By Zirrus VanDevere, for the Redoubt Reporter
It was nearly a year ago that Juanita and Clayton Hillhouse opened their dual exhibit at the Kenai Fine Arts Center with a reception that included edible art for attendees to enjoy. It was a hit, both for those creating the food and for the attendees who got to consume it.
Juanita died just a half a year after that event, on Jan. 12, 2012. She was a prolific artist, and just as prolific a gardener. There are many who came across Juanita in both or either arena, talking art or talking vegetables, and she had a great enthusiasm for all of it that was endearing and engaging. Clayton tells me she was happiest when she was planting or had a tape measure in her hand, creating art.
Juanita was born April 22, 1930, in Augusta, Ga., and was involved in learning and teaching about art her whole life. She moved to Alaska in 1975, living just outside Soldotna, and she and her husband sold herbs, jams and vegetables from
her garden at the Soldotna Farmer’s Market.
Due to a desire to remember a truly decent and wonderful woman’s life in a way that seems appropriate to who she was and what she loved, Joy Falls has organized an art event in her honor. On Sunday, July 8, folks are asked to contribute edible art for the opening event.
Clayton will photograph all the entries and everyone will have a chance to see the creations — and then, of course, devour them. For the rest of the month, the images procured at the opening will be displayed in the front gallery.
I’m pretty sure that she would be clapping her hands in delight, eager to see what wondrous items will be created for the gathering, and pleased with the idea of folks getting together not only to tip their hats toward her, but finding pleasure in two of the things that made her the happiest in this world.
To get your creative “juices” flowing, Falls recommends looking up edible art on the Internet and calling her for ideas at 283-0515. In any case, please call Falls to let her know you will be participating.
Zirrus VanDevere is a local mixed-media artist and owns Art Works. She has bachelor’s degrees in fine arts and education.