Ship of Fools

Popular exhibit is back on board

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

When the Weekly last wrote about the “Ship of Fools” exhibit, Wade and Tonie Marlow still owned Bellingham’s Blue Horse Gallery, and the annual show was still a way for area artists to highlight work relating to free speech, political satire and social commentary.

A couple of things have changed since then. The Marlows sold the Blue Horse a couple years ago, and the exhibit went on what could have been a permanent hiatus. However, when “Ship of Fools” comes back to life on April Fools’ Day at the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, at least one thing will remain the same: the art on display will be much more than a collection of interesting things to look at—it will also be a catalyst for creating meaningful dialogue.

Janet Marino, the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center’s executive director, says she decided to bring the exhibit back to the viewing public after artists that had shown in prior “Ship of Fools” shows suggested the center was the perfect place for a revival.

“George Jartos, in particular, was hopeful that we could bring it back and host it at our new location on Bay Street, right across from its old home,” Marino says. “We’re in such a great location for Art Walk and exhibiting, and art is such a powerful vehicle for change, it seemed like a perfect fit for us.”

After talking to the Marlows—in particular, Wade, who’d started the exhibit soon after the inception of the Iraq War as a way to deal with his own disgust over the course of events that led George W. Bush to commit the United States to what he saw as a senseless war—and finding that they were still on board, Marino says the decision to bring the exhibit back was an easy one.

So far, she says, submissions that have come in include sculptural pieces, paintings, cartoonists, objet trouve, and more. Additionally, there’s still space for poets to read original pieces relating to the edgy topics at hand (contact the center if you’re interested). Music by Boris Budd and friends will also be part of the opening-night festivities. (If you can’t make the Monday-night soiree, a second reception will happen April 5 during the downtown Bellingham Art Walk.)

When asked why she thinks an exhibit such as “Ship of Fools” is important, Marino points to the fact that many of the pieces submitted are by established artists who’ve had a difficult time finding places to show these particular works of art.

“We are providing a space for more controversial work, or work that pushes everyone’s boundaries,” she says.

And, although it’s been a little over 10 years since the Iraq War caused Wade Marlow to vent his frustration with his country via a community art show, the reasons behind beginning the exhibit still haven’t disappeared—and, unfortunately, the war hasn’t, either.

Whether you were a fan of “Ship of Fools” in the years the Marlows brought it to life at the Blue Horse Gallery or are looking forward to being introduced to art that’s not necessarily designed to beautify your living room, rest assured that there will be a variety of interesting things to look at—and talk about.

“People should come if they enjoy being challenged,” Marino says. “People should come to see great art produced by local artists, and to be introduced to the work of the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center.”

Ticket Cascadia
More Visual...
The art of transition

“Thus did Odin establish that all dead men should be burned, and their belongings laid with them upon the pile, and the ashes be cast into the sea…“ recounts the saga of the Norse Vikings.

So perhaps it was no surprise when Steve Jensen’s best friend, dying of AIDS, asked him to…

more »
A Family Affair
Welcome to Tillie Lace Gallery

The first time painter Cooper Lanza and her daughter Morgan entered 1415 13th Street, it was for an opening reception at the former Lucia Douglas Gallery.

Lanza says she was struck by the high ceilings, clean industrial lines and the way the light filtered through the windows at the…

more »
A Child's Touch
Arts in action at Lowell Elementary

With remodels and an expansion, so much at Bellingham’s Lowell Elementary School is shiny and new. That’s nice and all, but the school still needed a child’s touch.

With contributions from all 285 students, the walls and schoolyard at Lowell now have some much-needed color. Three…

more »
Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

A Little Night Music

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center

Discover Birch Bay Days

10:00am|Birch Bay Drive

A Swinging Weekend

12:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Chuckanut Classic

6:30am|Boundary Bay Brewery

Veterans Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Post 1585

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Run to Fight Blindness

9:00am|Cascadia Eye

Marsh Mucking

10:00am|Tennant Lake Interpretive Center

Anacortes Open Streets

11:00am|Commercial Avenue

International Concert Series Finale

2:00pm|Peace Arch Provincial Park

Cirque Literary Journal Reading

3:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Chuckanut Writers Info Session

4:00pm|Village Books,

Sunday Night Fusion

7:00pm|Presence Studio

Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

We Grow Market

3:00pm|Northwest Youth Services

Music Enrichment Project Meet and Greet

4:00pm|Piper Music

Open Mic

7:00pm|Village Books

Get Out More Tour

7:30pm|Backcountry Essentials


8:00pm|Bellingham Public Library


9:30pm|Green Frog

Northwood Steak and Crab Artifacts Wine Bar
Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Hiking Basics


Final History Sunset Cruise

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Final BIFT

6:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Amnesty International Meeting

7:00pm|Community Food Co-op

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

see our complete calendar »

Northwood Steak and Crab Artifacts Wine Bar Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books Swinomish 2016 Andrew Subin Bellingham Farmer’s Market