California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

August 15, 2008Mary Beth Barber

California Arts Council Joins with Cal Expo for "Arts Day at the Fair 2008" on August 23

Fourth year for an "Arts Saturday" at the California State Fair features performances, renowned artists Ruth Rippon and Sam Maloof

Sacramento -

The California Arts Council will join the California State Fair for the fourth annual "Arts Day at the Fair" on Saturday, August 23, 2008, and festivities include performances, visual-arts demonstrations for adults and youth, and a Golden Bear "Artist of the Year" Award presentation and special exhibit for Sacramento ceramic artist Ruth Rippon and California woodcrafter Sam Maloof.

"This is the fourth year that the California Arts Council has assisted the State Fair with 'Arts Day at the Fair,'" said Muriel Johnson, Director of the California Arts Council. "Fair-goers will be able to not only see some fantastic performing artists and view award-winning artwork by up-and-coming visual artists, but also get to meet Ruth Rippon and Sam Maloof -- two California artists who are renowned in their fields."

The festivities start with performances at Center Stage at 10:15 a.m., and the Golden Bear Award presentation will begin afterwards at approximately 1:00 p.m. (exact time TBD). Performers include the Sacramento Opera, the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, state winner Roshawnda Bettencourt and other regional winners of the California Poetry Out Loud competition, and the drumline and mariachi bands from Cesar Chavez High School of Stockton. Special exhibits of Ms. Rippon's art and Mr. Maloof's woodcraft will be presented in the Expo Buildings near Center Stage. Afternoon tours of the Youth Arts Building will be available that show the winning artwork from California's youth and examine aspects of visual-arts learning for children and teens.

Also on hand for Arts Day at the Fair will be plein-air painters stationed around the fairgrounds whose State Fair images will be for sale in the Fine Arts Building, representatives from local arts groups in "Arts Organization Row" who will meet the public to talk about what they offer, and arts education tours of the Youth Arts Building. Regular exhibits -- open each day of the fair --include award-winning visual art in the Fine Arts and Youth Arts Buildings, crafts in the Industrial Arts Building, and other exhibits related to the Fair's "Going Hollywood" theme. More information on State Fair activities may be found at

Biographical information on Ms. Rippon and Mr. Maloof -- as well as a schedule of Arts Day performances and arts education tours -- are below. Questions from the media may be directed to Mary Beth Barber, Communications Director at the California Arts Council at 916-322-6588 or

Arts Day at the Fair
Schedule – Saturday, August 23, 2008

10:00 a.m.
Cesar Chavez High School (Stockton) Percussion Ensemble greets fairgoers at the front gate, moves to Center Stage

10:00 a.m.
Mariachi musicians from Cesar Chavez High School perform (Center Stage)

10:40 a.m.
"V'Locity" hip-hop dancers (age 6-13) from Step 1 Dance Studio perform (Center Stage)

11:00 a.m.
Students from Poetry Out Loud recite great poetry in this spoken-word event (Center Stage). Includes California Poetry Out Loud 2008 champion Roshawnda Bettencourt, Natomas Charter School junior Kira Cushman, C.K. McClatchy High School senior Lindsey Dillion, and first-grader Jackson Margolis

11:20 a.m.
Sacramento Philharmonic Brass Quintet (Center Stage)

11:45 a.m.
Sacramento Opera soprano Carrie Hennessey sings from Bizet's Carmen and Verdi's Vespri Siciliani, with Laura Snell on piano (Center Stage)

12:30 p.m.
Golden Bear "Artist of the Year" awards with ceramic artist Ruth Rippon and woodcrafter Sam Maloof (Fine Arts Building)

2:00 p.m.
Arts Education tour of Youth Arts winners, from the California Arts Council (Youth Arts Building)

3:00 p.m.
Arts Education tour of Youth Arts winners, from the California Arts Council (Youth Arts Building)

California State Fair "Artist of the Year"
Golden Bear Award 2008

(excerpted from: Fresno Art Museum November 2002--March 2003 Exhibit Materials by Jacquelin Pilar, Curator)

A Sacramento native, Ruth attended Sacramento Junior College and in 1947 entered California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. Work with clay became her major focus of interest.

In June of 1949 she graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree and her student ceramic work was accepted by national ceramic shows in both Kansas and New York. Her graduate studies at CCAC were based on experimentation with ceramic decorative procedures. During the spring of 1950 she attended a series of lectures by British potter Bernard Leah at Mills College. Here she would come in contact with leading potters from all over the Western United States. After receiving her master of fine arts degree from CCAC in June of 1951 Ruth became a designer and potter for San Francisco's Jade Snow Wong.

Receiving a scholarship for study at the San Francisco School of Fine Art, Ruth began working with Joan Jockwig Pearson who supported her efforts to base her work on her own individuality. Later at Mills College, Ruth was introduced to the sgraffito process and the decoration of pottery with the majolica technique. Here too, she would begin to experiment in porcelain glaze -- these experimentations became a life-long interest resulting in marvelous porcelain works of great beauty.

As a teaching assistant at Mills College in 1954 Ruth came to know the Japanese folk-art potter Rosanjin who was artist-in-residence. During the summer of 1954 abstract expressionist ceramics developed at Mills College through the influence of the resident Japanese potter.

In September of 1956 Ruth joined the faculty at Sacramento State College and for the next 31 years devoted her life to the role of teacher-artist. Over these years, she continued to experiment with difficult new techniques. Always, after mastering these techniques, she would share both her knowledge and the love of experimentation with her students. She also began to add small sculptural forms to her ceramic vessels and containers. Often these small figures were imbued with whimsical qualities as well as being sensual in form.

Designated as a 'California Living Treasure' by the Creative Arts League of Sacramento, she was honored as the first artist to be recognized by the Crocker Art Museum with a retrospective exhibition and catalogue.

Ruth Rippon's life has been distinguished by her creative drive towards the perfection of her craft -- this quality has infused her teaching and her art with excellence paired with deeply held compassionate human values. Informed by scholarship, travel and by disciplined work, she has produced a unique body of impressive and beautifully conceived work.

(from the Smithsonian webpage)

Sam Maloof, born in 1916 in Chino, is America's most widely admired contemporary furniture craftsman. Maloof, entirely self-taught, is one of only a handful of furniture designer-craftsmen to make his livelihood through working full time with his hands. Although his furniture has a sculptural quality and has been exhibited in major museums, he doesn't consider himself an artist, but rather a woodworker, and lets it go at that.

Maloof's distinctive furniture style has developed slowly and steadily over decades. New designs evolve from existing ones. As a result, his furniture has a timeless, classic look, its form directly related to its intended function. Evolution, not revolution, is the hallmark of his style.

As beautiful as it appears, a Maloof rocking chair is remarkably comfortable. Art at the service of utility is the essence of Maloof's philosophy of design. It is a motto that has sustained a tradition of fine craftsmanship.

I do not feel that it is possible to make a working drawing with all the intricate and fine details that go into a chair or stool, particularly. Many times I do not know how a certain area is to be done until I start working with a chisel, rasp, or whatever tool is needed for that particular job. -- Sam Maloof

The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the Arts and Creativity. Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Michael Alexander, Vice Chair Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Eunice David, Charmaine Jefferson, Chong-Moon Lee, Fred Sands, Karen Skelton, Susan Steinhauser and William Turner.

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