If you don’t know who Leno Prestini is he is one of the greatest self-taught folk artists the Northwest has ever produced. A very rare three-part exhibit of his work concludes this weekend. Don’t miss it. There is a great cover story about Prestini in this month’s North Columbia Monthly by Jack Nisbet, which you can find for free at Auntie’s. Here’s the show details:

The Heritage Network Celebrates the Life and Art of Leno Prestini
with Three Exhibits in August 2010

Flamboyant, adventurous, primitive, nonconformist, sensitive, vagabond, and philosopher are all descrip- tions of Leno Prestini (1906-1963) by writers from Colville, Washington to Los Angeles, California. Leno was an artist—creating over 100 paintings and drawings throughout his life, and a terra cotta modeler—providing decorative terra cotta for many buildings throughout the northwest. The paintings and terra cotta sculptures of this man of Clayton, Washington are works of outstanding artistic ability. Leno was also an adventurer and inventor— climbing mountains, searching for gold, and building his own diving gear from an old water heater tank and
garden hose. He built fireplaces and even painted on gold pans. Three historical societies will jointly display their collections of this unique and colorful man. Admission by donation to help with the expenses of setting up these exhibits. Everyone is welcome—some paintings have a mature theme.

COLVILLE, WASHINgTON — August 7 through 22
526 South Main Street — 10 am to 4 pm daily
Stevens County Historical Society, whose museum is located in Colville, will show their collection of over 70 paintings by Leno, terra cotta statues, gold pans and Prestini family photos. The exhibit is too large for their museum so it will be held in downtown Colville. The intensely personal paintings follow several themes such as: World War II, western life, prospectors’ dreams, fallacies of alcohol and greed, disappointment in love, and the passing of a more innocent age.

CLAYTON, WASHINGTON — August 14, 15, 21, 22
Clayton grange Hall, 4478 Railroad Road — 10 am to 4 pm
Clayton/Deer Park Historical Society will host this exhibit. They will display paintings, the life of Leno in photos and words, and personal memorabilia. The exhibit will feature the history and works of the Washington Brick & Lime Company whose terra cotta factory was located in Clayton from the late 1800s to the late 1950s.

LOON LAKE, WASHINGTON — August 14, 15, 21, 22
The Old Schoolhouse, 4000 Colville Road — 10 am to 4 pm
Loon Lake Historical Society has two Prestini murals on permanent display, “From Clay to Clay” and “Pony Trail” and will also exhibit paintings on loan from local individuals, painted gold pans, tiles, and never-before- seen sketches by Leno. A homemade diving helmet, pump and lead shoes used by Leno and his friends are included in their artifacts. Photos of fireplaces built by Leno will also be shown. The three societies are working together as members of The Heritage Network, a non-profit organization of 25 museums and heritage groups formed to discover and preserve historical resources within their respective communities, promote tourism associated with the historical aspects of the areas, share knowledge and skills for mutual support, and provide educational opportunities to the public. Preserving the history of Leno Prestini includes
research of his creative, unique life—his activities and accomplishments during the depression, wartime, and following; interviewing people who knew Leno; and collecting, documenting and preserving artifacts. The group has also researched the glazed terra cotta buildings throughout the northwest, including the beautiful Paulson building of Spokane and the Suzzallo Library and Art Building on the campus of the University of Washington. The Heritage Network invites everyone to visit one or all of these special exhibits to learn more about this outstanding Washington folk artist. Their website www.TheHeritageNetwork.org has more information and maps
to the events.
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