Food, fiber, art meet in new exhibit

Opening tonight at Port Angeles Fine Arts Center

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center will host an opening reception today for an exhibit that combines food scarcity information with art.

What’s For Lunch? features work by members of the Peninsula Fiber Artists exploring the relevance of food and nutrition. The opening will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today at the center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

It will remain on display at the Esther Webster Gallery during regular gallery hours, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., through May 14.

Emily Dexter, Port Angeles Food Bank executive director, will present at the exhibit opening reception to highlight issues of food scarcity and need within the community.

A food and supplies drive will run throughout the full length of the exhibition with a donation box available in the gallery.

While entrance to the gallery is free, visitors are encouraged to bring items to donate. Requested items include shelf-stable meal kits, pouches and items easily heated, canned or boxed soups, snacks, crackers, cookies, popcorn, nuts, personal hygiene items, pads and tampons, and pet food.

“We are grateful for the partnership with the Peninsula Fiber Artists and the Port Angeles Food Bank,” said Christine Loewe, arts center executive director.

“Together we are using art as a means to address pressing issues facing our community,” she continued.

Amy McIntyre, event coordinator for the Port Angeles Food Bank, said that the agency gets basics such as rice through other means of donation like government programs and nonprofits, and other programs provide fresh produce.

“So what people really want is good food on top of that,” she said. “Regardless of our circumstance, we all want all the same things — flavor and sauces and condiments and spices.”

Opening attendees also will hear from curator and internationally recognized quilt artist Caryl Fallert-Gentry about creating the exhibit.

The exhibit was inspired by the late Whidbey Island resident Gene White.

White, who died in 2021, was the founder of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation and was internationally recognized for her lifelong dedication to child nutrition advocacy work.

Peninsula Fiber Artists (PFA) has previously honored White’s legacy through its vintage mink coat exhibition.

Lead organizers have drawn upon White’s passion for sustainable nutritious food to develop this newest exhibition, according to Rachel Storck, community engagement director for the arts center, in a press release.

The exhibit contains textile art in various fiber media, including quilting, collage, felting and even sculpture from 26 members of PFA.

Work is by Port Angeles artists Diane Williams, Evette Allerdings, Marilyn Heistand and Pamela Hastings; Kathie Cook, Lissa Fagerlund, Linda Carlson and Lynn Gilles of Sequim; Erica Iseminger and Mary Tyler of Chimacum; Joyce Brustad Gordon of Nordland; Barbara Houshmand, Barbara Ramsey, Caryl Fallert-Gentry, Cindy LeRouge, Debra E. Olson, Irene Bloom, Joyce Wilkerson, Leslie Dickinson, Maggie Grate and Pat Herkal of Port Townsend; Dale Walker and Donna Dowdney of Bainbridge Island; Jeri Auty and Terri Wolf of Port Ludlow; and Donna Lark of Redmond.

Several themes emerge from the artwork: Food ecosystems, cultural perspectives on nutrition, our perpetual love of sweets, and sustainability through local food movements, Storck said.

“The rituals of gathering, making and eating food culturally, socially and politically bind us to one another,” Loewe said.

“Food serves as a primary tool for how we shape and engage in our world and it is often at the center of life’s most important moments, she added.

“Stories unfold in the process of gathering for a meal. We are excited to explore the stories and themes that emerge from this exhibition.”

Much of the artwork in the show will be available for purchase. Artwork sold through the arts center supports both the artist and programs, exhibits and educational offerings.

In addition to the gallery exhibition, the arts center will explore the theme of food and nutrition with educational programming, including field trips, workshops and community conversations.

Two food and fiber art-themed youth workshops are already on the schedule: Textured Sandwich Workshop on Thursday, March 23, and Pizza Pillows on the following Thursday, March 30.

For more information and tickets, visit www.pafac.org/programs/youth/workshops.

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