Strait Art exhibit features work from 35 peninsula artists

The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center is bustling with activity.

Strait Art, the center's annual showcase of North Olympic Peninsula talent, opened March 22. The exhibition features the works of 35 Clallam and Jefferson county artists and will continue through May 10.

The show, according to Jake Seniuk, Port Angeles Fine Arts Center director and exhibition curator, provides a "rich opportunity to sample what the artists of Juan de Fuca country are up to" year after year.

From more than 50 applicants, Seniuk handpicked a mixture of newcomers and veterans of past Strait Art exhibitions.

Though space is always an issue in the relatively small footprint of the Webster House, Seniuk said he feels it's important to show more than a single work from each artist. With the exception of a couple of installations, a pair of works represents each artist.

"In addition to showing the best work offered, it is the curator's challenge to make the most cohesive exhibition possible," Seniuk said.

"By presenting at least a couple of works by each artist, not only does the viewer get a stronger inkling of any given artist's personal style but it also helps nurture the impression that all these diverse works somehow belong together."

Complementing the visual aspect of the annual Strait Art exhibition is a new performance series.

"Enter Stage Left" features a series of literary, theatrical and musical presentations on six consecutive Friday nights starting March 27.

The series will present live art from diverse genres and disciplines performed from 7-9 p.m. against the backdrop of the Strait Art exhibition, allowing artists and performers to unite in a multidisciplinary arts environment. Admission is free.

The series kicks off with a dramatic reading of "Inspirations of Reality," a selection of short works written by Rebecca Redshaw. Marianne Trowbridge, a veteran actress and director, will accompany Redshaw and assist in presenting the script.

Additional presentations include:

_ April 3: Jim Stapleton and Diana Bigelow perform an original stage work "Henry & Emily: The Muses in Massachusetts," an imagined meeting between Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickinson.

_ April 10: Diana Bigelow returns and is joined by Vicki Dodd and Marline Lesh to comprise "The Soundscape Trio" in a program of improvisational "soundscaping."

_ April 17: Local impresario Max Mania has put together a cast of eight "funsters" for a jaunt through a bygone era of comedy radio riffing off the Marx Brothers, Jack Benny, Fred Allen, Bob & Ray and others.

_ April 24: The double bill of Alan Brock-Richmond and Captn' Galex C features highly improvisatory original works by two performers stretching musical bounds with digital-age electronics.

_ May 1: The series concludes with an evening of readings by local poets selected by featured poet and Peninsula College English instructor Carmen Germain.

The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd., is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday. Admission is free. Donations are greatly appreciated.

For more information, call 417-4590 or go online to

Reach Ashley Miller at

Art center seeks financial assistance to 'match' gift from secret benefactor

The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center received a

$10,000 "matching fund" donation from an anonymous "Art Angel" donor.

The donation, earmarked by the donors as a "must match" contribution, was presented to the center as an incentive package to supplement fundraising activities during an economically challenging time.

"The volatility of the stock market has had a significant impact on the Esther Webster Trust Fund, which is the cornerstone of the PAFAC's fiscal well-being," Seniuk said.

"Coupled with the city's decision to cut last year's public funding in half, this loss of revenue has created a crisis situation for the art center's financial infrastructure."

Consequently, the "Art Angel" donation has become the foundation of a membership contribution campaign designed to generate $10,000 in membership renewals, new member recruitment and supportive donations. Starting immediately, every membership or donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar.

"Every new membership, renewal or contribution - regardless of the level of participation - doubles the amount of revenue raised for the PAFAC," Seniuk said.

"In order to access the entire $10,000 donation, we need to raise an equal amount on our own ... and we're asking for the community's support so that we can take full advantage of this generous donation."

The Port Angeles Fine Art Center's facilities - including both the gallery and the Webster's Woods Outdoor Park - are free of charge to all visitors. As a result of this "no fee" policy, the art center is accessible to citizens and visitors of every economic stratum, Seniuk said.

Art aficionados - or anyone committed to making the peninsula an "art friendly" environment - can join the Friends of the Art Center or drop a donation by the center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

Contributions can also be mailed to: PAFAC, P.O. Box 1695, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) corporation and donations are tax deductible.

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