Fine arts celebrated at Portage Harvest Festival

2013-10-05T18:30:00Z 2013-10-05T22:21:11Z Fine arts celebrated at Portage Harvest FestivalBy Susan O’Leary Times Correspondent
October 05, 2013 6:30 pm  • 

Portage | Sampling homemade chocolates, sipping wine, and browsing fine art sounded like a good idea for three friends having a “girls day out” Saturday.

Linda Coleman, Barb Dipert, and Sharon Mishevich got together to enjoy the Harvest Festival Fine Arts Fair at Woodland Park’s Oakwood Grand Hall.

"This was something different," said Coleman, of Hobart.

The juried art show, now in its third year, featured 21 artists from Indiana, Illinois and Michigan who specialize in photography, oil and watercolor painting as well as wood, ceramics and pottery, and mixed media.

As the Joel Henderson Duo played relaxing acoustic guitar, visitors drifted from one artist booth to another, while others sampled cheese from Good-to-Go and wines from Easley, Butler and Buck Creek wineries.

Portage parks program director Pam Passera said she received assistance from Rita Berg of the Chesterton Art Center, when creating the show three years ago.

“She schooled me in how to run an art show,” Passera said. “This year, we have the largest variety of artists than we’ve ever had before. Each year, we increase by a couple.”

Stone sculptor Wayne Harshberger, of Goshen, is a master of alabaster.

Harshberger obtains large blocks of the stone from Utah, Colorado, and Italy to create his one-of-a-kind sculptures of pigs, elephants and owls.

But Harshberger said his “trademark work” is a tabletop alabaster Mobius strip, a continuous loop of alabaster without beginning or end.

“It’s called an ‘endless path’” Harshberger said of the green, orange, and raspberry-colored pieces. “No one else does this in the Midwest.”

Harshberger, a retired stone and brick mason, also is a regular entrant in the Chesterton Art Fair and Griffith’s A Park Full of Art event.

“It gives me a reason to get up in the morning,” Harshberger said. “I’m very blessed to have this opportunity — I found my niche.”

Coleman, Dipert and Mishevich said they weren’t looking for any particular art to take home, but a highlight was sampling butter toffee and white and dark chocolate raspberry clusters from Kim’s Specialty Chocolates.

“I like art, but this was an added benefit,” said Coleman, of the sweet treats. “It’s all very good.”

The Harvest Festival Fine Arts Fair continues today from noon to 5 p.m.

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