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Visit the biggest arts festival north of Seattle

The biggest arts festival north of Seattle is coming up the first weekend in August, and as usual there are new features that will enliven the Anacortes Arts Festival.

Last year steamroller prints were a big hit at the festival — http://www.anacortesartsfestival.com/art_steamroller.cfm — this year there's a much simpler art form: chalk drawings.

The Festival will breath new life into the art form, and festival goers can try their hand as well.

The working artist section of the Experience Art exhibit will be Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 3 and 4, north of Second Street on Commercial Avenue. The demonstrations will feature large-scale chalk painting by artists Brian Major, Ron Pattern and Laurie Potter.

Major frequently participates in arts festivals throughout the Pacific Northwest, recreating famous works of art, but using chalk as his medium and the ground as his canvas.

“It’s something most people don’t get to see — chalk painting of this scale,” said the festival’s Rita James. “I’m just always looking for something that’s different.”

During the festival, Major will recreate “The Kiss” by Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt. The recreation will be more than 20 feet square.

Festival goers can become literal participants if they care to try their hand at chalk painting by filling in a square of Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” in the audience participation area.

“As the weekend progresses, they’ll see this piece sort of evolve,” James said.

Other demonstrations in the experience art area will include stone sculpture by Tracy Powell, chainsaw sculpture by Steve Baccus, weaving and spinning by the Skagit Valley and Whidbey weaver’s guilds, tradi-tional basketry with Katherine Lewis, wood turning with Northwest Washington Woodturners, and Plein Air Washington painters.

There's much more to the festival of course — free entertainment on two stages, beer and wine gardens, and all the art.

The 257 booth artisans that fill Commercial Avenue Fourth Street to Tenth Street will feature new and returning 2D work, ceramics, fiber art, food products, metal and wood crafts, glass and jewelry.

Arts at the Port in the Transit Shed warehouse on the Guemes Channel includes 46 juried regional artists, stone sculpture in our Allen Family Focus Gallery and the ever-popular ACYA youth art exhibit.

Also new this year is the Festival Fashion Show on the KPLU stage from 2-3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3.