Gallery and Program Director Sarah Jane observes Twyla Sampaco’s acrylic-mounted photograph titled ‘Incoming.’ Three of Sampaco’s works are featured in the Well+Being exhibit. (Photo courtesy of Port Angeles Fine Arts Center)

Gallery and Program Director Sarah Jane observes Twyla Sampaco’s acrylic-mounted photograph titled ‘Incoming.’ Three of Sampaco’s works are featured in the Well+Being exhibit. (Photo courtesy of Port Angeles Fine Arts Center)

Port Angeles Fine Arts Center’s ArtBites going virtual

Tickets on sale for Friday event

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center is gearing up for its first virtual ArtBites event, which will feature a panel discussion on art and healing to coincide with the center’s current exhibit, Well+Being.

Tickets to the Zoom event, set for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, are $10, with proceeds benefiting the nonprofit arts center. A limited number of tickets are available; visit and look under events for more information or to purchase tickets.

Introduced last year, ArtBites is an intimate discussion series focused on candid dialogue about topics relating to the arts, according to a press release.

Panelists for the art and healing conversation will include two working artists, Twyla Sampaco and Tiffani Erdmanczyk, both of whom have work featured in the Well+Being exhibit, a juried show of work related to health that will be on display through Aug. 30.

Both artists have firsthand experience with the healing power of art: “Art is part of my healing process… and the healing process also fuels and inspires my art,” Sampaco said, while Erdmanczyk noted that art-making “helped bring me back from a very dark time in my life.”

Rounding out the panel will be Monica Vanderheiden of Peninsula Behavioral Health, whose experience as a mental health therapist has shown her how art can be a powerful therapeutic tool, the press release said.

Vanderheiden notes that “Art is helpful with trauma, depression, anxiety, self-worth … the list goes on,” Vanderheiden said.

”I’m excited to share a few art therapy exercises and discuss the value of art in the therapeutic environment.”

Sarah Jane, gallery and program director described art as a “powerful tool for expressing things that aren’t easily captured in words.

“Both physical and mental illness can be very isolating, but art can help us understand that we are not alone in these difficult experiences.”

The discussion will include an exploration of the relationship between creativity and wellness, how art can support a personal healing process, and insights from the panelists for people wanting to include art in their own self-care routines.

In addition to the panel discussion, there will be plenty of time for attendees to share questions. Everyone is welcome in this conversation, regardless of background or experience with art.

Executive Director, Jessica Elliott, reflected on the need to develop virtual programming during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve all had to quickly adjust and adapt how we are working and living,” she said.

“At the PAFAC, we thrive on engaging people with the arts and our team is becoming more savvy with how we are shifting our in-person programming to a compelling virtual one, like our upcoming ArtBites event.”

Well+Being features artworks by 32 artists from across the nation. They were juried from an open call that drew about 100 entries. The artwork explores topics of wellness and healing, and includes works relating to a variety of health challenges as well as pieces that explore the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The exhibit may be viewed in person during regular gallery hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Gallery visitors are expected to wear masks and practice social distancing. Ten people are permitted into the gallery at one time.

Artwork in this exhibit is also available for viewing or purchase on the arts center’s website,

Well+Being is supported by Peninsula Behavioral Health, D.A. Davidson, Camaraderie Cellars and the City of Port Angeles.

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