Solstice Stroll

The art of summer

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

While summer weather in Western Washington doesn’t typically commit to heating up until July 5, there’s another harbinger of the season that doesn’t rely on consistent 80-degree temperatures and cloudless blue skies—the annual Summer Solstice Art Walk in historic Fairhaven.

This year, the event—which will take place from 5-8pm Fri., June 21—coincides precisely with the first day of summer, meaning that even if you’re out strolling until the neighborhood-wide celebration ends, you’ll still have a couple hours of daylight left to commemorate the longest day of the year.

To get started, simply park your car or bike somewhere in the district and look for the yellow sunshine flag identifiers guiding the way to the nearly 20 participating galleries and businesses that will be taking part in the art-focused festivities. Following are a few highlights of events that will be happening along the way.

At Good Earth Pottery, clay expert Chris Moench will be on hand at a reception featuring his “Axis of Hope” prayer wheels. The longtime potter says the work that will be on display represents pieces he’s created in the past four months.

“Two ‘Nest Wheels’ are ventures into new forms for my prayer wheels,” Moench says. “The vessels themselves are nest forms, while the lid is a configuration of two birds arranged to echo the yin yang symbol. I’m excited to follow this design concept further in work to come.”

While there, you may also want to ask Moench about the “Whatcom Creek Restoration Story Wheel” he recently installed at City Hall to commemorate the June 10, 1999 Olympic Pipeline rupture and fire and the long effort to restore the damage from the tragedy.

“I’m trying to encourage everybody to visit the piece and add their written reflections to the vessel,” Moench says. “I intend it to become a kind of touchstone for intentions of community engagement in environmental stewardship. I made the piece and donated it to the City because the disaster was the spark that got me started making prayer wheels and because I wanted the pipeline calamity to stimulate some positive action away from our collective dependence on fossil fuels.”

Other longtime entities will open their doors during the Solstice Art Walk, as well. Artwood Gallery will be celebrating 25 yeas of featuring wood artists in Fairhaven, and new works by their many members will be on display. A Lot of Flowers, a longtime staple for those who see nature as art, will be showing off its new space and welcoming artist Ben Mann, who will be onsite painting acrylics on canvas.

But that’s not all. The Whatcom Art Guild’s Art Market will be hosting artist demos, refreshments, live entertainment and prize drawing. Local photographer and pilot John Scurlock will be on hand at Village Books to talk about and sign copies of his book. At 12th Street Shoes, “Stilettos on Parade” will draw attention to shoes that are also works of creative genius. At Renaissance Art Glass, internationally known glass artist David Wight will bring “Fairhaven’s Tsunami” to light. Israel Shotridge, an Alaska Tlinget, will show works alongside local artists Beth Roberson and Jody Bergsma at Bay to Baker Trading Co. And the list goes on

Although the art walk will happen whether the sun shines or the rain falls—it isn’t July 5 yet, after all—you can rest assured that, come dusk on June 21, summer will have arrived. Welcome it with art.

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