One-man guitar fest . . . and art barrels . . . tonight

PORT ANGELES — The effort to bring art to the forefront of life on the North Olympic Peninsula will get a boost tonight as the fledgling Port Angeles Arts Council hosts a fundraising concert and announces the winners of the “art barrels.”

The barrels were donated by area wineries, then painted or decorated by local artists who donated their talents to the project.

The barrels have been displayed in Port Angeles for several months and are now in galleries, where bids can still be placed.

Making a solo appearance at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center tonight is acoustic guitarist Paul Chasman, in A One-Man Guitar Festival.

Chasman is a professional guitarist who moved to the Peninsula several years ago with his wife, artist Anna Wiancko Chasman, who contributed a painted barrel to the project.

Chasman began playing the guitar as a child, when he was “drawn like a magnet” to the instrument.

“It’s been a lifelong love affair,” he said.

He is credited with developing a unique system of harmonics on the guitar that results in cascading, bell-like tones.

Guitar Player magazine called him, “one of the most deft harmonics practitioners.”

Based in Oregon, he performed for many years both solo and as part of the group, Acoustic Guitar Summit, playing to packed houses in Oregon, Washington and California.

He has appeared on National Public Radio several times and has recorded numerous CDs, including three featuring music he composed for guitar and cello.

His work contains elements of jazz, classical, blues, bluegrass, ragtime and rock.

But his career as a musician almost ended during the years of the George W. Bush presidency.

He put down the guitar and picked up the pen, focusing on political satire.

He created a Web site under the pseudonym of “Carl Estrada,” on which he posted “Letters of Advice and Constructive Criticism to the Famous, the Infamous, and the Current Administration.”

During this time, he also penned a book of political satire called The Book of Bob.

For two years, he didn’t touch the guitar, and for another five years played very little.

In 2007, he and his wife moved from the Oregon coast to the Olympic Peninsula, where Waincko Chasman designed a custom-built home overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and he picked up his guitar again.

“This ‘One Man Guitar Festival’ I’m doing now is me finding my way back,” he said. “It’s a way of getting back in my groove.”

Chasman will perform on four guitars at the concert tonight: two custom-made steel string guitars, a custom-made eight-string guitar and 1959 Martin D-28, a classic guitar which he said was “on loan.”

The unusual eight-string guitar was made by Portland luthier Woodley White and features high A and low A strings.

“I thought the expanded range would give me more to work with,” he said.

Chasman has been seen at a few performances around the Peninsula, including an appearance at the Juan de Fuca Festival this year, and as onstage guitarist in the Port Angeles Community Players production of “The Man of La Mancha.”

He was also the musical director for the Community Players production, “Celebration.”

Wiancko Chasman is also interested in giving back to the community they now call home, and supporting the Port Angeles Arts Council.

Her wine barrel features playful ravens squabbling over grapes; a fitting subject for the barrel that once held fermented grape juice.

“It’s important to let people from other parts know what’s going on here in the arts,” she said of the Arts Council.

“The vision is to make Port Angeles an arts destination,” Paul Chasman added.

Wiancko Chasman creates nature-based art in a variety of media, from clay to painting and mixed media.

She has an installation of migrating salmon “winging” their way through the trees at Webster Woods at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, as well as a piece in the Envision Cascadia exhibit indoors at the Arts Center.

She is the featured artist for November at Art Front Gallery, and has work in several galleries on the Oregon coast.

Eric Neurath, Port Angeles Arts Council president, said by Thursday afternoon six of the 10 barrels had not yet met the minimum, reserve bid level set by the artists.

Reserve bids range from $300 to $500.

The council decided to let artists set a minimum so their work is not undervalued, even is it is donated.

“It goes counter to the effort to support art in the community,” he said. “As a responsible arts organization, we have to keep that in mind.”

Neurath noted that the barrels that do not meet the reserve bid will not be going home tonight. Instead, the organization will hold onto them for future fundraisers or exhibition.

“It wouldn’t be fair to those who in good faith place minimum bids on barrels,” he said.

All of the barrels can be viewed and bid on at the Port Angeles Downtown Association Web site, www.portangelesdowntown.com, until 5 p.m. today.

They can also be seen and bid on until 5 p.m. at Art Front Gallery, The Landing Gallery, Waterfront Gallery, Karon’s Frame Center, Olympic Stationers, Port Book and News, First Federal downtown, Crabhouse Restaurant and Wine of the Waterfront.

Neurath, a professional photographer, said the Port Angeles Arts Council is a nonprofit group of artists from all disciplines, including performing artists, visual artists, musicians and others.

Their goal, according to their mission statement, is to nurture the vitality of the arts as an essential ingredient for the quality of life on the Peninsula, promote the area as an arts destination and provide arts education in the area.

The group meets twice a month while it maps the infrastructure and plan fund raising.

The art barrels and the concert tonight are their first public fundraisers, and they hope to raise enough money to fund efforts for the coming year.

Membership information also will be available at the concert tonight.

For $25 a year, members get to be “part of an organization that supports the arts in this community like no other,” Neurath said.

________

Features editor Marcie Miller can be reached at 360-417-3550 or marcie.miller@peninsuladailynews.com.

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