12 years, as a whole, not bad

In a dozen years, the Blue Whole Gallery has missed only one Friday Night Art Walk opening.

Sunny Sequim was covered in snow one week in winter 2005 and the artists left their canvases blank to give a sense of irony.

Gallery members celebrated the Blue Whole's 12-year anniversary June 5.

"When we started, many knew the mistakes to avoid beforehand, so we've been able to sustain because of each others' experiences and successes," said gallery president Barbara Boerigter.

The Blue Whole Gallery, 129 W. Washington St., in downtown Sequim, opened June 14, 1997, with 35 artists.

It currently has 33 members with 40 percent of its membership being founding artists.

Blue Whole is a cooperative art gallery where artists who paint, sculpt, photograph and create other original pieces of art work together to maintain operations.

"It may sound silly, but in order for a co-op to succeed, it needs cooperation," said Priscilla Messner-Patterson, an aviation artist.

Monthly membership dues and commissions from art sales support the gallery.

"Everyone has been really good about helping out and working together," said Reggie Consani, a watercolorist.

"It's a fun environment."

All potential members must go through an application process and approval from a jury is required for exhibiting at the gallery. Membership applications are available at the gallery and artists are on hand to answer questions.

"Over the years, the art has constantly improved," said artist Ron Carlson.

"In my view, this is the premiere gallery on the peninsula."

Carlson said some of his skills could be attributed to his time at the gallery.

"My art has changed over 12 years ... . The style and equipment has changed, and I've invested a lot," Carlson said.

"I've learned some things about composition."

"There are some neat people here I still have a lot to learn from," Messner-Patterson said.

Colin Cunningham, who creates Native American art, said he returned to art after an absence because the gallery created an avenue to become active. He's been a member for four years.

Blue Whole Gallery is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday. First Friday shows are 5 p.m.-8 p.m. New art shows are exhibited monthly.

This month, painters Carol Janda and Messner-Patterson are featured along with a new display of 100 pieces of art for under $100.

Matthew Nash can be reached


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