PORT ANGELES — This is a winter destination — well-lighted, safe, peaceful: That’s the message from the staff at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center.
Indoors is the Makers Market, “an alternative to frantic shopping,” said executive director Christine Loewe.
Thirty-one artists from across the North Olympic Peninsula have set up displays of their work — ranging from hand-knit hats to kitchenware to toys and games — in the center’s Esther Webster Gallery, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd. in Port Angeles.
The third annual market has grown each year; “this is the largest group of artists so far,” Gallery and Program Director Sarah Jane said.
The Makers Market, with handmade gifts priced from $10 to a few hundred dollars, opens today and continues through Dec. 19.
On this opening weekend, its hours are extended from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and Saturday. Outside the gallery door, the fine arts center courtyard has heaters, warm drinks and seating for visitors, Loewe said.
After this Saturday, regular hours for the Makers Market will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, with some added evening hours during the next few weeks. For updates, visit PAFAC.org or phone 360-457-3532.
At the same time, the 5-acre Webster’s Woods park encircling the gallery gleams with new outdoor art installations.
Eleven pieces form a new loop of lighted sculptures, from Katherine Shaughnessy’s “Tempest Tost” up on the gallery roof to Tracy Beals’ “Emergent Dreams” among the trees.
These works are the Light Art Experience, illuminated from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. seven nights a week in Webster’s Woods. Exploring it all is free. The display stays up through Jan. 9.
This weekend is the start of Wintertide, the month of activities at the fine arts center.
The Wintertide Festival of Lights is set for Dec. 10-11 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. both evenings, with live music, a community lantern parade, art stations, food and drink vendors and fire-and-light performances, Loewe said.
One of the festival’s interactive elements: the Shadow Sail Theater. Artist Heather Dawn Sparks will give a performance involving an 8-foot-tall lighted box — and then visitors will be invited to go inside that colorful space.
Tickets to the Wintertide Festival are on sale at www.pafac.org/wintertidefestival.html, and guests are encouraged to purchase in advance.
At the fine arts center, Loewe, Jane and community outreach coordinator Rachel Storck seek to both celebrate regional artists and give people a place to savor the winter season.
“Lighted artwork really transforms the nighttime forest,” Jane said.
She noted this year’s contributing artists — Beals, Shaughnessy, Sarah Fetterman, Ross Brown, Dustin Fosnot, Nathan Shields, Loreen Matsushima, Ken Roepe and Michael Mills — have made striking pieces to highlight the natural environment.
Together, they “shine the light of hope and inspiration,” she said, “into the darkest nights of the year.”
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]