Celebrating Skagit’s legacy
What: 35th annual Art's Alive
Where: Throughout La Conner
WHEN: Nov. 8-11
Cost: Entry is free
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
According to my analysis of past Art’s Alive! blowouts, this year’s iteration of the annual gathering that fills the Skagit Valley town of La Conner with creative cacophony every November will include an extra day of celebration.
This is likely because past events didn’t fall on the same weekend as a national holiday, but I believe it’s perfectly acceptable to honor veterans and support local and regional artists on the same day. So if you find yourself with time on your hands from 10am-4pm on Mon., Nov. 11, be aware that Art’s Alive! will still be in full swing.
Of course, the preceding three days will also see plenty of action, beginning with a kickoff gala for the 35th annual arts festival from 5pm-8pm Fri., Nov. 8 and continuing from 10am-6pm Saturday and Sunday with exhibits at Maple Hall, the Lux Arts Center, and various businesses throughout La Conner; live painting demonstrations; and daily screenings of a documentary film showcasing iconic painter and sculptor Clayton James, who died in 2016 at the age of 98.
At the opening reception at Maple Hall, attendees can mix and mingle with many of the “Invitational Show” artists, who will greet visitors and discuss their work. “Celebrating Skagit Valley Art Legacy” is the theme of this year’s efforts, so it’s only apt that the list includes pieces by James and past participants Kris Ekstrand, Becky Fletcher, Nicolette Harrington, Ed Kamuda, Peregrine O’Gormley, Roger Small, Christine Troyer, Pieter VanZanden, Thomas Wood, and Lynn Zimmerman.
In looking at the work that will be on display and for sale, it’s clear that over the years many of the artists have already been incorporating that theme into their art. Kamuda’s “Moon Over Bow,” James’ “Sauk Mountain,” Small’s “Fir Island Farm,” Wood’s “Skagit Valley Farm,” and Ekstrand’s “Slough at the Edge” are great examples of how the land where they live—or lived—inspires them.
The “Open Show” at Maple Hall will feature local artists and new works from “Invitational Show” artists of years past, including Gary Giovane, Kirk Ruse, Rebecca Meloy, Maggi Mason, Sandy Knapp, Steven Hill, Tracy Powell, Robert Gigliotti, Anne Schreivogl, Kathleen Faulkner, Jean Behnke, Kent Nordby, and many more.
At the Lux Arts Center on Morris Street, a juried “Fall Show” exhibit will include paintings, sculptures, jewelry and more by many of the members of Skagit Artists, a group whose vision is to promote the visual arts by developing economic and networking opportunities in Skagit County.
But the artistic opportunities don’t stop there. Don’t forget to stop by the Museum of Northwest Art to see the retrospective exhibit “Eve Deisher: Indicator,” and “Portland Artists from the Permanent Collection.” The Quilt & Fiber Museum at the Gaches Mansion on Second Street will also be open, as will the Skagit County Historical Museum.
At Seaport Books, find reading material about Skagit County’s storied artistic past, and pop your head into pretty much any business on the main drag to see what they’re focusing on during Art’s Alive! While it may seem like a lot to take in, don’t forget about that extra day of exploration. It might come in handy.
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