Friday marked the 111th birthday of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and the James Memorial Art Center in Williston celebrated the occasion with cake, crafts and costumes.

Deana Novak, James Memorial board member, spent part of the afternoon Friday perfecting her Frida look, as well as putting the finishing touches on the custom cake she and her mother created for the event, depicting Kahlo's likeness. Novak spearheaded the event with help from other volunteers. The event featured a variety of Kahlo-inspired activities, and drew a significant crowd, many of whom came in costume as well.

Lauren Loveless, of Williston, attended the event with her six month old daughter, Estella. Both arrived dressed as Kahlo, and Loveless said she was glad to be able to take in such an event.

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"I love, love, love Frida!" she said. "I was so excited to see an event in Williston featuring her. She is an incredible inspirational figure worldwide."

Loveless said she was first exposed to Kahlo and her work when her mother took her to see a documentary about her when she was 10. Loveless said Kahlo's story mesmerized and inspired her, and she's been a fan ever since. Loveless came together with members of her MOMS Club to plan outfits for themselves and their children. Of all the guests who came for the event, nearly a dozen attended dressed as Kahlo.

Downstairs in the James' classroom, Vivian Kalmik had organized several Kahlo-inspired crafts for those in attendance. Kalmik, a board member and volunteer for the James, gave a brief description of Kahlo's life and artistic style, before introducing the projects to those gathered. Participants were encouraged to create their own self portrait, something Kahlo was famous for. At another station, several young girls stood hot gluing flowers to headbands, creating bright floral headdresses, another well-known Kahlo look. Some even took the time to paint on Kahlo's signature eyebrow.

No birthday party would be complete without cake, and this was no different. In the classroom, children and adults alike were invited to decorate cupcakes in the style of Kahlo, with bright colors and flowers. Upstairs, Novak carefully cut slices from her Kahlo cake and passed them out. The event was well attended, and Novak said it is the first of many.

"We plan to choose a different artist each year and have a birthday party for them, mush like this." she said.

Novak said the next party will be held in March and will celebrate the life of Vincent Van Gogh. For Loveless, she said it was great experience and that she and the other moms in her group enjoyed taking part.

"I think the party went amazingly well," she said. "We all had a blast getting ready and seeing each other and our littles as Frida. I hope to see more events like this in Williston!"


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