I am incredibly grateful to live in a city and region that offers so much for the working artist. Active organizations provide a supportive cohort, workshops abound, both in person and online; and juried shows and group exhibitions seem to be popping up hither and yon, even as brick and mortar galleries close up shop. Art walks and museum exhibitions enrich my evenings and weekends and travel time. And then, of course, there’s my own solo show coming up in October, so I suppose there’s the issue of studio time.
Indeed, as the queen of FOMO (“fear of missing out”), I often find myself spread a bit thin. Nearing the end of a summer of too many workshops (all fantastic), juried show entries (with mixed results) and the birth of two new monthly art discussion/critique groups (much needed camaraderie), it is clear I need to take some time to reevaluate my priorities, and realign my commitments accordingly.
That said, one event that is now even more firmly planted in my annual calendar is the Anacortes Art Festival Juried Fine Art Exhibit. We attended the opening reception at the Port Transit Shed last Saturday night, and the vibe and the venue were so welcoming that we were talking about relocating to Anacortes by the end of the evening. The over-the-water, indoor-outdoor venue sets a memorable stage, with its soaring ceilings, rustic floorboards (see the water rippling below!) and fabulous shipyard location just a block or two from Anacortes’ great restaurants (we dined at Adrift pre-show).
But what really sets it apart is how incredibly well-run this show is, thanks in large part to the year-round staff. With their committed and capable board, they are able to organize hundreds of volunteers to keep it all running smoothly and efficiently. And they always attract the most highly respected jurors—this year, it was Barbara Shaiman, longtime curator of the SAM Sales and Rental Gallery and now the Alexis Hotel. She waded through 264 artists and over 800 images to arrive at the final 45 artists—all media—included in this very strong showing.
The juried exhibit is just one part of the art festival; it opens the weekend before the main event of artisan and craft booths, live music and festival food, all of which take place August 5-7. The Juried Show is open all week and through next weekend, so if you are hankering for a unique art viewing experience, I encourage you to make the trip.