Yosh Nakamura's "SierraBlend" a mixed-media giclee print.
Yosh Nakamura’s “SierraBlend” a mixed-media giclee print.

LA HABRA HEIGHTS — Nisei veteran Yosh Nakamura is a featured artist at the 55th annual Hillcrest Festival of Fine Arts being held this weekend at Hillcrest Congregational Church in La Habra Heights.

Nakamura’s connection with the Hillcrest Festival started in 1960 as the first artist demonstrator with his watercolor paintings. He has participated in all festivals since then, except in 1970 when he was on a sabbatical leave in Europe. In 2011 Nakamura was among the Nisei veterans to receive the Congressional Gold Medal during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Most recently, Nakamura, a veteran of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, rode in the Rose Parade aboard the City of Alhambra float.

Nakamura rode in the Rose Parade, representing the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
Nakamura rode in the Rose Parade, representing the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Nakamura is the founding chair of the Rio Hondo College Fine Arts Department. His current work includes his original paintings, graphics and drawings that are integrated with the computer. He has won numerous awards with his graphics, paintings and photographs and is in many private, public and corporate art collections.

He still takes his own advice that he gave to his students: “Now, create your own works.”

Works by Nakamura’s family, including his wife Grace and son Joel Nakamura, will also be on display. Joel Nakamura is based in Santa Fe, N.M., and has been featured in Time Magazine and U.S. News & World Report.

The festival is also featuring fellow World War II veteran Armando Baeza, a sculptor, who worked as a 3D animator in Hollywood and as a doll and toy designer for all the major toy companies for 41 years while doing fine art at the same time. Baeza’s signature public artwork is his bronze sculpture near the entrance to Pico Rivera City Hall.

The festival has an extensive variety of art available for purchase at a wide range of prices: watercolor and oil paintings, unique jewelry, ceramics,acrylics, pottery, hand-woven clothing, photography, stained and fused glass, metal and wire sculpture, woodworking, and a great selection of handcrafted gifts in the Arts & Crafts Boutique.

There are also many artists demonstrating their skills throughout the weekend, including weaving, painting, jewelry-making, wood-turning, and ceramics. Children will have fun in the free art workshops, where they can create their own artwork. Festival attendees can browse, shop, enjoy musical entertainment, and have lunch at the Starving Artist Café.

Each year many new artists, as well as long-time favorites, are chosen to participate. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission and parking are free.

Hillcrest Congregational Church is located at 2000 West Rd., La Habra Heights, near the border of Whittier. From East Whittier Boulevard, take Santa Gertrudes North, which turns into West Road. For more information, call (562) 947-3755.

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