"}
Visual

Creative Collaborators

Art and appreciation in Skagit Valley

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

When Jean Behnke and Maggie Wilder first met, they knew right away they were meant to be friends.

And, since the two women are both active in the arts community in Skagit Valley—Wilder is a painter who owns and operates Gallery Cygnus in La Conner, and Behnke is a multimedia artist who also played a part in getting Anchor Art Space in Anacortes up and running—it didn’t take long for them to realize their friendship would also likely involve collaboration of the creative kind.

“I had recently moved to La Conner, so I was plenty happy to align with Maggie and our far-ranging conversations grew into an energetic partnership at Gallery Cygnus,” Behnke says.

One of the results of their meeting of the minds involved Wilder asking Behnke to exhibit her work at the gallery. The result is “I’ll Know It When I See It,” a one-woman show featuring Behnke’s eclectic prints and sculptural work made from combining materials in nontraditional ways (for example, one sculpture in the piece combines her father’s transparent rain hat with steel and marble).

Although Behnke’s work will only be on display through Sun., Dec. 22, that doesn’t mean when it’s done she’ll walk away from Gallery Cygnus and never look back. The partnership she and Wilder have developed includes collaborating on upcoming exhibits for 2014, including “Of This World and Not” with Heidi Epstein, Eddie Gordon, and Allen Moe in February, and, beyond, exhibits featuring the work of Eve Deisher, Lanny Bergner, Michael Peterson, Becky Fletcher, and others.

Being that part of the mission statement for Gallery Cygnus includes wanting to “meet and raise the expectations of visitors to the Skagit Valley in search of an art destination,” Wilder and Behnke were asked if they thought La Conner and Anacortes were important hubs for the cultural community in the verdant valley.

“I like to think of both towns as important spokes on the larger hub,” Behnke says. “To me, the whole Skagit Valley is a significant hub in the region. There’s a lot of criss-crossing support between Gallery Cygnus, Anchor Art Space, along with Smith & Vallee Gallery, all investing a great deal and providing local communities with compelling cultural experience.”

Wilder agrees, pointing out that “both these towns attract and nurture artists like they have historically—and actually pre-historically, with the traditions of the tribes here. There’s something here that says ‘slow down and notice what’s going on around you.’”

And, since both women are artists as well as being well-versed at helping make the place they live be accessible and attractive to art appreciators, they also acknowledge that it can be hard to make time for their own creative endeavors.

“The most challenging part of making art is being distracted away from making art,” Behnke says. “My favorite part is the invention; I get to invent whatever I want. I like that making art is the only realm in which all impulses, anything, can be explored.”

SVCR-0604_GritsGlamour_770x150-CW
More Visual...
Voyager
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 »
Events
Today
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

Poetrynight

8:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Guffawingham

9:30pm|Green Frog

Village Books Andrew Subin
Tomorrow
Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Hiking Basics

6:00pm|REI

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

Village Books Northwood Steak and Crab
Wednesday
Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Bellingham City Club Meeting

11:30am|Northwood Hall

Wednesday Market

12:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Lynden Book Club

12:30pm|Lynden Library

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Brewers Cruise

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

The Gun Show

8:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

see our complete calendar »

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