PORT ANGELES — The second summertime Market Art project is scheduled for Saturday at the Port Angeles Farmers Market, and children ages 5 through 18 are invited to participate.
The Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts will host a mask-decorating activity at the market, “so you can either bring your fabric mask or let us provide you with a new one,” Executive Director Kayla Oakes said.
The farmers market is open, with produce and craft vendors, every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. under The Gateway pavilion, Front and Lincoln streets. This Saturday, Oakes and crew will set up four socially distanced work stations equipped with masks and multicolored fabric markers, so young artists — and everybody’s considered an artist from the word go — can create personalized face coverings on site. If it’s rainy, the work tables will be under tents.
Alternatively, youngsters and parents can stop by the market and take home their free mask-decorating kits. JFFA has assembled dozens of them, each with a cotton mask and two fabric markers.
“We wanted to bring some positivity to the experience of wearing a mask,” said Kari Chance, JFFA’s administrative manager.
“We thought that if artists could create something they loved, wearing a piece of their artwork could become something fun and expressive.”
Everything is free thanks to sponsorship by D.A. Davidson and donations from local residents, which also supported JFFA’s first market art project in July.
Called “Birds of a Feather Flock Together,” it provided paper feathers for kids to paint — which they did, producing some 250 feathers.
Those have been assembled to create a pair of multicolored wings in the window of the former Maurice’s building beside the Conrad Dyar Memorial Fountain; now people are walking by the First and Laurel intersection to pose for pictures with the wings.
All of that delights Chance, who is one of the people who put them together.
“I think the best part, for me, was offering a way to create something beautiful at no cost to people,” she said, adding, “we are so grateful to our sponsors and our individual donors that made it possible.”
“We definitely had some families visit specifically to participate in our Market Art, but there were plenty of others that were just shopping at the market,” Chance added, “and we invited them to come paint. It was so fun to see people both engaging in art and working on a community project.”
This Saturday, the bulk of the masks to be given out will be child-size, she said, while a portion will fit teenagers and adults. Artists can bring their own masks if they’re concerned about fit, Chance said.
As for the variety of fabric markers at the work stations, they will be sanitized between artists.
JFFA’s next Market Art activity, titled “Together We Soar,” will bring origami kits to the Sept. 12 Port Angeles Farmers Market. Kids and adults will have a chance to make folded-paper cranes, so an assembled flock of them can become a grand mobile.
“We’re looking for a downtown space where we can install the mobile,” Oakes said.
“JFFA intends to continue our monthly Market Art offerings through and beyond the impacts of COVID,” she said, adding that this project was a pivot that turned into something she wants to make a permanent part of JFFA’s local programming.
The beauty of art — in all forms — is unifying. And now, more than ever, we need reminders that we are all working together,” Oakes said, “and that we share common goals to strengthen this place where we live.”
Diane Urbani de la Paz, a former features editor for the Peninsula Daily News, is a freelance writer living in Port Townsend.