Dogwood Fine Arts Festival comes to Dowagiac May 10-19

Published 2:47 pm Friday, April 12, 2013

The Dogwood Fine Arts Festival May 10-19 will be free except for three attractions.
With the tea “taking a nap,” Toast ’n’ Jam renamed Klassics for Kids, Heddon Museum tours, a retrospective gallery show featuring everybody’s art teacher, Margaret Hunter, the grand opening of Dowagiac Area History Museum (DAHM) and three artists outside it to “Catch in the Act,” 2013 shapes up as the freshest lineup in years.

Festival Secretary Bobbie Jo Hartline likes singing to the choir, as she did April 4 to Dowagiac Rotary Club at Elks Lodge 889.
Rotary supports storyteller Andy Offutt Irwin’s time with preschoolers, along with primary sponsor Securit Metal Products, Clayton and Shirley Wiker’s rivet company on 92nd Avenue at Seven-Mile Corner.
“I love telling my neighbors about what I do, but I don’t speak with my voice. There are hundreds of volunteers who make this happen,” Hartline said. “I’m having more fun than ever and very proud to introduce my community to the world.”
Hartline will be introducing the likes of  Arlo Guthrie who is returning to Dowagiac as part is his tour, “Here Comes the Kid,” his tribute to his father, Woody.
There is also a charge for author Nicole Krauss.

Irwin, who has been on Dogwood’s wish list for a decade, costs $6 at 7:30 p.m. May 15 in the Dale A. Lyons Building at Southwestern Michigan College.
There will also be a story master class from 7 to 9 p.m. May 14 at festival headquarters in Huntington Bank, 207 Commercial St.
“I’m so proud that in the economy we’re in, every other event is free this year,” Hartline said. “This may be the most amount of free events we’ve ever offered. We didn’t start with that intention, it just turned out that way” thanks to collaboration.
Krauss, 38, called “one of America’s most important novelists” by the New York Times, opens the festival Friday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. at the middle school Performing Arts Center.
Listed by The New Yorker in 2010 as one of “20 under 40” writers to watch, she wrote “Great House” (2010), a finalist for the National Book Award and the Orange Prize; and “The History of Love” (2005), which won the Saroyan Prize for International Literature and was short-listed for the Orange, Medicis and Femina prizes. Her first novel, “Man Walks into a Room” (2002), was a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year finalist.
In 2007, Krauss was selected as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire and Best American Short Stories. Besides having her books translated into more than 35 languages, she married 2007 visiting author Jonathan Safran Foer in June 2004.
“She has quite a following,” Hartline said. “I’m getting calls from all over the nation asking, ‘Where is Dowagiac?’ and they even try to pronounce it, bless their hearts.”
K&M Machine-Fabricating in Cassopolis sponsors Krauss.
Tickets cost $60 for reception and main floor; $25, main floor; and $20, upper level.
On May 11, the Visual Arts Committee offers Lyons Industries’ free “Caught in the Act” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside DAHM, which has its grand opening 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 13. Special festival museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
“Three West Michigan artists will be in an open-air studio setting,” Hartline said. “That front lawn will become an art gallery where you will be able to watch them work, ask questions and, if there’s something you see you must have, you can buy it and take it home.”
Brochures describe Irwin, the storyteller from Covington, Ga., as possessing “a manic Silly-Putty voice and hilarious stories. He is equal parts mischievous schoolboy and the Marx Brothers, peppered with a touch of the Southern balladeer. People are drawn to him like magnets to a refrigerator. And inside the door, it’s all Mountain Dew and Jolt Cola.”
“I had the opportunity to speak to him on the phone and I think I know him already,” Hartline said. “He’s so disarming.”

Hunter’s reception will be from 5 to 7 p.m. May 2 in the Dogwood gallery at Huntington Bank. Special hours May 3-17 are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with regular hours through June on Wednesdays and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“She’s a wild woman on canvas,” Hartline said. “Wait until you see her work.”
Hunter promoted establishment of Southwestern Michigan College with a poster contest in stores across Cass County almost 50 years ago.
Klassics for Kids at 2 p.m. May 11 at festival headquarters introduces children ages 3 to 12 to classical music with Lake Effect Winds.
“These musicians all teach during the day and perform at night,” Hartline said. “Up Front Art Walk lets people visit Dowagiac 24/7. They can get an ice cream cone, walk down the street and see 23 pieces of juried art. There will be glass, pottery, sculpture, water colors, oils — a little bit of everything. You choose the People’s Choice. I’m so excited (Mayor) Don and Joan (Lyons) are opening their hidden gem for special Dogwood tours” May 10 and 18 from 2 to 4:30 p.m. The former home of James Heddon’s Sons displays more than 1,500 lures, 160 reels and 215 rods. Regular hours are Tuesday evenings, 6:30 to 8:30; the last Sunday of every month, 1:30 to 4 p.m.; and other times by appointment at (269) 782-5698.
Youth Fine Arts Night, the districtwide student showcase at Union High School, anchors Thursday, May 16. Art exhibits open at 6 p.m.
The Chieftain Marching Band brings down the house if not the roof for the finale.
“Don’t anyone tell the Raiders in Decatur because I don’t want to start a pirate-Chieftain war, but it makes me proud to be a Chieftain. Dogwood is one piece in the mosaic that makes this a great place to live, work and visit.
“When people come, they come back.”