If I’ve learned one new thing about Sequim since I moved back here this summer, it is that we have an exciting and enthusiastic community with all sorts of artists at the center of a unique local art and culture scene.
It can be all too easy to go about one’s daily business and miss just how creative this community really is, but a sense of curiosity and an eye for detail open a world of discovery that requires only a bit of time to experience what the artists of the Olympic Peninsula have to offer. This weekend the LARC Gallery’s grand opening added a fresh venue to this scene, contributing new depth to an already eclectic visual arts community.
The range and quality of works displayed there is impressive. Paintings, oil pastels, photography and mixed media works are accompanied by pottery, custom jewelry and woodworks all made by local artists, most of whom are from Sequim and Port Angeles.
The art ranged in style from modern and abstract to folksy, but almost universally had some sort of a Pacific Northwest feel to it. I enjoyed the work of all of the artists represented but particularly connected with a few.
“Egret on Goldtones” by Sunny Benhan presents a balance between playful creativity and veneration of natural forms most commonly associated with Art Nouveau. The hints of purple and turquoise let the subject pop out of the gold background and frame in this striking mixed media work. Karen Rozbicki Stringer’s photography beautifully captures the charm of the intersection of mountains and sea so unique to our area. Two pastels by Irene Loghry also stood out to me. “White Lilacs” is truly impressive with a control of depth and tone almost unseen in pastels.
LARC, which stands for Local Artist Resource Center, was conceived of as more than just a nonjuried gallery for art from around the peninsula. Owner Shirley Mercer sought to create a space which could enhance the local art scene by serving the unique needs of our artists as well as patrons. This resulted in a new concept for something different from a traditional gallery; a place where local artists could affordably display their works for an extended period as well as take and teach classes ranging from watercolor techniques to how to set up a Facebook page. They even offer custom framing.
All too often the art world focuses so heavily on the consumer that the artist is demoted to a second-class citizen. The negative effects of this are many and complex, but let us look at the alternative. In a community that values art as well as artists there is a respect and appreciation for those who work hard to produce beautiful things.
Sequim is most certainly such a place, but there always is room to grow. LARC provides our community with a wonderful opportunity to support art and the artists who create it.
Make sure to take some time to visit the gallery at 166 E. Bell St. and enjoy the art. If you see something you like, take note of the artist.
Most of the works are extremely reasonably priced, so consider filling that empty space on your wall with a work lovingly produced by a local artist.
If you do, you not only add beauty to your environment, but also contribute to making Sequim a more vibrant artistic community.
Reach Taylor Ackley at firstname.lastname@example.org.