PORT ANGELES — Just in time for the summer solstice on June 20, three new sculptures will join the hundred-plus artworks now located in Webster’s Woods Sculpture Park.
Artists were selected for the Summertide Solstice Art Festival from an open call hosted by the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center (PAFAC), which is also producing an updated park map and virtual park tour.
“It’s our intention to create a space that is meaningful and personal to our visitors, while stretching their imaginations by connecting them to art in nature,” said Jessica Elliott, executive director.
“As the PAFAC continues to add more sculptures, we are also working in partnership with the City of Port Angeles to develop, improve and beautify this unique 5-acre city-owned park.”
Artist Steve Jensen of Seattle has been involved with the park and center for decades; carved cedar remnants of his 1998 installation, Båt, can be found slowly returning to nature among the park’s towering firs in Webster’s Woods in the art center at 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd., in Port Angeles.
This year, Jensen envisions a mystical Norse vessel referencing both the artist’s heritage and the theme of personal journey. Jensen’s Bronze Viking Vessel will set sail just north of the Webster House gallery, where it will be framed against views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Meanwhile, Scott McClellan of Port Angeles incorporates local Clallam County clay into a cement structure that evokes monolithic rock formations.
Designed to weather and collect moss over time, McClellan sees this piece as a solemn and contemplative addition to the park’s collection: a space that invites viewers to, in the artist’s words, “recognize the earnestness of life in comparison to the gravity of death.”
The piece will be constructed in McClellan’s studio at nearby Peninsula College, where he is a Ceramic Artist in Residence, and later transported to Webster’s Woods. Visitors will find McClellan’s finished installation in a quiet grove on the north edge of the meadow.
Mary Sue French of Port Angeles envisions a cozy, playful forest home with her colorful “Felt” Like a Birdhouse sculpture trio, designed to dangle from tall forest limbs.
The colorful teardrop-shaped sculptures are constructed from hand-felted fibers.
“Most people are surprised that felting is one of the oldest fiber techniques known to man,” French said.
“For me, felting is very cathartic and I use the fiber as both my paint and canvas. Most of the time I have a general idea of what I want, but the work takes on its own personality in its creation.”
French is co-owner of Cabled Fiber & Yarn in Port Angeles.
In addition to new sculptures, the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center is offering Solstice Crown Kits for those wishing to celebrate summer with festive nature-inspired head wear.
Kits contain everything necessary to assemble natural items such as twigs, greenery and fresh flowers into a unique crown, which can then be further decorated with ribbons, beads, or twine.
Crown Kits are available for pick-up through Friday, June 19; please order at pafac.org. Each kit costs $12. Proceeds support the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center.
An updated park map and virtual park tour, highlighting both new and long-established artworks, will be available on the Center’s website by June 20.
“This is the culmination of more than two years of deliberately revitalizing the park and researching the art in our collection,” said Sarah Jane, gallery and program director.
“We’re learning more about our history and rekindling connections with artists who were involved many years ago. We’ve gotten to hear some pretty great stories in the course of putting this map together.”
While exploring the park, visitors will want to look out for one more new element that’s not listed on the map: an ongoing community art project that offers playful surprises and opportunities for all ages to get creative.
For more information, see pafac.org.
Webster’s Woods Sculpture Park is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Visitors are asked to practice safe social distancing while visiting the park.