Art school plans interactive sculpture
By BETTY FREEMAN
Whidbey Examiner Staff
September 26, 2012 · Updated 10:43 AM
It takes a village to support art education.
That’s what the founders of Pacific Northwest Art School in Coupeville believed when they started the school in 1986.
Their backgrounds in art were diverse but they had a common goal: an art school that embraced multiple disciplines and brought students of all ages, respected instructors and masters together in an atmosphere of collaboration and learning.
Now, Pacific NorthWest Art School wants a tangible reminder for the community that has generously supported the school and a tribute to the founders’ vision.
Executive Director Lisa Bernhardt explained the school’s plan to commission an interactive metal sculpture that would honor founders Lee Anderst, Del Bennett, Judy Lynn, Margaret Livermore, Muriel Pickard, Emily Ramsey, and John Shafelt.
“Everyone has a tree to honor their beginnings, but we wanted something that could continue to grow and demonstrate the need for community involvement as well as the founders’ vision,” said Bernhardt.
Greenbank metal sculptors Johnathan and Jandellyn Ward have been commissioned to design an outdoor piece to be installed in front of the Art School on Birch St. in Coupeville.
The plan is to have the sculpture installed by the time of the school’s annual meeting early next year.
When asked to describe his concept for the playful sculpture, Johnathan Ward said with a smile, “Think of it as Dr. Seuss meets Rube Goldberg.”
He’ll create a sturdy base with sheet metal, then he’ll repurpose recycled metal parts such as mechanisms that spin, gears that mesh, and other interconnecting parts that may make the piece light up or cause water to flow.
Each founder will be named, and represented with an element such as a paintbrush, knitting needles, ceramic bowl or a camera to show their preferred artistic mediums.
“I want it to be interactive, and people-powered instead of static,” said Ward. “After all, the school is alive, and it requires people to be active in it to succeed.”
Plans for the size and scope of the sculpture depend on donations from the community.
Patrons who give $250 or more to the art school at their annual Harvest Happening fundraiser will be honored with a gear or cog with their name on it.
The sculpture will grow and change each year as new donors come forward.
“We want the sculpture to be a visible reminder that it takes people working together to make a school like ours succeed,” said Bernhardt.
This year’s Harvest Happening fundraiser will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29 at the Coupeville Recreation Hall, 901 N.W. Alexander St.
Partygoers are invited to wear a harvest inspired mask and/or costume to win prizes, enjoy appetizers and wines, bid on auction items and have a caricature drawn for $20 by Oak Harbor cartoon artist Milt Priggee.
World music for dancing will be provided by Hejira Nation of Seattle.
“This night is all about supporting the important work we do to offer exceptional visual arts education, free community lectures and presentations, youth art, scholarships and art excursions. We count on the community’s support to make this all happen because it is your art school,” said Bernhardt.
Tickets are $50 at Pacific Northwest Art School at 15 N.W. Birch St., Coupeville. The school is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Purchase tickets online at pacificnorthwestartschool.org. Call 360-678-3396 or toll-free 866-678-3396.