Archive for Sunday, October 8, 1995

LAWRENCE FESTIVALS CELEBRATE DIVERSITY

October 8, 1995

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Artists and cooks satisfied multicultural appetites on a magnificently clear autumn afternoon in Lawrence.

The many cultures and artistic traditions that have found homes in Lawrence blended Saturday in Buford M. Watson Jr. Park.

On one side of the park, artists displayed paintings, sculptures, prints, jewelry and pottery. Musicians performed on a stage in the center of the park, while diners picked from German, Pakistani, Brazilian, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese and Chinese offerings near the park's famous locomotive.

And, of course, two staples of what might be called Lawrence culture were well-represented: Indian tacos and barbecue.

The park held two festivals in one: the fourth annual Harvest of Arts, a show organized by a committee of local artists, and the seventh annual Celebration of Cultures Festival, also organized by a panel of community volunteers.

"The idea is to celebrate the diversity of mankind," said Ed Thornton of Lawrence, treasurer of the cultural festival's board of directors.

On Saturday, he staffed a booth distributing literature about the Baha'i religion.

Nearby, Soji Babalola of Topeka sold jewelry and clothes from Nigeria and soapstone sculptures from Kenya.

Bill Blair and Jody Taylor Craig knew of nothing similar where they live in Orange County, Calif. They were in Lawrence Saturday visiting friends.

"We enjoyed coming down and seeing the exhibits and talking with people," Blair said as the last of an Indian taco disappeared from his paper plate.

Adolf and Loli Floryanowich, a husband and wife pair of painters from Olathe, hoped to sell enough paintings to at least cover the $60 in fees they paid to exhibit in the arts show.

The art itself varied, some by schooled professionals, some by part-time hobbyists.

Nine-year-old Katy Seibel sold drawings of fairies, mermaids and suns for $1 to $2 each. Her sister, Ella, 11, sold baskets of soaps and shampoos. Four-year-old Copper Ramberg sold lemonade -- 50 cents for a small, 75 cents for a large.

For Marilynn Elliott of Lawrence, the arts fair was one of her first recent opportunities to display her watercolor, oil and acrylic paintings. A 43-year-old mother of three, she returned to painting in the past year after a 10-year hiatus. She hopes to become a successful professional artist.

"It's real easy to give up," she said. "You have to enjoy it. You have to keep working."

She didn't expect many sales.

"It's all for exposure," she said. "I feel like I should show every chance I get."

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