Escape to art island



WHAT: Lummi Island Artists’ Studio Tour
WHEN: 10am-5pm, Aug. 31-Sept. 1
WHERE: 22 studios throughout the island
COST: Free

WHAT: Lopez Island Studio Tour
WHEN: 10am-5pm Sat., Aug. 31 and 10am-4pm Sun., Sept. 1
WHERE: 22 studios throughout the island
COST: Free

WHAT: Woodpalooza
WHEN: 12-5pm, Aug. 31-Sept. 1
WHERE: Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, Langley
COST: Free

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

At the tail end of every summer, the vehicle ferry connecting Gooseberry Point to Lummi Island goes to repair camp for a few weeks, leaving the residents of the semi-isolated land mass dependent upon a passenger-only watercraft to transport them to and fro. 

After the Whatcom Chief goes on hiatus beginning Sat., Sept. 7, the pace of life on the island will likely slow down considerably, as there will be less traffic and fewer tourists to contend with. But before that happens, islanders will be making more trips than usual to stock up on supplies, and a number of community members will open their creative spaces for the thrice-yearly Lummi Island Artists’ Studio Tour.

For those looking for Labor Day getaways that won’t break the bank and can be experienced in the form of a day trip, put the tour on your list of options. The escape to art island takes place Sat., Aug. 31 and Sun., Sept. 1 and will feature 22 studios showcasing the artwork of more then 30 island-based artists and craftspeople.

Those driving or biking Lummi’s expanse can expect to encounter art in the form of paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, glass, pottery, photography, woodwork, jewelry, fiber arts and more. Per usual, visitors can also soak up picturesque views, query the creators about where they find their inspiration, and support the artists by purchasing their wares.

Much like Lummi Island, Lopez Island is known as a place where everyone acknowledges each other other with a smile, wave or combination of the two. Not so coincidentally, the Lopez Island Studio Tour takes place during the same time frame, and offers visitors making the 40-minute ferry journey from Anacortes another opportunity to purchase original works of art and glean insights into those who make their homes in places off the beaten track.

Although the Lopez Artist Guild now organizes and presents the annual tour encompassing more than 20 studios featuring the works of 35 artists, the two-day event got its start in 1996 as a spinoff of the Grayling Gallery Arts Festival. A few island artists agreed to open their studios to the public for the purpose of selling their work and showing the public what they were up to, and it eventually became an annual event happening Labor Day weekend.

If you and your fellow escapees aren’t up for a water crossing, but still want to lay claim to island exploration, the Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild will also be presenting its 16th annual “Art + Wood = Woodpalooza” exhibition from Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at Langley’s Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.

Makers of furniture, cabinetry, architectural woodworks, turners, clock makers, sawyers, carvers, restorers, musical instrument makers, boatbuilders and refinishers are among the guild’s members, and the 23 artisans on hand at the event will be more than happy to discuss the process that goes into their work while visitors peruse the art. After you’ve soaked up the sights, head outside to consider the city’s scenic island views. You’ve earned it.

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