Making Waves

For Kelcey Bates, things are going swimmingly



WHAT:” Water: On, In, Near and Around” opening
WHEN: 6-10pm Fri., Sept. 6
WHERE: The Bagelry, 1319 Railroad Ave.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Last summer, Kelcey Bates escaped from Alcatraz. While it’s true the Bellingham artist was swimming away from the former island prison as part of the annual “Alcatraz Classic”—and will do so again Sept. 28 in San Francisco—that doesn’t change the fact that she was a being a badass athlete while doing something she’s passionate about.

When Bates’ series of paintings about her love of swimming opens Sept. 6 during the Bellingham Art Walk at the Bagelry, she’ll be on hand to answer questions about what creating art and treading water have in common—and fill you in on what it’s like to live on a 42-foot sailboat with the man you love and a yellow lab.

Cascadia Weekly: You’ve mentioned the series of paintings you’ve dedicated to swimming are going to bring awareness to “our bay, lakes and open water everywhere.” How?
Kelcey Bates: I hope I am going to start conversations. Whenever I am getting out of Bellingham Bay after a swim, there is always someone there to ask questions. That starts conversations, and painting the water and having the chance to show my paintings hopefully will bring more curiosity.

CW: Do you realize you’re showing the exhibit in the midst of Whatcom Water Weeks (happening Sept. 7-22 throughout Whatcom County)? Was that intentional?
KB: I had no idea. How cool is that?

CW: How long have you lived on a sailboat? Can you paint there?
KB: We have lived aboard only six months, but it’s our dream come true. I do some painting on the boat, but mostly I paint in my studio out in the county at our cabin—and I also paint with Trish Harding at Studio UFO when I can.

CW: Swimming, much like art, requires confidence and patience. What else do you think the two endeavors have in common?
KB: Solitude and excitement.

CW: Tell me a little more about this swimming from Alcatraz thing.
KB: A dear friend of mine was taking on this huge personal campaign, and this was one part of it. At the last minute, her support person bailed on her, so I said I would escort her on her adventure. When I mentioned it to my husband he said, “Why don’t you just swim it with her? You’re a mermaid!” I had been swimming up in Birch Bay and having a blast, so I went.

CW: What exactly was it about swimming that drew you to pursue it in a more vigorous manner?
KB: Standing up to a body of water and thinking, “Wow. How far will I go? What’s out there?”

CW: What are you hoping people take away from your exhibit?
KB: I just want to share my love of swimming and the joy the water brings me. I think my husband is right—I am a mermaid and part fish. I love everything about it. I am also concerned about the coal trains and oil tankers in our waters and all waters. I would like to see more people out in the water. If more people spent time in the water, more people would be concerned and involved in keeping it healthy.

Sugar Ray
More Visual...
By Design
The accidental gardener

Each spring, I’m amazed anew at the sheer amount of green things budding on limbs and poking out of the thawing soil in my front and backyard.

I’m vaguely referring to the miracle of nature and the cyclical joy the eventual warming of the seasons brings, but a large part of the wonder is…

more »
Lehmann and Lavelle
Abstraction in action

This month offers a fine opportunity to see and compare the work of two outstanding artists—Anita Lehmann at Perry and Carlson Gallery in Mount Vernon, and Margy Lavelle at i.e. gallery in Edison. Each creates “abstractions,” but their approaches are very different.

Lehmann’s works…

more »
Date Night
A Valentine’s Day primer

My Valentine can be a stubborn cuss.

Last Friday, after agreeing to join me for an Art Walk date night, he tried to back out of our assignation. It was dumping rain and he was having difficulty finding a place to park, and he took these calamities as signs we should just head home and hole…

more »
A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Skagit Birding Adventures

9:00am|Skagit Valley

Literacy Council Seeks Volunteers


The Addams Family

7:00pm|Ferndale High School

Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

7:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

Shakespeare in Love

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

West Side Story

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Always...Patsy Cline

7:00pm|Conway Muse

Cupid's Arrow

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Richard III

7:30pm|Phillip Tarro Theater

Fragrance Lake 50K

6:00am|Larrabee State Park

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #154

Smelt Run

9:00am|La Conner High School

Children's Literature Conference

9:00am|Performing Arts Center

Community Work Party

9:00am|Squalicum Creek

Whatcom Falls 5K

10:00am|Whatcom Falls Park

Assistance League Anniversary Sale

10:00am|Assistance League

Kids Cooking Class

11:00am|Chuckanut Center

Recreation Northwest EXPO

11:00am|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Hearty Party 5K

11:00am|Max Higbee Center'

Wildlife Photography with Andy Porter

11:00am|Padilla Bay Estuarine Research Reserve

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Tax Help Available

12:30pm|First Congregational Church

Wine Tasting with Duckhorn Vineyards

2:00pm|Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants


2:00pm|Blaine Library

Forestry and Wildlife Panel

2:00pm|Ferndale Library

Waterway Tour

2:00pm| I & J Waterway

Wildfire and Resilience

3:00pm|Deming Library

The Fellowship of Fire

4:00pm|Village Books

Dancer Panel

5:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Visions from Cape Breton and Beyond

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Bayshore Symphony

7:30pm|St. Paul's Episcopal Church

An Evening with Steve Mayo

7:30pm|Lummi Island Library

MacMaster and Leahy
A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Skagit Birding Adventures

9:00am|Skagit Valley

Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

7:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Bayshore Symphony

7:30pm|St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Langar in Lynden

11:00am| Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Drag Brunch, Celebrity Impersonation

11:00am|Rumors Cabaret

History Tour

12:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Seabirds of the Salish Sea


Audubon at the Museum

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Interfaith Music Festival

3:00pm|First Congregational Church

Art of Jazz

4:00pm|The Majestic

Heavy metal Hollywood


Clover Group Reading

4:00pm|Village Books

MacMaster and Leahy Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

7:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Women in High Places

4:00pm|Wilson Library

Women in High Places

4:00pm|Wilson Library

Monday Night Pizza

6:00pm|Ciao Thyme

Community Soup Kitchen

6:00pm|Little Cheerful Cafe

Books on Tap

6:30pm|El Agave 2

Winter Preservation and Culinary Delights

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op


7:00pm|Alternative Library

Open Mic Night

7:00pm|Village Books


9:00pm|Firefly Lounge

see our complete calendar »

Kinky Boots Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 MacMaster and Leahy Village Books Trove Web