PORT ANGELES — A free, open-air art show, self-guided tours, live music from three solo performers, nature art projects and a courtyard “poetry cafe” are among the things to do and listen to in the Summertide Solstice Art Festival this Saturday.
The place is the Webster’s Woods Sculpture Park, the 5-acre swath of forest and meadow wrapped around the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd., and there’s no charge for any of the activities from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“I’m just really excited about this first opportunity to re-emerge from this holding pattern we’ve been in,” said Christine Loewe, the center’s new executive director.
Since her first day on May 24, Loewe has been working with her small staff on the 2021 version of this annual festival. To switch things up, she’s invited downtown Port Angeles’ Odyssey Books to put up a pop-up shop.
Working with Gallery and Program Director Sarah Jane, Loewe is also bringing poets, singer-songwriters and fine artists to the center, while restoring and refreshing the park’s existing art pieces.
The new art, just woven into Webster’s Woods, includes eight new works, Loewe said.
The show, titled “The Endurance of Change,” encompasses sculptors and mixed-media artists from all over the West.
These artists, some of whom will be on hand Saturday, include poet Jose Trejo-Mayo and visual artists Nathan Shields, Stella Bronson, Kenneth Roepe, Polly Purvis, Aliester Jones and Chris Oliver.
“The Endurance of Change” also highlights five works that have been refreshed after some time in the forest: their makers are Loreen Matsushima of Port Angeles, Steve Jensen and Laurie LeClair of Seattle, and Kim Kopp, and Lucy Congdon Hanson of Port Townsend.
“The park just looks fabulous,” Loewe said, adding that the center’s indoor space, the Esther Webster Gallery, has an art show of its own, titled “Conservation from Here.”
The exhibition, a multi-media experience by artist Joseph Rossano, explores traditional conservation methods from the age of Theodore Roosevelt up to today — a natural progression reflected in Rossano’s large-scale art.
The show, which also offers journals adults and youngsters can check out and bring into the meadow, will stay on display through Aug. 1.
The gallery, which is free with donations welcome, is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.
This Saturday during the solstice festival, the live-music element starts with a set by Abakis, aka singer Aba Kiser of Port Townsend, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Then classically trained vocalist and self-taught guitarist Kristen Marlo will perform from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and multi-instrumentalist Jack Dwyer, also of Port Townsend, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
There’s a literary dimension to the afternoon as well: local poets Gordon Anderson, Nancy Fowler, John Victor Anderson, Jon Langdon, Eva McGinnis, Dianne L. Knox and Ruth Marcus will offer their original work in live readings in the center’s front courtyard.
Visitors thirsty for more can take a self-directed poetry walk into the woods.
“Bring a blanket or lawn chair and listen to the performances,” said Jane, who added people also can go exploring the artwork in the park on their own with the music and poetry as a soundtrack.
While face masks are optional in the center’s outdoor spaces, they are required inside the Esther Webster Gallery. Dogs are allowed in the surrounding park provided they are leashed.
More about the center and its activities can be found at PAFAC.org or by calling 360-457-3532.
Beyond this Saturday, the Webster’s Woods Sculpture Park is open to the public from sunrise till sunset 365 days a year.
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]