Wooded wonderland

When preparing for its year-round outdoor exhibit, Port Angeles Fine Arts Center director and curator Jake Seniuk plans every detail meticulously — and then prepares for Mother Nature to change everything.

This year, more than 20 pieces from 19 artists are being added to the current 127 pieces installed over eight years in Webster’s Woods adjacent to the center. While many of the pieces remain intact, many are changed and some are destroyed due to weather and other natural damage.

“This is planned out but there are a lot of uncertainties, so we have to adjust,” Seniuk explained.

Artists and visitors alike, however, refuse to let that keep them from enjoying the outdoor wonderland.

“I think this is fabulous,” said Susan Kotula, who was visiting from Alabama and taking care of her two nephews and one niece. “The kids are just enjoying it.”

The artists, many of whom are used to creating paintings or other pieces meant for indoor display, say creating sturdy pieces that need to stand the test of weather is a challenge.

Art Outside veteran Gregory Glynn, who has been creating pieces for the center since 2000, had a tall task for his latest pieces — literally. Glynn, who is from Bainbridge Island, took a 14-foot madrona tree trunk and sliced it into 1-inch-thick pieces, then spread them out like a fan.

“It was a challenge,” laughed Glynn, who enlisted the help of Seniuk to install the piece.

Although some of the pieces are obvious — a large wood and wire dog hanging in a tree, dozens of starched sweaters that look like they are growing in the ground — many of the pieces are more subtle and visitors have to search for them. Some of Seattle artist Alan Lande’s pieces, for one, are placed dozens of feet in the air, high above visitors’ heads. They are oversized plastic sunglasses, placed high atop tree trunks as if they are watching everything below.

“We’re a surveillant society,” Lande said. “They represent that.”

After nearly 20 years of serving as the center’s director and curator, Seniuk has a special rapport with the artists and can recall every inch of the woods. He even remembers the inspiration behind many of the pieces, such as the spray-painted screening Seattle artist Carolyn Law used to create “The Fog.”

“She was driving up a mountain highway and came out of the low-lying fog into the sunlight,” Seniuk said. “She said she never forgot that moment; that was the inspiration.”

Due to his keen knowledge of the exhibit, Seniuk gives guided tours to visitors twice a month, more often if they ask.

For Kotula, the carefully thought-out exhibit is worth pushing a double-wide stroller on the trails.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” she said. “It’s absolutely beautiful.”

Webster’s Woods

Who: Port Angeles Fine Arts Center

What: The 2008-2009 Art Outside, which brings 19 artists contributing pieces, some more than one, to the previous 127 pieces in the outdoor exhibit

When: The center is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday; director Jake Seniuk will give tours at 10 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month and 2 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month.

Where: Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

Contact: 417-4590 or

Pedaling the Muse

The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center staff is looking for participants for Pedaling the Muse, a 100-mile bike tour from the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park in downtown Seattle to the center in Port Angeles. The event, which is a fundraiser for PAFAC, is limited to 200 riders and will take riders almost exclusively through back roads from Bainbridge Island, across Chimacum and through Sequim, with the last 25 miles being on the Olympic Discovery Trail.

Each rider is asked to raise at least $250. For more information or to sign up, visit or call 417-4590.

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