IN THE SPIRIT Festival This Saturday

The summer is winding down, but there are still plenty of incredible festivals to be enjoyed before fall arrives! This week, we are looking towards the annual IN THE SPIRIT Arts Market and Northwest Native Festival. The festival will be held in person on Saturday, August 7, from 10:00 AM–5:00 PM in the Tacoma Museum District. This beloved summer tradition celebrates the diverse Native cultures of our region and is hosted by the Washington State History MuseumTacoma Art Museum, and Museum of Glass. The indoor/outdoor event is free and open to the public, including free admission to all three museums.

IN THE SPIRIT festival guests can see exhibitions featuring Native artists in the museums; talk with artist vendors and shop for original art, jewelry, textiles, and other hand-crafted products; participate in art-making activities at all three museums; watch artists work in the Hot Shop at MOG; and enjoy cultural musicians and dancers in the outdoor amphitheater at the History Museum. Food and beverages will be available for purchase at the TAM Cafe, and the Price Family (Navajo/Port Gamble S’Klallam) will sell their famous fry bread tacos at the History Museum.

Indigenous dance, music, and artist demonstrations are a festival highlight. The Alaska Kuteeyaa Dancers (Haida and Tlingit) have participated every year since IN THE SPIRIT began 16 years ago (with the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic). Returning favorites also include musician Vince Redhouse (Navajo) on Navajo flute and Rona Yellow Robe (Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy, Montana), an award-winning flute player and vocalist. Artist Raya Friday (Lummi Nation) will be on deck in MOG’s Hot Shop, creating with molten glass. ”I’d like to give a big hysh’qe to the big three museums of Tacoma – MOG TAM, WSHM – for carving a space and amplifying the voices of Indigenous artists like myself. Thank you for the opportunity,” Friday shared.

“The museums have been working with Native artists, curators, and community members through the IN THE SPIRIT Advisory Committee to develop a gathering where our visitors and artists can safely reconnect and celebrate in person,” said Molly Wilmoth, lead program manager at the Washington State Historical Society. “We are grateful for all of the talented artists and vendors who are participating both in-person and virtually. Along with the outdoor arts market and cultural performances, we welcome guests to view the exhibitions in the museums, including the 16th annual IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts exhibition at the History Museum. Visitors can vote in the gallery for the coveted People’s Choice awards.”

“Last year, the IN THE SPIRIT festival went fully online and was extended for a month-long period,” added Amelia Layton, public programs manager at Tacoma Art Museum. “We’re thrilled to be back in person this year to support Native artists. We’re also continuing with some online programming. The August 7 in-person festival is accompanied by an online arts market and several virtual programs that run July 30 through September 3, so we can provide even greater access to the outstanding Native artists of our region.”

Be sure to mark your calendars for the annual festival this Saturday!

Remembering Larry Anderson

Few can boast that a U.S. President chose to be photographed with one of his works. Bonney Lake sculptor Larry Anderson can. An image of President Barack Obama was captured with Anderson’s sculpture, “Springfield’s Lincoln”. The bronze portrait is a lifesize sculpture of Lincoln, his wife and two of his sons.

Art is Larry Anderson’s calling and has been for over half a century. His high school and college transcripts would show an insatiable craving for artistic knowledge. Fearing he couldn’t support himself as an artist, he majored in education with a minor in art; in graduate school, he studied painting and minored in sculpture. After teaching for twelve years, he took a gamble to follow his passion—he left education to pursue art full-time. He has been at it for almost thirty-five years.

What inspires you?

For commission work, I do what’s appropriate for the site and setting. I like working one on one with clients, talking with people and doing the research. I try to make my pieces relevant to common, everyday people. Most of my sculpture work is life-sized and ground level so people can touch and relate to them.

What’s made you successful?

I’ve been very fortunate to have had opportunities. We all learn from our mistakes and keep working.

How long does it take to complete a piece?

For life-size work, sometimes it takes nine to twelve months to get it designed and put in place, including research, concept, foundry work and installation.

What was the most surprising compliment you’ve ever received?

While hiking in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, I was riding on a tram to the trailhead. Someone noticed my Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine t-shirt and asked me what my connection was. I showed them the picture of my sculpture, “Continuum” on the back. The individual, a Denver veterinarian, became excited. He had graduated from WSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine and had seen some of my work there. I was surprised at meeting someone in that context who had seen my work.

Which work do you consider most successful?

A Civil War sculpture “Coming Home” at the Ohio Veteran’s Home in Sandusky, Ohio.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your work?
It’s always nice to get a compliment about a piece I completed quite a while ago. I enjoy having so many in the greater Tacoma area.

Janae Colombini

Washington Center for Performing Arts Launches Capital Campaign

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts announced last week at their annual Gala that they will be implementing the first comprehensive capital campaign since construction in 1985. With a goal of raising $8.6 million dollars to overhaul the many components that are at the heart of every theater, the campaign will touch every aspect of the Center’s interior.

Chaired by Alex and Tammy Bunn, the campaign is already 89% of the way to the goal, with over $7.6 million in commitments. With just a little under $1 million to raise, the Bunns are passionate about the facility. “The arts set children and adults up to pursue their dreams,” says Alex. “The Washington Center is an anchor in our community and shines as our region’s most treasured asset.” As a long-time board member and a past board president, Alex has a seasoned perspective on the Center and its needs.

Implemented in two phases, the improvements will be identified in two major categories as backstage and public spaces. Backstage improvements include lighting, sound, curtains and rigging.  All of these elements bring the theater to life for thousands of patrons every year. Public spaces will include 1,000 new seats, carpet, concessions remodel and interior design improvements, as well as infrastructure like HVAC and electrical upgrades.

Eager to ensure the interior of the Center matches the beautiful exterior which was renovated by the City of Olympia in 2014, Executive Director Jill Barnes believes the improvements will protect the community’s past investment and enhance how patrons feel when they walk through the doors. According to Barnes, “delivering a world-class experience is needed to maintain the highest level of quality in every aspect of the Center, from backstage and onstage, to our lobbies and concession areas.” She added, “We are proud to have the opportunity and support to preserve and care for the Washington Center for the Performing Arts like the cultural and community asset that it is.”

Barnes says the COVID-19 pandemic was a hurdle the campaign committee did not anticipate. “The shutdown due to the global pandemic has been devastating to the entire arts industry,” says Barnes. “The reopening of the Center is a true testament to the emotional power of the arts.”

She continues, “We ‘quietly’ embarked on a capital campaign several years ago. The pandemic added significant uncertainty and stress to an already herculean undertaking. The perseverance of staff, crew, and supporters during this time has been nothing short of miraculous. We know the full recovery of the arts may take years, and the possibility to recover in a fully renovated, state-of-the art venue made possible by this community fills me with hope and joy.”For more information about the Washington center, please visit www.washingtoncenter.org.

LoveOly Summer Fest This Year!

The Olympia Downtown Alliance is pleased to announce that they are launching a downtown street festival in historic Downtown Olympia that includes live music and performances, activities for kids and families, interactive art installations from local artists, local community groups, and a Biergarten featuring craft beer from 3 Magnets Brewing Co. and Well 80 Brewhouse. LoveOly Summer Fest 2021, presented by the City of Olympia, will take place every Saturday from July 10 to August 28, from noon to 6 pm.

The Olympia Film Society (OFS) has partnered with the Downtown Alliance to produce the headline acts for the festival on the Main Stage in the Entertainment Area, sponsored by Olympia Federal Savings. The Black Tones will kick off the summer concert series on Saturday, July 10.

Seattle-based rock ‘n’ roll band, The Black Tones welcomes audiences into their musical family every time they take the stage. Whether sharing an evening with the group as it opens for Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie, or Mavis Staples or rocking a late-night gig as the band headlines its own show (with mother and siblings in tow) at a prominent Emerald City venue, to know The Black Tones is to be a part of their extended sonic kin.

The Black Tones, which has already traversed the U.S. playing festivals in Nevada, Mississippi, and Oregon, and boasts their own hate group-fighting 8-bit video game will look to the new year with vigor, releasing a 7” on Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready’s record label in March. Undoubtedly, the band will pop up on the soundtrack to a family reunion near you.

Local support band Low Wires a new and unique PNW sound that includes members from the Dirty Birds and Residents Kings plus new indie sweethearts The Cavities featuring Harrison Hannon and Gabe Judd of Monk Flower.

Lacey in Tune Returning This Summer

Just in time for summer, things are opening back up! We once again can attend beloved events that are often highlights of our year. The City of Lacey Parks, Culture & Recreation, along with presenting sponsor Chick-fil-A, is just as excited as you are to see the return of Lacey In Tune at Huntamer Park. It’s just not summer without this incredible series that is free for all to enjoy.

Starting July 6 and running through August 10, Tuesdays will be full of entertainment the entire family will love! The shows start at 6:30 p.m., giving you plenty of time to pick-up that barbecue to-go, grab some blankets or chairs, and head to the park. This year’s line up includes comedy acts, magic and music, including a Harry Potter-themed night you won’t want to miss! The well-known Jeff Evans will dazzle you with magic while Alex Zerbe will make you laugh until your sides hurt.

Children’s Entertainment Series

  • July 6: Alex Zerbe, zaniac comedy juggler
  • July 13: Eric Ode, original music for kids and families
  • July 20: Buck and Elizabeth, musical comedy and ventriloquism
  • July 27: Ruth and Emila, mom/daughter kid’s music duo
  • August 3: Tonks and Aurors, Harry Potter wizard’s rock
  • August 10: Jeff Evans, magic show

Need a break during your lunch hour? Head to Huntamer Park at 12 p.m. for Lacey In Tune’s summer concert series. From July 7 through August 11, you can get some fresh air, sunshine (hopefully!) and relax while listening to some amazing artists. Each week is a different genre, so you can experience everything from traditional jazz and Sinatra, to rock. “Every year we are excited to welcome back the Army National Guard Rock Band,” says Sieler. “Full Metal Racket has performed at our series every year since 2008! They are back again!”

Concert Series

  • July 7: Washington National Guard Patriot Brass, traditional jazz
  • July 14: Dueling Crooners, sounds of Sinatra and more
  • July 21: The Electrics, midtown to Maroon 5
  • July 28: Washington National Guard Full Metal Racket, rock band
  • August 4: Swantowne, variety of music
  • August 11: Dmitri Matheny, jazz: Stevie Wonder Songbook
Lacey in Tune Movies in the Park

If you are looking for a fun and inexpensive date night or family night, head to Lacey in Tune on Friday nights! Four fun films are planned for this summer that make for great outings with your kids, significant other, or friends. Lacey in Tune has a mix of classics and new favorites that everyone is sure to enjoy. And watching a movie under the stars at the park is an experience unlike any other. The movies are projected onto a giant, 18-foot-square screen that brings them to life. If you haven’t done it, this is your year! Movies start at 8 p.m. at Huntamer Park.  “While we wait for it to get dark enough, we have some fun games folks can play for a chance to win great prizes provided by our sponsors!”  shares Sieler.

Movies in the Park Series

  • July 16: “The Goonies “(PG)
  • July 23: “The Croods: A New Age” (PG)
  • July 30: “Wonder Woman 1984” (PG-13)
  • August 6: “Jumanji: The Next Level” (PG-13)

A Few Changes

While it’s amazing that things are returning to normal, we still have guidelines that must be followed. At this time, in Phase 3, the State requires events to follow certain COVID-19 safety measures including: masks worn by anyone over the age of 5, small group gatherings up to 15 people, which need to be 6 feet from other groups, and capacity limited to 50% of outdoor area, explains Sieler.

In order to follow these rules, Lacey in Tune will have free pre-registration that is required for entry. You can register on the City of Lacey website. “This allows us to update guests about any changes or reminders of rules, and be sure we don’t exceed capacity,” Sieler continues. “Governor Inslee has stated that on June 30 mandates and restrictions will be lifted, but at this time, we are not sure if that includes every aspect or not, so we are proceeding as if we continue in phase 3 because we don’t know specifics. Our hope is all things like crowd gathering limits will go away and all who want to come enjoy the shows can!”

In addition to state guidance, Lacey Parks, Culture & Recreation will also be following Thurston County Health Department guidance to the series.

Be sure to bring your own seating and blankets, and leave space between other parties. You are encouraged to bring your own food to enjoy, as currently no food vendors are committed. Check the Lacey In Tune webpage for updates as this may change. Otherwise, picnic baskets from home are great, or stop by one of our amazing local restaurants and grab something to go on your way to the park.

When you get to the park, be ready to check in at a welcome tent. Then look for the group circles marked out, choose a spot and get ready to be entertained! With good food, good company and great entertainment, Lacey In Tune is sure to make this summer one you will remember long after sweater season returns.

For more information and to register, visit the Lacey In Tune webpage.

Comedy and Beatboxing with Tyler Boeh

Next week, the Washington Center for the Performing Arts is proud to present the comic talents of Tyler Boeh on Thursday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m. on the Washington Center Main Stage as part of their Best of Comedy Underground Series.

As an award-winning, beatboxing talent, Boeh has the ability to shift seamlessly from well-crafted material to improvised exchanges.  Boeh has appeared on “NESN Comedy All-Stars,” “Celebrity Name Game,” and two seasons of “Laughs on Fox.”  He has also released comedy albums and recently released a Dry Bar Comedy special, “Wait For It,” that has garnered over 25 million views online.  Don’t miss your chance to catch Boeh live.  Tickets can be purchased for the live and streaming show at https://www.washingtoncenter.org/event/the-best-of-comedy-underground-2/ starting at $26 for the live show and $12 per household for the streaming show.  The Best of Comedy Underground Series is sponsored by Olympic Rental & Landlord Services. Grab your tickets for this exciting show before they’re gone!

Tacoma Little Theatre Receives National Award

Fans of community theatre have cause for celebration– the Tacoma Little Theatre has been honored with the Diamond Crown Organizational Award by the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT)!

The AACT Diamond Crown Organizational Award recognizes longevity and vitality of AACT member theatres that have expanded programming and/or facilities in the past ten years and have the administrative leadership to remain vital to their communities for the next ten years. Recipients must have been in continuous operation for seventy-five years.

Tacoma Little Theatre (TLT) was founded in 1918 as the Tacoma Little Theatre and Drama League, and at 103 years is among the oldest community theatres currently operating in the United States. TLT’s vision is to offer a destination for the diverse community of Tacoma and Puget Sound by offering a well-rounded season of mainstage productions, staged readings, murder mysteries, special events, and a year-around education program serving both adults and children. TLT increases community awareness through special ticket programs and embracing other non-profit and service organizations, such as United Way. With the support of the community and local funders, TLT was able to complete a full remodel of its auditorium and lobby spaces, beginning in June of 2020. This was the first major upgrade since the 1950s, and came as a result of listening and responding to patron feedback.

After a break in response to the Covid pandemic, the theatre is looking forward to welcoming back patrons in the fall of 2021! Stay tuned for updates on future Tacoma Little Theatre productions.

Debra Van Tuinen’s New Gallery Offering Light and Inspiration

Layers of blue, grey and silver leaf create deep and translucent layers that almost obscure the tiny boat in Debra Van Tuinen’s “Adrift” which is currently on view at her new gallery in downtown Olympia. The work, which seems to change from different angles, was created during the long months of the pandemic. For Van Tuinen, it reflects the crashing waves of confusion and deep sense of isolation many people struggled with and experienced in 2020.

With over a 40-year career as an artist, art teacher, and art supporter, Van Tuinen’s dedication to not only creating but sharing her work was not deterred by the limitations of the lockdown. The arrival of this new gallery, which opened in August of 2020, comes at an incredibly important time for art aficionados. Restricted from visiting museums, Van Tuinen’s work is viewable from the street through giant, light-filling windows as well as for private appointments. “I want people to be able to see my work and learn about what I do. You don’t have to be able to buy a piece,” said Van Tuinen.

Additionally, as travel restrictions limit explorations and adventures, it is through her work that new views can be found and savored. Focused on the personal exploration of landscape, many of these works can transport you
instantaneously to other places for that much needed change of scenery.

“Van Tuinen’s paintings possess radiance,” wrote LA art critic Doug Meyer. “They bask in the reflected light of a physical universe beyond the picture plane.”

She hopes to have a large grand opening to celebrate the new gallery and participate in the spring Art Walk in Olympia.

Eventually, she’d like to offer classes in the adjoining studio on encaustic techniques. Until then, Van Tuinen encourages people to walk by and enjoy the work on view.

With a career that has taken her art work around the world and included in private, corporate and museum collections, the Pacific Northwest is lucky to have an artist that remains grounded and accessible to anyone interested to enjoy the voyages of her work.

For Additional Information
Van Tuinen Art
vantuinenart.com

BY HILLARY RYAN

RAGS Boutique- Online Sale 2021

Beautiful jewelry, creative clothing, and distinctive accessories from more than 55 artists of local, regional, and national acclaim will be offered for sale at the RAGS boutique-style show. This 27th annual RAGS Wearable Art Sale and gallery competition will take place online March 14-21, 2021, and an exclusive presale will be available to donors March 12–13. Besides its “Marketplace” sale, RAGS also features a juried gallery of one-of-a-kind items, with the winners in several categories earning cash awards. Artist give one third of sales to RAGS to benefit the YWCA’s life-saving domestic violence intervention programs.  

Run by an all-volunteer guild and supported by local businesses and individuals, 100 percent of RAGS proceeds go directly to the YWCA.

“What makes RAGS a distinctive event? The blend of art, fashion, shopping, and fundraising for an important cause,” explains RAGS chair Mandi Webster-Martin. “Domestic violence is an all too familiar issue in our community. All of us — loyal shoppers, inspired artists and committed volunteers — believe that it is important to fund programs offering hope to families affected by domestic violence. The RAGS event offers an opportunity to support not only the YWCA, but the artists as well. Our artists are small business owners and many of them rely on events as their main source of income. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many events in 2020 were canceled. 2021 in-person events remain uncertain, so we are happy we can offer this online alternative.”  

For more information about the 27th annual RAGS Wearable Art Show, visit RAGSWearableArt.org.

Celebrating Craft Visionary Lloyd Herman

Lloyd Herman, one of the leading authorities on the contemporary craft movement, has won the admiration and respect of art institutions both across the country and internationally.  Herman’s experiences have most recently inspired Northwest Designer Craftsmen to produce an exciting new documentary about his life and work promoting various crafts.

It’s easy to see why Herman was selected for the next Living Treasures video documentary. He was instrumental in the opening of the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and soon afterwards became the gallery’s first director. The gallery featured unique exhibitions that showcased pieces from a variety of materials and drew in large crowds. Lloyd Herman’s success at the Renwick Gallery also brought with it many opportunities for his shows to travel to other countries, making him an instant emissary for American craft to audiences worldwide. From there, the Renwick Gallery was able to broaden its program into an international venue for craft and design. Lloyd was energized by the challenges that came with establishing a premiere venue for contemporary craft, and from 1972 to 1986 presented over 100 exhibitions to achieve his goal of having contemporary craft join its rightful place among the Smithsonian’s family of museums.

And his career didn’t slow down from there. After his time as director of the Renwick Gallery, he said that he “hit the ground running with about three exhibition proposals that I was unable to do at the Renwick.” Over the next ten years his expertise was in constant demand, from helping the Cartwright Gallery in Vancouver B.C. to become the Canadian Craft Museum in 1990, to becoming the acting senior curator for the planned Museum of Glass in Tacoma in 1998.

The documentary on his life is scheduled to be released just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, in honor of where this craftsman’s legacy all began! For more information, visit the Northwest Designer Craftsmen at nwdesignercraftsmen.org.

Important Links

Northwest Designer Craftsmen: Living Treasures Project

nwdesignercraftsmen.org