PORT ANGELES — The Summertide Solstice Art Festival at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center celebrated the longest day of the year — which falls on Tuesday — with art, live music, poetry readings and family friendly activities even though the sun didn’t seem to know it was the guest of honor.
Nonetheless, Saturday’s annual event highlighted the creative combination of art and nature in the fine arts center’s Esther Webster Gallery and Webster’s Woods Sculpture Park, and it’s is central to the center’s mission, said gallery and program director Sarah Jane.
“This takes advantage of the Webster’s Woods and the jewel that we have in the gallery,” Jane said. “We have a unique opportunity to present events like this.”
For the children crowding around a table to try printmaking with natural objects, the term “hands on” was truly accurate as some managed to get as much turquoise and green ink on their fingers as they did on paper.
Volunteer Scott Sinclair assisted children in rolling ink onto chunks of cabbage, grapefruit and lime halves and potatoes cut into stencils and then stamping them onto a piece of white paper.
Lauren Jorgensen of Sequim watched as her daughter, Piper, who had just turned 3, pressed the cut end of a lemon onto a piece of paper and then held it out in front of her to dry.
“I was here a long time ago, but this is the first time I’ve been to this event,” Jorgensen said. “I love it here with all the trails and all the things to do.”
Calder Frank, 5, was on a mission in Webster’s Woods to identify the six pieces of art that were part of a scavenger hunt.
Frank and his mother, Deirdre Frank of Port Angeles had already visited the gallery, where a flower collage he made in a program that was a collaboration between local elementary schools and the fine arts center was hanging in the “Blooming Artists” exhibit.
“We come here often, but we always see something new,” Deirdre Frank said.
The meadow in Webster’s Woods saw the most noise and activity, with attractions like cornhole toss and giant bubble making, live music on the stage and a tent for making solstice crowns.
Volunteers at the tent assisted children and adults in selecting from daisies, salal, sword ferns, marigolds, mint, chives, and lavender, among other things, and wrapping them around a headband and securing them with a pipe cleaner or floral tape.
The festival was also the debut of the fine arts center’s “New Growth” exhibit featuring eight new sculptures that will become part of Webster’s Woods’ permanent collection and 18 poetry installations as part of its “Poetry in the Park” program.
A number of the poets represented in “Poetry in the Park” read their work in the center’s courtyard as part of the schedule, but visitors can also take a self-guided tour of the installations and scan a QR code to listen to a poet reading his or her work that is specific to a particular sculpture.
Continuing in the gallery through July 3 is the “Blooming Artists” show, exhibiting works created by kindergarten through third-graders in Port Angeles that used the school gardens program as a springboard to create a program integrating art and science. The exhibit includes watercolors, pottery and assemblage that illustrate the natural world, from soil regeneration to insects.
Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached by email at [email protected]