Arts and Entertainment

Blue Whole Gallery website is peninsula resource

The Blue Whole Gallery web page is more than just another Internet site.

It's a community resource.

Log onto the home page -

artists - and be greeted with video feeds, photographs, slideshows and personal statements by more than 30 artists. Additional pages include detailed information about classes, gallery events and more.

The "artist information" page is broken into categories by medium: photography, jewelry, three-dimensional and two-dimensional. For more information about a particular artist, click on his or her name.

To read about what members are up to and what they're being recognized for outside the gallery click on "In the News."

For more information about the gallery itself - such as history, location, hours and special events celebration - click on "About Us."

Seem pretty basic? Think again.

At the top of the page are links to even more information about Sequim, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, regional and calendar events and artists. With two simple clicks of the mouse you can be transferred from the Blue Whole Gallery web page to the Sequim Arts site.

The website is a tool for both community and gallery members.

According to Susan Spar, painter and gallery member, the website is looking particularly "awesome" these days.

"I like the way every individual page is developed," she said. "It shows each artist's unique personality. Once you're linked into the Blue Whole Gallery site, you're linked into the entire community."

Mary Franchini, watercolorist and August artist of the month, is one of several artists who've been working directly with web designer Jim Yount to learn the basics of web page design.

"Jim started it and has worked with us on ways to plug the information in," Franchini explained. "I've done a lot of work but I've learned so much."

The Blue Whole Gallery website is set up using a free type of software called WordPress in conjunction with Google's free picture viewer Picasa. Yount donates his expertise free of charge, committed to supporting Olympic Peninsula artists and groups on the web. A modest man, Yount asked not to be interviewed but was happy for the Blue Whole Gallery website to receive media attention.

"Jim and his wife are very patient and have been great teachers," Franchini said. "When we started, he said, 'The only payback I expect is for you to teach other people and give back.'"

So, that's exactly what she intends to do.

"One of my visions is to teach others to do everything I've learned so each artist can maintain their own page with updated information and pictures," Franchini said.

The learning process is slow and sometimes she has to call and ask questions, Franchini added, but the rewards are great and the finished product is better than she ever imagined.

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