‘But Is It Art?’ discussion set for Sept. 27

PORT ANGELES — “Art Bites,” a series at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, has its next event — open to everyone who’s curious about art — at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27.

“But Is It Art?” is the theme of this lighthearted discussion, said Sarah Jane, the PAFAC’s Gallery and Program Director.

“Have you ever stood in front of a work of art and felt frustrated, confused, or angry? So have we,” she said.

Jane, a working artist herself, will share the panel with retired Coast Guard officer turned ceramic artist Mike Middlestead and museum professional Ramon Cerna while Fine Arts Center executive director Jessica Elliott will facilitate the conversation in the gallery at 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles.

Tickets are $20 including gourmet fare and beverages, with proceeds to benefit the nonprofit center. To reserve tickets, see PAFAC.org.

Everybody is welcome at this table, regardless of background and experience with art, Jane said.

“We’ll be talking about questions think about when encountering a new work of art,” she added, “and how you can appreciate something without necessarily liking it. We’ll also explore how artists invite an open-ended ‘conversation’ with us, the viewers.”

Cerna, for his part, brings the perspective of installing art shows over his many years at the Moses Lake Museum. It’s a challenge, he said, to get people to come in and see new art — until they realize they’re welcome to own their opinions about it.

As soon as they start expressing their responses to the work, “they start to have a good time,” he said.

The message at the gallery is not “This is art,” but rather the question: “Is this art, and what makes it so?”

Along with the panel discussion, there will be plenty of time for everyone to share questions and insights, added Jane.

The “Art Bites” evening comes near the end of the PAFAC’s exhibition “The Power of Small Things.” The national juried show, which displays nearly 100 works, closes Sunday, Sept. 29.

Admission is free and the PAFAC gallery is open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.

The next exhibition, “Taking It In” by Peninsula College art professor and mixed-media sculptor Steve Belz, will open Oct. 12 and run through Nov. 24.

For more information, visit PAFAC.org or call 360-457-3532.

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