‘The Dark Side of Art’ comes to light

Port Angeles Fine Arts Center to host pre-Halloween party

PORT ANGELES — Dress warmly — and in disguise, if you please — to be ready for an off-the-beaten-path party.

So begins the invitation to “The Dark Side of Art,” a pre-Halloween foray into the theatrical, the mysterious and the spooky at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center.

“I don’t want to spoil the surprises we have planned, but I can tell you we’re hoping this will be a few hours where everything is topsy-turvy,” said Sarah Jane, one of the conspirators behind the Saturday, Oct. 26, affair.

The event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. will unfold inside the center’s gallery and just outside in the courtyard; there, candles, mood lighting and heaters will lend a secluded feeling, added Jessica Elliott, another co-conspirator.

“Dark Side” is a benefit for the nonprofit Fine Arts Center, with tickets at $50 including catered gourmet fare.

All ticket holders are also invited to a free mask-making workshop this Saturday at the center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

The crew will be on hand with supplies, suggestions and creative examples from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To purchase tickets to the “Dark Side” party and find out more about it and the mask workshop, see PAFAC.org.

All of this is an entirely new venture. Along with the blending of live theater and scary art through the ages, the center’s staff has a few other surprises planned, plus sustenance in the form of autumnal soups, appetizers and desserts.

Tickets include all of the food plus a free drink, with additional beverages for purchase at the bar. Performances will be interwoven throughout the night, with local actors appearing indoors and out.

Anna Andersen, artistic director of the center’s summertime Shakespeare in the Woods festival, will join fellow thespian Simon Close, and the pair will explore the ancient witches’ plot that’s haunted the bard’s Scottish play for some four centuries now.

“What dreadful fate awaits anyone foolish enough to say its name aloud?” Andersen asks, adding that the answer will be horrifying and hilarious.

Ginny Holladay, a Sequim storyteller, will become Edgarina Allan Poe, to add some gender-bending to the festivities.

In full costume, she’ll impart Poe’s 1843 short story “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

“We’re planning for a really great party with emphasis on the fun and playful aspects of dark art, such as spooky storytelling, mask-making and disguises of all sorts,” said Jane, adding that “Dark Side” is open to guests age 15 and older.

Jane has put together a short presentation on how artists through the ages engage with darker subjects — and how the results give us a chance to explore human fears and anxieties.

These go from Francisco Goya’s macabre paintings to Kara Walker’s decorative — and disturbing — cut-paper silhouettes.

When guests arrive at “The Dark Side,” Jane said, they will step through a door into an art experience unlike the typical Saturday evening.

Jane, whose official title is gallery and program director, and Elliott, officially executive director, dreamed up this event in an effort to add something different to the season’s offerings.

They also hope local residents and visitors will explore the Fine Arts Center, with its free exhibitions and activities.

In the gallery, Peninsula College ceramics professor Steve Belz has a solo show of his abstract sculptures, “Taking It In,” up through Nov. 24.

Outside, the 5-acre Webster’s Woods park is open from dawn till dusk every day of the year.

To find out more about visiting the center as well as becoming a member, visit PAFAC.org or see the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center page on Facebook or call the center at 360-457-3532.

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