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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

2010:   Festival - Entertainment - Map - How to Enter - Judges - Awards - Sponsors - Quilt Raffle - Volunteers

For tickets,
call Gualala
Arts Center

Art in the Redwoods Festival
Top Hat Dinner (2010)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Doors open at 6:00 p.m.
Dinner served 7:00 p.m.

Art in the Redwoods Festival logo

Art in the Redwoods Top Hat Dinner, photo credit: Barbara Pratt, 2008 The Art in the Redwoods Festival returns to Gualala Arts Center for the 49th annual event. What began among the redwoods on Gualala ridge in 1961 has grown to a weekend attraction for thousands. This popular weekend event features art from near and far along with free entertainment and artists booths.

The "Top Hat" opening dinner & wine celebration at the Gualala Arts Center starts at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday evening when the doors open.

Timber Cove Inn logo Chef Riley Huddleston of Alexander's at Timber Cove Inn will be in charge of the scrumptious dinner complimented by fine wines from Annapolis Winery.

Annapolis Winery Diners will get a sneak peek preview of the Fine Art Exhibit even before it is judged during the cocktail hour before dinner.

Arabesque, by Robert Holmes
The event will honor Robert Holmes, who in partnership with his wife, Edith, has built a career as a sculptor with an international reputation and has visions of helping build an equally well-known sculpture garden at the Gualala Arts Center.

A special exhibit of Robert's sculptures will be on display and for sale only at this dinner. Many of these works are from Robert's private collection spanning his long career and have never been presented to the public in one setting.

By attending the Top Hat dinner, not only will you get an opportunity to experience and purchase Robert's work, you also get a VIP Festival pass and a chance to own "Arabesque," a tabletop Robert Holmes original sculpture with a retail value of $3,400. You can view "Arabesque" at the Dolphin Gallery in downtown Gualala.

Advance dinner tickets ($150 each, includes $100 donation), come with a VIP Festival pass and a chance to own "Arabesque," a table-top Robert Holmes original sculpture. For tickets, call Gualala Arts Center at 707-884-1138.

Honoring Robert Holmes

In partnership with his wife, Edith, Robert Holmes has built a career as a sculptor with an international reputation and has visions of helping build an equally well-known sculpture garden at the Gualala Arts Center. His recognized talent and longtime association with Gualala Arts makes him a fitting honoree at the year's Art in the Redwoods Top Hat Dinner on Thursday, August 19.

Robert Holmes
Robert Holmes
As a seventh grade student Holmes whittled his first art piece out of hardwood. But he first became employed as a photographer. Before attending the University of Arizona he took pictures for Western Ways Studio in Tucson, AZ and some of his photos appeared in Arizona Highways.

While filming a travelogue in Alaska he became motivated to return to school and enrolled in the University of Arizona with a major in civil engineering. After graduation he worked for Barrett and Hilp on construction projects in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Then, he returned to Phoenix and became involved as the general contractor in numerous construction projects for over twenty years. All this time he continued to sculpt in concrete, fabricated materials, and wood. His first gallery showing was a collection of wood sculptures in Martin's Gallery in Scottsdale.

In 1978 the Feingarten Gallery, the gallery that brought Rodin to the United States, accepted him, provided he would work in bronze, the medium for which he is now best known. His life changed dramatically in 1980 when he decided to devote himself fulltime to his art. In 1981 he and Edith moved to The Sea Ranch where they found the perfect studio-home to rent for $500 a month.

Holmes quickly points out that Edith, born on Long Island, has played an important role in promoting his work. She mentions a current project, Casa Tortuga, a 12-acre Sonoma County home with spectacular views and a number of Holmes sculptures placed throughout the property. It received the 2008 International Award for Best California Property.

Robert Holmes sculpture The neighbor next door to the Holmes rental was a Gualala Arts Board member who talked Holmes into entering his first Art in the Redwoods exhibit. His photograph won first prize, but he did not feel comfortable winning because he thought the show should nurture local talent over professionals.

Holmes remembers hanging one Art in the Redwoods exhibit in the '80s at the Gualala Community Center. The problem was how to hang quilts without having enough wall space. Smiling wryly, Holmes recalls his suggestion that the quilts be folded and draped over some frames was not well received.

His current passion is to create a sculpture garden at Gualala Arts similar to those he has seen elsewhere. The concept is to integrate the juried pieces of sculpture with the landscape. The garden becomes an outdoor gallery where the pieces are displayed. Any artist who sells one may replace it with another. Gualala Arts gains a 25% commission and the community has an attraction that could draw visitors. Holmes's "Mr. Geom," the garden's first piece, stands overlooking the DePrima terrace.

Cazadero sculptor Bruce Johnson, who is slated to introduce the Holmes at the Top Hat Dinner, has many connections to well-known sculptors and is enthusiastic about the project. There are currently 10 or 11 suitable spaces to accompany the four Holmes sculptures already at the Arts Center - "Mr. Geom," "Strolling Man," "Kneeling Woman," and "I Am: Standing Pair."

Now in their eighties, Robert and Edith Holmes continue to create and to be actively involved in Gualala Arts. In 2003 he received a lifetime achievement award, the Premio del Cittá di Firenze in Florence and the Lorenzo il Magnifico medal. This year he will also be honored in Gualala, his home since 1981.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.