Sentient statues breathe life into reopening of Webster's Woods [ *** GALLERY *** ]
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Emily Balser, 10, left, and Vania Perezmarte, 11, portray statues of meadow fairies in the middle of Webster's Woods in Port Angeles.
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Port Angeles Fine Arts Center volunteer Linda Collins Chapman of Sequim ties balloons to the entrance sign to Webster's Woods. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News.
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Sarah Tucker plays the role of a living statue on one of the trails to Webster’s Woods on Saturday. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News.
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Fairies Allison Balser, 13, left, and Zoe Tucker, 13, hang onto a decorative chair in the meadow of Webster's Woods during Saturday's reopening. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News.
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Four-year-old Ella Garcelon examines an untitled hanging art installation, a bronze temple bell, by Seattle foundry artist Chuck Bonsteel. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News.
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Chimacum artist Deanna Pindell makes repairs to her artwork “Dreaming Tree” along a main trail of the Webster’s Woods art park. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News.
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Artist Michael Buettner of Port Townsend strolls past a concrete art installation by fellow Port Townsend artist John Lizcwinko on Saturday. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A light drizzle did not dampen the spirits of the roughly dozen people who turned out for Saturday's grand reopening of the Webster's Woods outdoor art park, which had been vandalized in December and closed until a week ago.

“Everything is back to where it should be,” said Robin Anderson, executive director of the Port Angeles Fine Art Center, which is surrounded by the 5-acre art park.

In addition to the reopened Webster's Woods, attendees of the “RestART the Park” event also were treated with living statues who placed themselves throughout the park and stood as still as they could as people walked by.

Sarah Tucker, a Port Angeles artist and member of the fine arts center board of directors, said Anderson asked her to act as a living statue after she performed in that vein at a recent fundraiser.

Tucker recruited Lauren Jeffries-Johnson, owner of Udjat Beads & Belly Dancing in downtown Port Angeles, and the cast of an upcoming youth production of “A Midsummer Night's Dream” to populate Webster's Woods with “fairies and Athenians,” as Tucker put it.

Most of the living statues ranged in age from 8 to 13, which Jeffries-Johnson said made things a tad hectic at times.

Young statues

“It was a little chaotic because some of the statues were young and liked to run around and play,” Jeffries-Johnson said with a laugh in a phone interview after the event.

Jeffries-Johnson said she had a great time playing a statue, though the rain and muddy conditions prevented her and others from exploring the park as much as they originally had planned.

“So we just played it by ear, like all good actors should,” she said.

Both Tucker and Jeffries-Johnson said they were glad to see the park reopen and praised the resilience of the artists, who were able to recover from the devastating vandalism in December.

'Feeling of rebirth'

“There seems to be a feeling of rebirth about this,” Tucker said.

During the ribbon-cutting Saturday, Anderson praised those who helped restore and replant the roughly three dozen art pieces that were knocked from their mounts or damaged by still-unidentified vandals two months ago.

“It was [an] effort from all different levels of the community,” Anderson said.

Anderson said later that city Parks and Recreation Department staff did the lion's share of the work in getting the art park back on its feet, including using post-holers to dig new holes into which many of the shoved-over art pieces were replanted.

Some helping hands

About 10 artists whose pieces were damaged lent a hand.

Anderson has talked with the City Manager's Office about possibly getting funding for security cameras.

For now, Anderson said, small security measures, such as upgraded locks on the fine arts center gallery, have been installed.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 09. 2013 5:44PM
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