Les Walker (right) wraps one of his handmade ceramic pieces in June 2014 at the 2nd Saturday Art Fair held at the Idyllwild Community Park. Photo by Jenny Kirchner
Les Walker (right) wraps one of his handmade ceramic pieces in June 2014 at the 2nd Saturday Art Fair held at the Idyllwild Community Park. Photo by Jenny Kirchner

Scott and Kimberlee Finnell started “2nd Saturday” in 2013 with the goal of attracting new visitors to the Hill and adding to Idyllwild’s reputation as an art destination. “It was also a way to help local merchants and restaurants, and to publicize the town,” said Scott.

The event has grown significantly since debuting in 2013. “The first year we had three events — August, September and October — with 13 participating artists,” said Finnell. He explained that the event expanded to six months, May through October, in 2014 with 37 artists. “Our July 2015 event already has 35 registrants with a week to go.” Finnell noted new exhibitors are adding to the ranks of approved exhibitors on a regular basis. “We have four new exhibitors for July. With the current layout [of the Community Park site] we could max out at 42 to 44 artists.

“The intent was and still is for local artists to have a venue to show and sell their work,” said Scott. “It’s a juried show. Before anyone can exhibit, a five-member jury reviews and approves their work for showing. It adds quality control to the event.”

Scott said each 2nd Saturday features a musician. “Not too amplified,” he stressed, “but enough to provide some pleasant background music. And we pay the musicians, we don’t ask them to do it for free.”

He credited the Idyllwild Community Park setting, the music and the participating artists with creating a colorful and vital experience for all attendees.

The Finnells are originally from Brawley where Kim taught fifth and sixth grade and Scott worked with his father in a petroleum distribution business that served both the agriculture and construction industries. The couple first became aware of Idyllwild when Kim brought her sixth-grade class, including her son, to Astrocamp for a field trip 20 years ago. “We fell in love with this little town,” said Scott. “We rented for five summers, then purchased a second home 10 years ago. We’ve been here now for five years as full-time residents.”

Both Finnells are passionate about advancing the Idyllwild art scene, but were not themselves artists. Scott explained, “I think I’ve always had an artistic bent, but being in the corporate world for my career, my left brain dominated. But then I created this stained glass panel for our home. That was pretty successful and my art just grew from there.”

Now Scott works on commission creating both stained glass windows and doors as well as fused or “warm” glass-art pieces. “This isn’t about me though,” he said. “I love art and want to promote it and to help grow this town back to what it was before the economic downturn.”

2nd Saturday is held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the second Saturday of the month from May through October.

For more information about 2nd Saturday, including a list of July 11 participating artists, visit www.idyllwild2ndsaturday.com.