Outdoor art festival to celebrate Summer Solstice

The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center (1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles) will host the Summertide Solstice Art Festival, a free, family friendly event on from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, June 18, to celebrate the longest day of the year and welcome new artwork and poetry to Webster’s Woods Sculpture Park.

This event will include live music, lawn games, nature art stations, poetry readings, self-guided park tours and poetry walks, and local food and drink vendors.

This event also marks the opening of a new open-air art exhibition, “New Growth,” featuring 10 new artwork installations in Webster’s Woods Sculpture Park, where they will join more than a hundred existing works of art nestled into five acres of rugged second-growth forest. This year’s artists include William Frick, Lucy Harvey-Smith, Bob Houser, Steve Jensen, Quinton Merida, Karen Rudd, Karen Sixkiller, Jude Stigler, Sarah Jane, and Anna Kruse.

A selection of 18 original poems will also be on display on signs throughout the woods as a part of the second year of Poetry in the Park. Heidi Hansen and Linda Myers from the Olympic Peninsula Authors group curated this year’s literary entries. Participating authors include Geoff Rimositis, Mary-Alice Boulter, Elsa Theismann, Mindy Gelder, Nancy Fowler, Kelli Russell Agodon, Tess Gallagher, Joan Enoch, Laura Garrard, Anna Maria Vag, Kathleen Kennedy, Dianne Knox, Eva McGinnis, Daniel Huraksh McMannis, Suzan Brawnlyn, and Chris Kleinfelter.

Visitors will be able to meet the authors and enjoy live readings at a Poetry Café in the gallery courtyard from 2-3 p.m., or enjoy a self-guided poetry walk through the park.

“The newly installed artworks for Summertide always have a renewing effect on Webster’s Woods and this year is no exception,” said Sarah Jane, Port Angeles Fine Arts Center gallery and program director.

“It has also been wonderful to see the Poetry in the Park program grow so much in just one year, from seven last year to 18 this year! I am particularly moved by the breadth of this year’s lineups, which include new pieces by luminaries such as poet Tess Gallagher and sculptor Steve Jensen as well as stunning additions from some of the youngest artists I’ve been privileged to work with, including installation artist Jude Stigler and poet Elsa Theismann — both age 11 — who prove that artists of all ages have valuable contributions to share.”

There are plenty of activities to explore throughout the afternoon from viewing the “Blooming Artists” exhibition in the gallery to hands-on nature art stations for printmaking and solstice crowns.

Attendees can also enjoy live music from the meadow stage throughout the event. Jason Mogi, of the band Deadwood Revival, will be playing foot stompin’ folk and Americana with his banjo and guitar from 1-2 p.m. Songslinger Jack Dwyer returns with friends for the 3-4 p.m. slot and will close out the festival with a solo performance from 4-5 p.m.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair and listen to the performances down in the meadow, or enjoy the lovely melodies throughout the park as they explore the new artwork or make art at one of the hands-on stations. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from local vendors Fogtown Coffee, Pacific Pantry and the Whiskey Wagon.

“Summertide is one of three annual outdoor arts festivals that we host at the art center and we just love putting on this event. It feels like the perfect way to launch into summer, bringing our community together to celebrate the beauty of Webster’s Woods. With new sculptures, poetry in the park, and fun activities for all ages, we think there will be something of interest for everyone,” states Port Angeles Fine Arts Center Executive Director Christine Loewe.

The Summertide Festival is free, family friendly, and open to the public with donations appreciated and encouraged.

Masks are optional for visitors both in the Esther Webster Gallery and Webster’s Woods. Capacity in the gallery will be limited to encourage social distancing while inside.

Find information about Summertide including the full list of participating artists and additional information about all programs provided by visiting pafac.org.