2005 marked the twenty-fifth year of Artevento, the international kite festival at Cervia, Italy. Drachen's Board President, Scott Skinner, offered these comments about the event's significance. "First, this is a festival that has seen all of the most exciting kites and kite makers of the last twenty-five years. Given its wonderful spring weather, it has been a popular 'first of the year' trip for Europeans still in the grip of winter. But I think its primary strength is that it has evolved into a showcase of the most artistic and inspired kites in the world. Here, size really doesn't matter, as you're likely to see small paper and bamboo creations sharing field space with mega-creations from all over the world. Placed on an equal footing by organizer Claudio Capelli and his family, these art kites and their creators have a stage on which to be appreciated by other kite makers and the public as well. Kite fans are actively directed to special creations both by public address speakers and by kite fliers themselves. It seems we're all proud to show off our finest!"
To honor Artevento's twenty-fifth anniversary, the Drachen Foundation sponsored two projects by kite makers Rick Miller of New Mexico and Randy Shannon of Arizona. Miller and Shannon specialize in spectacular, collaborative "kite constructions" in real time that actively involve the public. For their first project they organized the painting of thirteen large Edo kites on the beach (using special paints to which sand wouldn't stick), bridled them using their special Velcro-enhanced system, and launched them--all within a day. Painters ranged in age from eleven to "beyond counting" and in proficiency from casual passers-by to professional Japanese kite painters Mikio Toki and Nobuhiko Yoshizumi. The two renowned artists were so taken with this approach to their otherwise painstaking tradition that each joined in and produced a masterful kite painting. A very tidy sum to benefit Artevento was raised when their kites were donated to the auction.
Miller and Shannon's second project started with painting a gigantic Japanese wanwan to illustrate the theme "things that fall out of the sky." For reasons inscrutable to the Japanese, this theme produced an image of a huge toaster. After attempted flights were foiled by light wind for two days, finally the wanwan rose majestically over crowds of thousands. Pilot was Robert Valkenburgh, who had to stand in the sea to compensate for the short beach.
Drachen administrator Ali Fujino deemed these "beat the beach" projects a great success. "People are really very excited by them. They're allowed to participate in a process that builds as much on their enthusiasm as on the kiters' expertise. And most of the materials--the spars, the bridles and lines--can be recycled. Only the skins are saved for the DF archive."