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Local artists show for festival of arts

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LeiLani Smith, owner and artist behind Gypsy Caravan Design Co., displayed her handmade clay jewelry and home décor for sale at the Ontario Festival of the Arts on Saturday. Smith’s booth featured her various artistic talents in graphic and textile design, polymer clay, and macramé handmade crafts. / photo by Maydeen Merino

LeiLani Smith, owner and artist behind Gypsy Caravan Design Co., displayed her handmade clay jewelry and home décor for sale at the Ontario Festival of the Arts on Saturday. Smith’s booth featured her various artistic talents in graphic and textile design, polymer clay, and macramé handmade crafts. / photo by Maydeen Merino

Maydeen Merino
Assistant Editor

The Ontario Festival of the Arts held its second annual festival to embrace the arts on Saturday, including art from local artists. 

There were 84 booths, 60 artists and several other community organizations from the city of Ontario, with the artists selling their work at the event as well. 

“Last year we had 38 booths and this year we have pretty much doubled,” event manager Nick Gonzalez said. “We have various forms of art such as oil painting, 3D work, mixed media, acrylics, ceramics, pottery, wood work; you name it we probably have it here.”

The festival had several events throughout the day such as dance performances, historic building tours, art classes and live music.

Allyson Steven, recent graduate of Middlebury College and local Ontario artist, purchased a booth to share her artwork featuring cats and other animals in her own style, similar to that of Tim Burton.

She has always been interested in participating in an arts festival so she can share her artwork with the city, she said. 

“I am really into painting cats,” Steven said. “I like to use weird colors with them, I have been trying to get into more dark, creepy cats with a Tim Burton style; he is one of my inspirations.” 

She was selling several prints of her artwork for an average of $15, including commissions of custom pet paintings. 

People are able to connect with Steven through her Instagram account @allykatartshop, where she accepts photos of pets.

LeiLani Smith, Ontario resident and local artist, was selling hand made items such as clay jewelry, home decor, graphic design, upcycled clothing and embroidery at her booth.

Smith owns Gypsy Caravan Design Co. as a way to sell her art and handmade creations. 

“I saw a lot of Australian artists doing polymer clay stuff and I loved the way it looked and wanted to try, and I have been obsessed ever since,” Smith said. 

She only recently began her journey through this craft three months ago, she said. Her company also had a recent start in 2019.

However, anyone who did not attend the festival can still order her work through her Instagram account, @gypsycaravandesignco. 

The event attracts all walks of life to enjoy the local artwork present in Ontario and the surrounding cities, such as residents of Ontario Rebecca and Eric Steen. 

“I was born and raised in Ontario, I grew up right here so I want to support the events,” Eric Steen said.

Rebecca Steen is also an artist herself who paints and creates custom jewelry, however she was at the event to attend rather than actively participate.

Although this is her second time visiting the event, she plans on participating next year.

“We are trying to promote Ontario as Southern California’s destination for arts and culture,” Gonzalez said. 

“We understand that is a very charged mission for us to do, but we are on the right path in making sure that we are promoting Ontario as a hub for arts and culture in the Inland Empire.”

Maydeen Merino can be reached at maydeen.merino@laverne.edu.

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