PENINSULA SPOTLIGHT: Event shows off Peninsula’s artistic wealth

DUNGENESS — “Opulent,” when you ask the dictionary, means “possessing or exhibiting great wealth.”

As in really, blinging rich.

In the case of Saturday’s Opulent Art Show, though, it’s not about money. Instead, this event at The Cutting Garden in Dungeness beckons with the riches of local music, food and drink — and creative electricity.

Admission is free to the show, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the garden on Dahlia Llama Lane, an access road off Woodcock Road west of Sequim-Dungeness Way.

So it’s free to visit this Eden of dahlias, herbs and other furiously blooming flowers; free to browse among 25 local artisans’ displays; free to listen to music first by the Marmalades, a clarinet quartet, and then by multi-instrumentalist Alan Brock-Richmond.

SDLqThis is a day when people can take time to enjoy the nice things in life,” said Renne Brock-Richmond, Alan’s wife and an organizer of the Opulent Art Show. She suggested the show’s name because to her, opulent means splendor, and plenty of it.

In keeping with that theme, Saturday’s party is catered, with wild salmon or portobello mushroom sandwiches and salads from the Current Cafe, beverages from Wine on the Waterfront in Port Angeles and treats from Chocolate Serenade in Sequim.

These refreshments will be available for sale throughout the day, as will art in many forms. Sea-glass jewelry by Mary Beth Beuke, goat’s-milk soaps by Shannon Wiggins, tie-dyed necklaces, dresses and baby clothes by Kate Irvin, fine art photography by Maggie Parks, original fabric handbags by Lisa Kendrick and jewelry by Janet Bocciardi are all part of the event; they come from local cottage companies with names such as Galloping Goats Farm, Tie Mee, XS Baggage and Honey from the Bee.

“I think of it where I do painless Christmas shopping,” in no hurry, outdoors and among friends, said Melissa Klein, another of the show’s exhibitors. She’ll display her “crackle milk” paintings, fantastical odes to horses, dragonflies and other creatures.

Saturday’s show also offers opportunities to meet people who teach painting, sculpture and other art forms and connect with members of local arts organizations, Brock-Richmond said.

“And did I mention chocolate?” she asked.

Yes, but this artisan confection seems worthy of another look.

Jim Queen, owner of Chocolate Serenade in Sequim, handcrafts his ganache a little at a time for maximal freshness, then tantalizes passers-by with it at the Sequim Open Aire Market and at festivals like Opulent Art.

“We use the five senses,” in his tiny factory, Queen writes on his website, www.ChocolateSerenade.com. Then he catches himself: “Well, four senses; you can’t really hear anything significant about chocolate.”

The Opulent Art Show ambiance happens on only one day a year, said Irvin, the Port Angeles owner of the Tie Mee clothing company.

“Where else can you enjoy wine, chocolate, portobello mushroom sandwiches — that’s what I want — and walk around a beautiful garden, looking at art?” she mused.

The show is presented by the Burning Down the House Creative Collective, a Clallam County organization of in-home and online business people. Burning’s mission is to support small enterprises, develop artistic outlets and promote local and handmade art, said Brock-Richmond, the cofounder.

For information about the collective, visit www.BurningDowntheHouse.wordpress.com. To preview the artists participating in this Saturday’s gathering, visit www.OpulentArtShow.com or phone 360-460-3023.

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