Labor Day weekend brings the return of the semiannual Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair to the Ulster County Fairgrounds in New Paltz, located at 249 Libertyville Road. The three-day fair will open Saturday through Monday, September 2 to 4. It features a selection of high-quality juried creations by more than 200 artists and craftspeople from across America. The show highlights furniture, architectural crafts, jewelry, demonstrations, handcrafted specialty foods, healthcare products and live performances by Hudson Valley-based musical talent.
One of this year’s demonstrating exhibitors will be Chinese painter Zhong-hua Lu, whose remarkable life story and artistic work are documented in The Natural Laws of Good Luck: A Memoir of an Unlikely Marriage, a memoir written by his wife, Ellen Graf. Lu’s paintings contain many of the techniques and content of traditional brush painting blended with Western content gleaned from his past 20 years living in America.
Zhong-hua Lu was born in 1958 in Shandong Province, China, at the time of the Great Leap Forward, a government program of industrialization and collectivization that resulted in a devastating famine. Beginning at age five, he learned the basics of traditional brush painting and martial arts from his father and five uncles. When Chairman Mao sent urban youth to work in the countryside as part of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), Zhong-hua was appointed to be a village schoolteacher at age 16. Traditional arts, philosophies and customs were maligned as counterrevolutionary, and those who carried this knowledge banished or killed; but Lu continued to practice painting secretly on scavenged bits of paper until Mao died in 1976.
Lu now lives in upstate New York with his wife, artist and writer Ellen Graf. He has taught traditional Chinese arts at Mass MoCA, Williams College, the Capital Region Art Center, the Chinese Community Center, nursing homes, retreats and his home studio. He is also a Hudson Valley Seed Company artist for Nozaki Cabbage.
Festival hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission costs $9 for adults, $8 for seniors; children age 12 and under are admitted free. The event is held rain or shine. No dogs are admitted. Buses are welcome. More information is available by calling (845) 679-8087 or (845) 246-3414 or visiting www.quailhollow.com.