Arts and Entertainment

MAC prepares for monthlong festival

Sequim will shimmer in the sunlight even more than usual in September.

The Museum and Arts Center in the Sequim-

Dungeness Valley is presenting the 2010 Glass Art Festival Sept. 1-25. Events include a juried art exhibition with works from artists all over the world, workshops, presentations, demonstrations and a glass art marketplace.

The juried exhibition, entitled "Transcendence - The Magic of Glass," features a variety of contemporary glass art, including blown, cast, fused, kiln-formed, torch-worked, pate de verre, stained, mosaic, sand-carved and mixed-media on display from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday Sept. 5, 12 and 19.

Coordinator Connie Alexander described the festival as a "unique opportunity to see a tremendous range of exceptional glass pieces from artists around the world, to learn some of what goes into the creation of contemporary glass art and to simply experience the magic of glass.

"Like the glow of the heat from which it was created, glass art enchants all who gaze at it."

Meet the artists

A reception to meet the artists will kick off festivities from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3.

An award ceremony starts at 6 p.m. and will give special recognition to Vicki Coons, a local glass artist who died from cancer last July.

About 100 pieces are on display, chosen from 200 entries by 61 artists.

Local artists with work on display include Kathie Fehrmann, Sandra Howard and Melissa Penic of Port Angeles and Connie Alexander, Luther Bullock, Sandi Hokenson, Gloria Magner, Coffee Miklos, Renee Mullikin, Susan O'Brien, Jerry Orren, Jonathon Patton, Lee Pfannenstein, Cynthia Thomas and Jean Wyatt of Sequim.

Further from home, pieces are on display from Colorado, Illinois, Arizona, Idaho, California, Oregon, New York, Canada, Australia, Turkey and Greece.

Miklos described glass art as a very "romantic" experience.

"It's a dynamic, modern type of art that's been around a long time but is very popular right now. It's a very sexy, enticing media to work in," he said.

Miklos experimented with glass art in graduate school and said, "I had to quit glass blowing or else I would have spent my life in front of a furnace."

The piece he has on display was created in 1978 but is something he's always wanted to show.

More than anything, Miklos said he's looking forward to mingling with fellow glass artists during the festival and learning more modern methods.

"I'm excited about finding new ways to treat the glass," he said, describing his own approach as "old-fashioned and traditional."

Mark it on the calendar

Festival-goers can gain hands-on experience by participating in workshops ranging in technique and skill level. Workshops are offered in various artists' studios throughout the North Olympic Peninsula.

Four glass artists will give public "artist talks" each Saturday during the festival:

• Michael Dupille, of Seattle, will present at 7 p.m. Sept. 4 at Olympic Theatre Arts.

• Dennis McConnell, of Vancouver, will present at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Olympic Theatre Arts.

• Delores Taylor, of Woodinville, and Chris Heilman, of Renton, will give a daylong event at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites beginning at 11 a.m. Sept. 18, with Taylor presenting at 4 p.m. and Heilman at 7 p.m.

• Hugh Willa, of Seattle, will give the final talk at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at St. Luke's Episcopal Church's parish hall.

Original glass artwork and supplies are for sale at a marketplace outside of the Museum and Arts Center exhibit building on Cedar Street from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. each Saturday. Glass art demonstrations start at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the market.

Demonstrations on glassblowing and lampworking also can be seen at Blow Hard Gallery in Port Angeles in conjunction with the festival.

Raffle tickets for "Wis-teria," a glass vessel created especially for the festival by Chris Heilman, of Renton, are available at the MAC exhibit center. The winning ticket will be drawn at 4 p.m. Sept. 25.

An exhibit at The Buzz will include glass art by students from the Washington State School for the Blind, a nationally accredited school in Vancouver. Middle and high school students with visual impairments created the unique glass art pieces to raise public awareness about making art a part of life for children and adults affected by sight loss. The art is meant to be touched and explored and each piece is supplemented with a Braille description.

Sharing the beauty of glass art

The mission of the festival is simple: To share the joys of glass art with the community.

Alexander helped conceive the idea of a glass festival with friends and fellow artists Lizbeth Harper and Jean Wyatt. Together, the threesome turned a dream into reality.

"The two primary goals of the festival are to inspire and encourage glass artists to achieve new heights in their art and to help the general public more fully understand and appreciate artistic glass as the truly fine art that it is," Alexander said.

"Achieving either one of these goals helps to ensure the success of the other."

Will the festival become an annual event? Only time will tell.

"I can't say for sure if the festival will be an annual event or not, until we can evaluate this very first one, but I believe the MAC will do something similar in 2012 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Contemporary Glass Movement that year," said Alexander, who fell in love with glass art after buying a fused glass heart being sold at a medical facility to help a woman pay for her cancer treatments.

"The sparkle and flash within the glass heart fascinated me and I instantly knew that I wanted to create such beauty myself," she recalled.

"After taking a beginning fused-glass class through Peninsula College, I wanted more."

Donations are welcomed and help support the Museum and Arts Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Additional Glass Art Festival information - including a detailed schedule of events and samples of juried show entries - can be found on the official festival website,

For more information, call 683-8110.

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