‘First Blossoming’ to bloom at Port Townsend’s Museum of Art & History on Friday
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Adeline Willoughby McCormack’s canvases are part of “First Blossoming: Port Townsend’s Women Artists,” the new show to arrive at Port Townsend’s Jefferson Museum of Art & History on Friday.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A major new show, “First Blossoming: Port Townsend’s Women Artists,” is about to arrive at the Jefferson Museum of Art & History, 540 Water St., and the public is invited to an opening reception and ribbon cutting at 6 p.m. Friday.

The celebration is free, but those looking to attend are asked to RSVP by Wednesday at 360-385-1003.

After the opening, visitors can see “First Blossoming” during the museum’s hours of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, throughout spring and summer.

Museum admission is $4 for adults, $1 for children age 3 to 12 and free to Jefferson County Historical Society members.

On the first Saturday of every month, museum admission is also free for Jefferson County residents.

The “First Blossoming” exhibition highlights works of art the public rarely gets to see, said Bill Tennent, executive director of the Jefferson County Historical Society.

The paintings provide a unique glimpse into the county’s history, he added, by showing off the work of Harriet Foster Beecher, one of the best-known art teachers in early Port Townsend, alongside art by Sarah Cheney Willoughby and her daughter Adeline Willoughby McCormack.

Willoughby moved from Massachusetts circa 1862 to Seattle, where she’d been hired to teach at the Territorial University.

Nobody enrolled in her class, though, so she lit out for the Olympic Peninsula.

She became an accomplished painter, and today her drawings are found in the Smithsonian Institution.

McCormack studied with Beecher and together with other students, the women contributed 39 of the paintings representing Washington state in the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Many of Port Townsend’s first women artists studied in San Francisco, Victoria and Europe, Tennent said, although they all worked in relative isolation from mainstream American art.

For more about “First Blossoming” and other activities with the Jefferson County Historical Society, which is marking its 135th anniversary this year, visit www.JCHSmuseum.org.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 07. 2014 6:32PM
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