By Scott Rasmussen, Journal editor
Where can you find the creations of 48 local artists all under one roof?
The IMA, that’s where. And just in time for the holidays, too.
Beginning Friday, Nov. 16, with an opening reception that night, 5-8 p.m. The Islands Museum of Art will present its first-ever Visual Artist Registry Exhibit, a dazzling month-long show that features a wide range of artistic creations from visual artists based on Lopez, Orcas and San Juan islands, and Waldron Island as well.
The exhibit, entitled, “Winter is the King of Showmen”, a tip-of-the-hat to a long celebrated whimsical wintertime poem penned years ago by American poet Ogden Nash, the artist registry exhibit is unlike any artistic forum presented by IMA to date.
And that’s not just because of the number of artists represented in the show, it’s just as much about the wide assortment and variety of mediums and artistic creations one will find, including sculptures, jewelry, fabric arts, paintings — water colors, acrylics, oils, encaustics —pottery, glass works, photography and more.
“You name, we got it,” says IMA’s Beth Hetrick, mover and shaker behind the first-of-its-kind exhibit. “I think everyone’s been amazed at the diversity of the art. And each piece has a winter theme to it.”
An artist registry is a fairly new program at IMA, founded a decade ago as a home and promotional venue for artists from across the county.
By becoming a member of the museum, artists gain the exposure that the museum provides as a sort of- “one-stop-shopping” gallery for all. A quick glance at the IMA website, www.sjima.org, reveals just how alluring that exposure and a listing in the registry can be.
Both the registry and the museum itself represent an evolution in the local artistic landscape and for the San Juans as a budding “destination” for art aficionados, says Hetrick, who has been creating island-inspired art from her home on San Juan Island for more than two decades. The San Juans are steadily gaining notoriety as a hot bed of originality, she said, and as a home of both skilled and accomplished artist, much like the galleries and artists of Port Townsend or La Conner.
“The buzz is growing,” Hetrick said, “that the San Juans have exceptional artists.”
The registry exhibit will also have a multi-generational flavor to it, as several artists featured in the show, Maria Michaelson and Fiona Small, for example, not only were born and raised in the islands, but learned their craft here as well.
In addition to beverages and snacks, the opening night reception will feature music by local saxophonist Teddy Deane.
(Exhibit trivia: In its search for a winter time moniker for the show, IMA turned to Helen Machin-Smith and Daniel Mayes of Island Stage Left, who suggested Nash’s poem for the title).