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Hillcrest Festival of Fine Arts

Artist: Sandra Grassi Nelipovich

     The Hillcrest Festival of Fine Arts will be celebrating its 53rd year of showcasing a wide variety of quality art on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, February 22, 23 & 24, 2013. One of the premier juried art shows in the West, the weekend event attracts thousands of art aficionados – young and old – from all over California. Admission and parking are free for all attendees.

     The festival has an extensive variety of art available for purchase at a wide range of prices: watercolor and oil paintings, unique jewelry, ceramics, acrylics, pottery, hand-woven clothing, photography, stained and fused glass, metal and wire sculpture, woodworking, and a great selection of handcrafted gifts in the Arts & Crafts Boutique. Each year many new artists, as well as long-time favorites, are chosen to participate.  There will also be many artists demonstrating their skills throughout the weekend, including weaving, painting, jewelry-making, wood-turning, and origami. Festival attendees can browse, shop, enjoy musical entertainment, and have lunch at the Starving Artist Café. 

Artist: Sandra Grassi Nelipovich

     There are two Featured Artists for the 2013 Festival. One is Sandra Grassi Nelipovich, a silk batik artist. Born and raised in Illinois, she graduated from the University of Illinois with a major in Art Education. She did graduate work in Florence, Italy, at Northwestern University, and at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she learned the art of batik. Using a new and modern approach to the old technique of batik, Sandra fashions fanciful works of art that have a unique primitive feeling. The batiks are done in the traditional manner by dipping each piece in dye between each waxing. The intricate designs and many colors are created through a long process of numerous dye baths and waxings. Smaller pieces can take up to ten days to complete, while major pieces take three to four weeks. After each piece is completed, the wax is then ironed off, and the art is mounted on acid-free museum board and either matted or framed. All of her batiks are original and one of a kind.  She has exhibited in galleries and shows in California, Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey, winning numerous awards for her work. Her batiks are in many collections, including McDonald’s Corporation corporate headquarters, school systems, and library systems. She says that “Fanciful themes are the subject of most of my batiks. I believe that art can be fun and optimistic and still make a statement.”

     The other Featured Artist is LeRoy Schmaltz, multi-media artist who co-owns Oceanic Arts in Whittier. As a youngster, LeRoy was very interested in art, and his parents sent him to art classes at Otis Art Institute and Barnsdall Park Art Center. He then studied art at Cal State Los Angeles, Pasadena School of Fine Art and Rio Hondo College. In 1956 he and his business partner started the company Oceanic Arts, which imports, designs and creates carving décor in the South Pacific Island style for stores, restaurants, theme parks, hotels, and homes. With 56 years of experience, LeRoy has become a sought-after expert on all things tiki. He was recently featured in Disney Twenty-Three magazine and was the Featured Carver for Tiki Magazine’s fall/winter issue. LeRoy is also an active member of “Seeds”, a Christian art group that has held shows at universities and churches in California, Nebraska and Illinois.

     Festival hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Friday and Saturday, 11:30 am to 5:00 pm Sunday. Admission and parking are free. Hillcrest Congregational Church is located at 2000 West Road, La Habra Heights, near the border of Whittier. For more information call (562) 947-3755 or visit the website at www.hillcrest-church.org.

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