Holiday Market Art Exhibit

Gifts are a way to show the people you love how much they mean to you.

Jake Seniuk, director of the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, is encouraging people to give art as presents during the holiday season - for others and one's self.

"Art is a personal gift," Seniuk said. "It's unique ... things you won't find at Target or at the mall. Art is an expression of the artist's taste and style, your taste and style, and the taste and style of the person you are giving the gift to."

The art center is hosting "Art is a Gift," a holiday market filled with a seasonal selection of arts and crafts from the studios of dozens of North Olympic Peninsula artists.

Linda Crow, a Port Angeles resident, recently returned from a trip to Russia and will share photographs from her expedition. "Linda is an amazing photographer who does National Geographic style and quality of photos," Seniuk boasted.

With a cash-and-carry policy, customers are allowed to take artwork home without waiting until the exhibit closes. As the show progresses, new artworks will replace the items sold.

"It's the first time we've tried this in this format," Seniuk said about the market. "We wanted to reach out to area artists and give them the opportunity to sell stuff while raising funds for the center."

Thirty-five percent of proceeds from each item sold will benefit the center, an extremely low percentage compared to other galleries, Seniuk said, where 50 percent is customary. "We recognize that artists are at the bottom of the food chain," he joked, noting that some artists are choosing to donate more than 35 percent and a few are donating items outright so the entire purchase price goes toward the center.

Items range in price from $10 to $4,000.

The art center is facing major budget cuts from the city of Port Angeles. City Hall usually funds 25 percent of the center's budget, about $55,000, but that number was reduced to $27,500 for 2009 and will be even smaller - if not completely eliminated - in 2010.

To cope with the loss of funds, the center's board of trustees is trying to lower the proposed 2009 budget without reducing the three-person staff, Seniuk said, because the center already is severely understaffed. Galleries of equivalent size and prominence usually have at least six full-time employees, he said. "We aren't going to disappear, but things could really change."

For the first time ever, the center is selling reproductions of Esther Webster's work - the center's founder and noted artist - to raise funds. All proceeds, minus production costs, benefit the fine art center.

"Besides their aesthetic appeal, there is a historical factor," Seniuk said. "She was a major artist who lived here and who was part of the center. Many of her pieces showcase Port Angeles."

The holiday market ends Jan. 4 but the Esther Webster exhibit is ongoing.

Box: Enjoying the 'gift of art'

Who: Port Angeles Fine Arts Center

What: "Art is a Gift" show and holiday market

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday through Jan. 4, 2009

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

Contact: For more information, call director Jake Seniuk at 457-3532 or

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