Festival of the Arts

Ireland Miller, 6, of Nampa, reacts to having her face painted as a butterfly at the 25th Annual Nampa Festival of the Arts on Saturday at Lakeview Park. The free two-day event continues Sunday and features nearly 200 art booths along with music, food, and games. Adam Eschbach/IPT

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NAMPA — There’s still time to check out the 25th Annual Nampa Festival of the Arts, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at Lakeview Park.

Almost 200 artists — with items ranging from pottery to wood carvings to feather paintings — have set up booths at the free event.

This year, people purchasing art are leaning toward functional items, art judge and owner of Artistblue Gallery James Robbins said.

“A tea pot, a dinner set, something that maybe you can put in your garden — that’s what the trend has been,” he said.

Robbins chose a grand prize winner out of 29 competing artists Saturday, with the festival running from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

A portrait of a Native American man painted on a feather grabbed the judge’s attention beyond all the other pieces.

“The significant feature that caught my eye was that ...  it was so detailed, even on a feather. You could actually see the glimmer of the water in each eye,” Robbins said. “Whether the image had been on a feather or ... on a canvas, it was the sheer amount of detail and expression in the face. One eye almost seemed sad, while the other eye seemed defiant, yet both eyes were exactly symmetrical to each other.”

Winner Brandy Davis, owner of Feather Art by Brandy Davis, finds her inspiration largely from her heritage in the Lipan Apache Band of Texas, she said.

About seven years ago, she decided to use the feathers she had laying around as a canvas for portraits.

“I’ve seen other people do wildlife — you see a lot of wolves and bears … and birds (on feathers) — but I don’t think I’ve ever seen portraits, and especially not Native American portraits,” she said. “It’s something about seeing the Native American portrait on a feather, it does just kind of go together.”

Originally from Fresno, Calif. and having recently moved to Star, Idaho, this is Davis’ first year at Nampa’s festival. She is one of many artists to recently join.

“It seems like (the festival) stagnated for a little bit, and the last few years … it’s been growing,” the event’s coordinator Wendy Davis, program supervisor with the Nampa Recreation Department, said. “We were at 150 (to) 160 booths, and last year we jumped to about 194, and are there again this year. … I don’t know if it’s the economy — if people are looking for ways to make more money —  or if the event has just continued to be strong and a popular thing and we’ve drawn in more people.”

Attendee Brian Ferrall, Marsing, came to the festival because he appreciates handmade, local items.

“Anything that’s made locally and not used by a big corporation to sell to the masses is pretty nice,” he said. “We’re here locally, we enjoy the homemade stuff. If you can buy it locally from people that have put a little bit of thought into it, it’s kind of neat.”

People also enjoyed live music, food and drinks.

“It’s a very festive feel, but it’s a calm feel,” Wendy Davis said. “People are just having a good time, … they’re sitting under trees, they’re enjoying a snow

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