10 p.m., said Scott Crum, who owns the art gallery.


Nelson, 29, taught himself how to carve his wooden sculptures, starting in college. He lives on a 240-acre farm outside of New Market, Md.

"I just love doing it," Nelson said of creating his artwork. "It's a lot like prayer, or meditation."

Proceeds from the festival were to be donated to the American Heart Association.

Crum's father and brother both died of heart attacks, and Crum said his life changed after he had a heart attack a year and a half ago. He opened his gallery with a vision of providing an outlet for local artists to display their work.

"I'm all about promoting young artists and new artists," said Crum, who represents 20 national artists and 15 local artists. "I want to see all these guys keep doing what they're doing."

Crum said he hopes the festival unites art with music in the community.

Although working as a construction manager in Washington, D.C., pays his bills, Crum also is a woodworker who specializes in making furniture.

Crum opened the gallery last December, and hopes to soon offer studio space, allowing for in-house artists to show their work. Pieces on display in the colorful, eclectic gallery range in price from $5 to $6,000 - with Crum saying he wanted to ensure all visitors can afford a unique handcrafted piece of art.

Ultimately, Crum said, he hopes to quit his job and "make sawdust in the studio."

Another artist at the festival, Judy Jandora, started her career in the dentistry field, moved to the real estate industry in her 30s and now, in her 40s, paints murals.

At the festival, she was painting a large piece depicting a female figure, a bee and flowers.

Jandora is self-taught and said she enjoys painting large spaces.

"I'm not even sure if I could do small canvasses," Jandora said.

If you go

What: Art Fest

When: July 16 and Aug. 6, 1 to 10 p.m.

Where: The lawn of Art Unlimited at 54 Old Taylor Lane, off U.S. 340 outside of Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

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