Debbie Love, the Executive Director of Pend Oreille Arts Council (POAC), summed it up perfectly when she said, “It’s all about sharing the joy of art.” This heartfelt explanation of POAC’s mission is also the best possible summation of ArtWalk 2015, running June 19 through September 11 in Sandpoint.
In 1978, POAC envisioned and sponsored the first ArtWalk. Eight businesses transformed into mini art galleries displayed the works of nearly 20 artists, and the townspeople enjoyed a leisurely amble among pretty streets, pausing along the way to be astonished by the varied works of local artists who lived unassumingly among them all other days of the year. It was a revelation, and it became a tradition. Since then, every year POAC offers a highlyanticipated invitation to savor a stroll through town, browsing unique art collections on display in local businesses. It’s a boost for both businesses and artists, and an annual pleasure for the ArtWalkers.
This year ArtWalk features 25 business galleries hosting more than 100 artists. At the grand opening on June 19, starting at 5:30pm and continuing until 8pm, all the artists will be present at their individual exhibitions and one can actually meet these humble geniuses; a rare opportunity, as their craft is a solitary experience, not a social one. Scrumptious appetizers and a tempting beverage selection will fortify art-appreciators as they continue their self-directed tour, and foot-tapping music will fill the air here and there as well.
The large time-window of June 19 through September 11 allows even the most time-crunched art enthusiasts to be enriched and inspired, perhaps even impressed or entertained, by the phenomenal creativity of our resident artists.
Don’t look for limits in the works of art. An inspired array of mediums include ceramics, fibers, wood, metal, jewelry and almost infinitely more. Artist Tammy A. Crawford sculpts bas-relief amazements in plaster. Denys Knight hammers unprecedented creations from copper and gems. If the mind can imagine it and hands can form it, you will likely see it in ArtWalk.
And what is art? “That question has led to many discussions,” smiles Love. Rather than sidetracking into the pitfalls of the question, POAC chooses to take a wide and open road, according to Love. The artist’s path is honored. From acrylics on canvas to however the artist’s vision manifests itself in translating from mind into matter, art becomes almost any medium transformed in any way to create the result of inspiration.
Who can submit art for inclusion in ArtWalk? All submissions are welcome for review. “The door is wide open,” explains Love. “You never know who is going to walk through it. That’s what is wonderful about it!”
Her enthusiasm is genuine and reflects POAC’s sincerity of mind and openness of heart that allows art to be born, to breathe and to live. They are also committed to forming and fostering artists. All ages are welcome because one can become a young artist, no matter how old they are. Children are encouraged to express themselves artistically — before they think to self-edit or conform — through the Kaleidoscope Art Program for third through sixth graders. Teens are supported in developing their artistry, and every year local students involved in POAC’s Student Art Exhibit learn what it takes to display their artwork in a real gallery setting.
The wisdom of balancing freedom of expression with the practicalities of technique and presentation is a key to POAC’s continuing success in sponsoring the arts in Sandpoint.
ArtWalk is a community commitment to the soul of Sandpoint. “It’s so moving to see the streets flooded with people supporting the arts during ArtWalk,” said Love, “enjoying the art, meeting the artists, and sometimes discovering the joy of possessing a piece of art.”
Mark it on your calendar now.
Join the joy! ArtWalk 2015 brochures (with a street map of all gallery locations) will be available starting June 15 at the POAC offices located next door to the Panida Theatre at 302 North First Street in Sandpoint. Runs June 19th through September 11th. Call 208.263.6139 for information or visit artinsandpoint.org.*
* Please note: POAC.org is the web site for the Pony of the America’s Club and POAC.com is the web site the Port & Ocean Engineers Under Arctic Conditions. So remember, it’s artinsandpoint.org!