When art goes outside
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Although it’ll still be as chilly as Donald Rumsfeld’s thin-lipped smile outside, forecasts for the coming week and beyond point to plenty of sunny skies in our future.
While some might look at the welcome change in weather patterns as a reason to seek out seasonal activities centered on snow, snow and more snow, others might simply be looking for a reason—any reason—to escape their abodes and venture forth into the world.
The perusal of art may not be the antidote to winter doldrums for everyone, but for those looking for something to stimulate a variety of senses, there are a plethora of options in the area that combine the viewing of sculptures with the great outdoors (hint: bring along mittens, hats and long socks).
For example, from 10am-5pm Sat., Jan. 2, the Lummi Island-based studio grounds of Ann Morris will be open to the public. The once-a-month event at the Sculpture Woods (http://www.sculpturewoods.com) sees the longtime sculptress sharing not only the works on permanent display at her “outdoor museum,” but also the stunning scenery that is part and parcel of the 15 acres that surround her creative hub. So when you can tear your peepers away from the 16 larger-than-life mythical creatures that were inspired by the landscape, you can then direct them to the trees and ferns, the watery wonders beyond, and the looming specter of Orcas Island. A gallery of smaller works will also be open at the free event, in case you need to step inside and warm up for a moment.
Ample acreage is also a plus at Camano Island’s Matzke Fine Art Gallery & Sculpture Park (http://www.matzkefineart.com), where the 25th annual exhibit, “Honey, I Shrunk the Art,” is on display until Sun., Jan. 10. But in addition to the 150 pieces of small works provided by 40 artists working in a variety of mediums, be sure to venture outside and stroll through the 10-acre Sculpture Park, which is currently exhibiting an additional 75 works of “world-class significance” in bronze, stainless steel, stone, wood and glass.
In Bellingham, options for sussing out sculptures abound. Classes at Western Washington University don’t resume again until Tues., Jan. 5, so it might behoove you to take advantage of the temporarily diminished activity on campus to check out the school’s renowned Outdoor Sculpture Collection (http://www.westerngallery.wwu.edu). The collection has been steadily growing since the first large-scale sculpture—“Rain Forest,” by Northwest artist James Fitzgerald—was installed in 1960. The best part? You don’t have to pay tuition to enjoy it.
Also worth noting is the “Gardens of Art” at Bellingham’s Big Rock Garden Park (http://www.cob.org). While the small park is open from dawn to dusk throughout the year, viewers visiting in winter will see only the permanent pieces on display. That’s alright, though, as there will still be more than enough eye candy to go around.
For even more options on where to see outdoor (and indoor) sculptures in Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, and Island counties, seek out advice from the movers and shakers at Sculpture Northwest (http://www.sculpturenorthwest.org). They’re so dedicated to sharing the region’s enviable sculpture collections, they’ve even opened a gallery. And no, mittens are not required when you step inside its doors.
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