College Hill Arts Festival- an annual attraction at UNI

Sunshine, music and people filled the University of Northern Iowa campus at the corner of College and West 23rd Streets July 16-17 for the 32nd annual College Hill Arts Festival.

Each summer, the festival brings the UNI campus to life with art, music and food.

About 75 artists from various parts of the country attended the festival to showcase and sell their high-quality art in categories such as jewelry, sculpture, painting, pastel, ceramics, graphics/printmaking, mixed media, fiber, photography, glass and wood.

One artist present at the festival was Retta Hentschel from Aurora, Ill. She was showcasing her unique stained glass pieces. All of her stained glass artwork incorporates an antique dish or piece of contemporary glass. Every piece of glass that she incorporates she collected herself, and some of the pieces were collected from stained glass windows during WWII.

"They dismantled a lot of stained glass windows during the war because they needed the lead for bullets and things," she said. "I have found small jewels and things out of these windows that people have put in boxes instead of throw away, and I have found them at antique stores over the years to use for my own stained glass pieces."

Hentschel, who was at the College Hill Arts Festival for the first time, said her favorite piece was her giant stained glass mermaid.

"She took me four months to build," Hentschel said. "I knew I wanted to do a mermaid, so I decided to collect things made out of glass that are connected to the sea - shells, glass fish, etc."

One area of the mermaid contained a school of fish, and Hentschel said she found the glass pieces to make the school of fish in the dollar aisle at CVS pharmacy.

"I just look for little things to incorporate," she said. "It took about two years to collect everything to make her."

But Hentschel was just one artist at the festival with a story to tell - 74 other artists were in attendance with their own stories.

Cedar Falls resident Dorothy Frank was at the festival in search of some jewelry and to view the fine art.patrons at College Hill Arts Festival

"I love the jewelry," she said. "I also love to look at all the beautiful paintings even though I don't have a lot of room in my house for that kind of stuff."

Frank has been attending the festival every year that it has been in existence, and she was pleased it happened on a sunny day this year.

"I'm so happy to be here on such a beautiful day," she said.

The festival also featured live musical performances. Performances included Raldo Schneider and Friends, Orquesta Alto Maiz, Joe Price, Cawley & Dunn, Hands of Time, the Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre, guitarist Rick Vanderwall and the Bill Shepard Big Band.

A number of hands-on kids activities also took place. The Young Art Collectors Gallery featured artwork created by artists for $10 or less, encouraging young children to get interested in art.

The festival also featured a wide array of food including smoothies, gyros, kettle corn, pizza and more.

The College Hill Arts Festival has been named to Sunshine Artist magazine's list of "Best Fine Arts and Design Shows" in the United States for the past five years. The Cedar Valley Tourism Bureaus also named the festival the Event of the Year in 2006.

To learn more about the festival, visit http://www.chaf.cfu.net.

 

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