MATT SCHUBERT COLUMN: Now is the time for all good sports to be arts patrons

A GOOD FRIEND of mine once argued that anything can be art.

He said that art was undefined; an expression of a concept in the physical form.

It didn’t matter whether it was a beautiful painting or a porcelain urinal, a la Marcel Duchamp’s famous, or infamous, “Fountain.” As long as it elicited a response from the viewer, he said, it was art.

This, of course, inspired great contempt on my part.

As a sports guy, I’m a bit more rigid in my world view.

For there are very few things open to interpretation in my realm.

Other than an assist in basketball, error in baseball or a holding call in football, it’s all pretty well-defined. A team either won, lost or, in the case of soccer, tied.

In my mind, I’m no artist.

So if I can replicate another piece of artwork (like Duchamp’s urinal), that means it’s not art. It’s just a shabby attempt at art.

In response to my friend’s argument, I created a piece of my own “artwork”: My back hair taped to notebook paper with the word “deaf” written underneath it.

“You want some ‘art?’ There you go,” I said, dropping the piece of paper on his desk.

A funny thing happened over time, however.

That disturbing piece of back hair art — displayed proudly in our living room — became a launching point for discussion in our house (we were roommates).

And after my friend moved, I held on to it. I still have it to this day.

It even sits inside a picture frame.

‘Pedaling the Muse’

I’m sure the two or three people still reading this are wondering, “Why did you just subject me to that mind-numbing anecdote?”

Well, another treasured purveyor of artwork on the North Olympic Peninsula — treasured by many more it’s safe to assume — is in need of some help, and it’s calling on the sporting community to pitch in.

The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center saw its funding from the city cut in half this year ($55,000 to $27,500) and must organize fundraisers to make up the difference.

One of the events includes a “Pedaling the Muse” bike ride from the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park to Webster’s Woods Outdoor Art Park, next to the Fine Arts Center, on Saturday, Sept. 12.

Riders will cross Puget Sound by ferry before passing through numerous harbor towns, coastal vistas, farmlands and forests.

An “art farm” rest stop will break up the trek as well as a “whimsical troll haven” (whatever that might be) and a stroll past the totem poles of 7 Cedars Casino.

Less-ambitious riders can support the cause by doing a 50-mile loop starting and finishing at Hollywood Beach in downtown Port Angeles.

“This event is a fun and novel way to celebrate the unique spirit of Northwest art,” Port Angeles Fine Arts Center director Jake Seniuk said in a news release.

“The beauty of nature is reflected in every pedal stroke, and the two art parks bookend the ride perfectly with their contrasting interpretive styles.”

There is an $85 entry fee for the century ride (100 miles) and a $60 fee for the half-century (50).

Some might think that’s a bit steep. They might even scoff when thinking about some of the art housed at the two establishments and decide they don’t need to support that.

(Side note: The white lawn chair “piece of art” at Olympic Sculpture Park even ruffled the feathers of my former roommate.)

Yet as strange as some of it might appear, those things get people thinking and talking. That alone makes it worthwhile.

For more information on the ride, contact Rob Sorensen at 360-775-4423 or visit www.pafac.org.

Then there were two

The state Fish and Wildlife Commission whittled down the pool of candidates for fish and wildlife director to two last week.

Not that anyone outside of the commission, which will select a permanent director during a public meeting Sept. 11-12 in Olympia, and the candidates themselves know who they are.

The commission interviewed six applicants for the position before choosing two finalists, none of whom was named publicly.

The department’s former director, Jeff Koenings, resigned last December after serving for a decade. Phil Anderson has served as interim director.

The former Westport charter boat captain was reported to be in the running for the permanent position last month.

Finalists’ references and backgrounds will be checked over the next couple of weeks, according to Commission Chair Miranda Wecker.

The commission is a nine-member citizen panel, appointed by the governor to set policy for the Department of Fish and Wildlife and select its director.

Minutes and audio transcripts of commission meetings are available at http://tinyurl.com/kumo8b.

Don’t expect too many revelations out of those transcripts, however.

The panel identifies each candidate only by letter (A, B, etc.).

Gibson Spit

It came to my attention that Friday’s “five things” failed miserably to in inform you, the exalted readers, about Gibson Spit.

Namely, I omitted the exact location of the saltwater beach fishery, which would probably be a good thing for people to know.

Anyhoo . . . Gibson Spit is located east of Sequim at the end of Port Williams Road in Marlyn Nelson County Park.

It is a wonderful place to fly fish for sea-run cutthroat and coho during a hard running outgoing tide.

________

Matt Schubert is the outdoors and sports columnist for the Peninsula Daily News. His column regularly appears on Thursdays and Fridays.

He can be reached at matt.schubert@peninsuladailynews.com.

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