WEEKEND: Art exhibit explores encounters with cancer

PORT ANGELES — The Second Saturday art stroll this month promises a giant blue dinosaur, a shimmering green bend in the Elwha River and a flock of artists facing their fears.

Those artists, from Port Townsend, Sequim and Port Angeles, come together in an unprecedented show titled “Embracing Life through Art . . . the Journey Back.” It’s 35 individuals’ responses to cancer, and it’s the October exhibition at the Landing Art Gallery inside The Landing mall at Lincoln Street and Railroad Avenue.

This show is a revelation, its organizers say.

Sky Heatherton, an Assured Hospice nurse and breast cancer survivor, worked with gallery manager Sharon Shenar to assemble the art, which ranges from a kimono of memories to a stained glass tableau.

“There are really incredible things here,” Shenar said of the “Embracing Life” display, which will stay up through Oct. 31. Admission is free to the show, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

A free opening reception is set for this Saturday from 5 p.m. till 8 p.m., with music by singer Kate Lily and percussionist Gerald Addison Pierce, refreshments and many of the show’s contributors present.

They include professionals and amateurs in many media: photographers Thomas East of Port Angeles and True Heart of Port Townsend; textile artists Hideko Goecker of Port Angeles and Seri Mylchreest of Sequim, watercolorist and sculptor Anna Wiancko-Chasman of Joyce, painter and potter Jenny Steelquist and stained-glass artist Sherry Mizuta of Sequim, painters Libby Sweetser of Sequim and Dena Henry and Hazel Hout of Port Angeles. Carol Janda and Melissa Penic of Port Angeles have also added paintings, while Martha Rudersdorf, Roberta Cooper and Pheryl Montroy of Sequim contributed mixed-media art.

Heatherton has one of her painted doors in the show; she was inspired to organize the exhibition after her own struggle with cancer.

Making art, she has said, got her through the long nights.

“I could shut off the voices of doubt, anger and fear,” she said, “as I immersed myself with the paint colors and the feel of the brush strokes.”

The response to the “Embracing Life” show, scheduled during the Breast Cancer Awareness month of October, has thrilled her.

“This is one of the largest shows on the Peninsula in many years, with just the sheer number of artists,” Heatherton said.

“Each one has met the challenges of cancer in their personal lives, and has words of inspiration.”

Since this Saturday is the second one of the month, Port Angeles is having its Second Weekend art festivities elsewhere around downtown. Among the other venues holding free receptions from 5 p.m. till 8 p.m. Saturday:

■ Studio Bob, 118 1/2 E. Front St., with the fourth annual Peninsula Fine Photography Show featuring Eric Neurath, Richard Kohler, Pam Russell, Harry Von Stark, Ernst Ulrich-Schafer, Randall Tomaras, Michael Berman, Charlotte Watts, John Gussman, John Vass, Pam Walker, Jason Kauffman, Sarah Lindquist and Gary Traveis. In addition to the Saturday evening reception, the show is open to the public today from noon till 3 p.m., from 3 p.m. till 8 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. till 2 p.m. Sunday.

■ The Waterfront Art Gallery, 120 W. First St., features live music by Howly Slim and new paintings and pottery by Diana Miller.

■ The Art Front, 118 E. Front St., with a large blue dinosaur image plus more than 30 other creations by graphic artist David Haight. The Port Angeles resident combines and manipulates pictures he’s taken over the years, and “when I’m done,” he promises, “I write a summary on the back of my work so you can tell what I was thinking.”

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