1. A Spirit Unbound: The Art of Peggy Strong
September 9–January 8 | Cascadia Art Museum
EIGHTY YEARS AGO, Peggy Strong (1912–1956) first exhibited her artwork at the Seattle Art Museum’s (SAM) Northwest Annual. She was just twenty-four-years-old at the time and had recently survived an automobile accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Yet, despite her physical challenges, by her thirtieth birthday, Strong would earn recognition for being one of 60 women selected for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Exposition of Contemporary Painting, she would secure a solo exhibit at the SAM, and she would win a statewide competition to paint a mural at the Wenatchee Post Office.
The mural was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Treasury as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. Befitting its location, the mural depicts rural postal service and apple orchards. Visitors to what is now the Wenatchee Valley Museum can view “The Saga of Wenatchee,” which includes scenes of a horse-drawn carriage loaded with packages, farmers and orchardists at work, and a farm couple checking their mailbox.
Her father, a civil engineer, created a self-operated elevator for Strong’s studio in Tacoma, so that she could paint the large canvas panels of the mural while working from her wheelchair. In addition to completing several other murals, she continued to create easel paintings, earning wide acclaim for her work as a regionalist painter.
“I think the show is really important for many reasons. Strong overcame tragedy to achieve a successful art career, and she earned such acclaim during a time when women painters weren’t really the focus. It’s just fantastic,” said Nate Hegerberg, operations director at Cascadia Art Museum.
The exhibit will consist mostly of paintings, with a few carvings and sketches. The total number of pieces will likely be about 150 works of art. A documentary made by Strong’s sister, Gene Wakenshaw, 90, in partnership with curator David F. Martin will play on a loop from a video projector in the multi-purpose room.
September 15-25 | Schack Art Center, Everett
FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, the Schack Art Center has planned 10 days of spectacular fall arts activities for its fifth annual Schack-toberfest. One of the Schack’s most popular events, each year it draws thousands of guests who are eager to explore glassblowing by watching demonstrations, participating in hands-on workshops, and admiring hundreds of finished products on display in the gallery.
“Schack-toberfest is a community event that invites our guests to be part of the creative process, which is so important to us,” said executive director Judy Tuohy. “We like Halloween here, so we tend to get a little carried away.” Heating up just in time for the arrival of cooler weather, glass artist Jesse Kelly and his team will keep the furnaces blazing in the Hot Shop to produce more than 600 glass pumpkins, which you can pick and purchase from the “urban pumpkin patch,” replete with hay bales.
Watch Kelly’s creative process through the studio’s public viewing window, or if you really want to feel the heat and excitement of transforming molten glass into breathtaking art, you can participate in one of the “Make It Now” workshops. In just twenty minutes, working alongside a skilled craftsman, you can produce your own seasonal glass sculptures.
This year the festival is expanded from its usual four-day long weekend format to ten days of events. Mark your calendars for the “Pints & Pumpkins” evening on Thursday, September 22. An adults-only event, local breweries, including Scuttlebutt and Lazy Boy Brewing will be pouring and Lombardi’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar will provide the food. There will be entertainment in the form of live music, a silent auction, and glass artists at work in the Hot Shop.
On Saturdays, September 17 and 24, look for free art activities for kids in the afternoon. In addition to purchasing glass pumpkins, you can browse seasonal artisan wares, such as wire spiders and knit caps.
3. ECA’s 10th Anniversary Season
September 29–May 20 | Edmonds Center for the Arts
THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON kicks off at the Edmonds Center for the Arts on Thursday, September 29, with Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers.
Hornsby is a pianist who has performed with The Grateful Dead since 1988, most recently at last summer’s reunion shows in Chicago and on the Day of the Dead tribute album. Hornsby’s solo projects with his current band, The Noisemakers, include his latest album Rehab Reunion, which features cameos by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and soul singer Mavis Staples.
Other upcoming performances include Dr. John (October 8), Rita Moreno (October 15), and Momix’s Opus Cactus (October 22).
“Creating the line-up of each ECA Season is an adventure in itself,” Executive Director Joe McIalwain explained in a recent press release. “We bring a combination of award-winning contemporary artists to our intimate stage, as well as an exciting mix of music, dance, theatre and comedy for our audience to discover.
McIalwain has been with the center since the beginning, and its successful programming is largely due in part to his vision for the organization. Edmonds Center for the Arts celebrated its 10th Anniversary in July. The anniversary event was free of charge to thank the community for its support.
4. Write on the Sound
October 1-2 | Frances Anderson Center, Edmonds
HUNDREDS OF WRITERS will travel to picturesque downtown Edmonds from throughout the Pacific Northwest and further afield to study the craft of writing with a support-ive community of fellow writers and editors during Write on the Sound (WOTS), held at the Frances Anderson Center.
Writers will attend workshops, panel discussions, and manuscript critiques. Last year, was the conference’s thirtieth event. John Moe is this year’s keynote speaker, joining the ranks of such luminaries as Natalie Goldberg, Anne Lamott, and Timothy Egan.
Each year, a featured visual artist’s works are on display at the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation Gallery during the conference. The artwork helps to establish a thought-provoking and creative atmosphere to inspire writers. This year’s artist for WOTS is Tina Randolph, a mixed media visual artist whose studio is in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
“My sensibilities inform my work: the quiet, tactile, and often unheard and unseen. I hear the whisper and feel the subtle touch of life,” Randolph said.
Randolph will show a combination of new and existing work, mostly encaustic paintings done in hot wax, many of them featuring typography, which makes them particularly appropriate for a conference devoted to the written word.
The WOTS conference requires registration, but the art exhibit and a brief talk by Tina Randolph on Sunday, October 2, will be open to the public.
5. Everett Philharmonic Orchestra
October 8, 7-9 p.m. | Everett Civic Auditorium
LED BY MUSIC DIRECTOR AND CONDUCTOR Dr. Paul-Elliott Cobbs, the Everett Philharmonic Orchestra will perform a concert, Masterworks, which includes Aaron Copland’s “The Tender Land Suite,” George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with John Pickett on the piano, and Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7.
”Hobbs is an award-winning conductor who studied at the Akademie für Musik, Vienna. William Grant Still’s Afro-American Symphony was the subject of his doctoral thesis, and his reading of it sold out the Carnegie Hall in 2006, the first time the symphony was performed since Stills conducted it three decades prior.
Arrive to Masterworks an hour early, at 6 p.m. for a Stage Side Chat.
6.Coast to Coast WEST
October 13–January 11 | Washington State Convention Center, Seattle
FOR SEVERAL MONTHS this fall and winter, the Washington State Convention Center’s (WSCC) Rotating Art Gallery will feature a juried exhibit of 100 works of art by women artists from across the country.
Coast to Coast WEST is one of two bicoastal exhibits that are the result of a partnership between The National Association of Women Artists (NAWA) and the Women Painters of Washington (WPW). Both organizations have advocated for women artists for decades. NAWA was formed in 1889, more than three decades before women’s suffrage, and WPW recently celebrated its 85th birthday.
Women remain underrepresented in solo exhibitions, galleries, museums, and permanent collections. Los Angeles-based artist Micol Hebron noticed a gender bias in local art galleries that prompted her to launch Gallery Tally, a worldwide, collaborative movement to count the male-to-female ratio of gallery rosters. Artists submitted counts for more than 500 galleries. Despite that women now comprise more than 65 percent of MFA programs, on average, 70 percent of artists represented by galleries are men.
“Gender inequity is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. If you look at numbers of people of color, disabled artists, LGBTQ artists, older artists, the biases are even worse,” Hebron said in an interview in Hyperallergic.
The Coast to Coast exhibits are intended to serve as a corrective. Among the West Coast exhibitors several call the North Sound home, including Yael Zahavy-Mittelman of Bothell, Janet Hamilton of Everett, Donna Levitt and Darlene Gentry of Edmonds, and Kathy Collins and Marjorie Thompson of Lake Forest Park.
WPW curator Deborah Paine, former curator of the Microsoft Arts Collection and current curator and collections manager at the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture, praised Thompson’s painting, writing that “bursts of color in works such as Marjorie Thompson’s encaustic and mixed media painting Queen Bee… provide a cacophony of visual excitement that is sure to surprise and delight.”
The second-floor gallery at the WSCC is open to the public daily from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., free of charge with no tickets for admission.
7. Beaux Arts Dinner and Auction
October 15 | Lynnwood Convention Center, Lynnwood
THE OLYMPIC BALLET SCHOOL & THEATRE in Edmonds will host its annual Beaux Arts Dinner and Auction to raise funds for the 2016–2017 season. Tickets include dinner and wine. A silent and live auction will be held during the event, as well as a performance that will preview the upcoming season’s productions.
In December, the Theatre will hold its annual production of The Nutcracker. Performances of the romantic ballet Giselle will be in April.
Artistic directors Mara Vinson and Oleg Gorboulev operate the School and Theatre, which despite sharing a name, are distinct organizations with distinct missions. The School offers ballet training to students who range in age from three to eighteen. The Theatre presents professional productions with visiting artists each season. Performances are held at the Everett Performing Arts Center and the Edmonds Center for the Arts.
Vinson said, “Both Olympic Ballet Theatre and Olympic Ballet School have been proudly based in Edmonds for over 35 years. We feel fortunate to be a part of a vibrant arts community that recognizes the importance of the work that we do; it pushes us to keep growing artistically and present quality performances for our audiences.”
Vinson calls Giselle, the Spring 2017 production “achingly beautiful.” Be sure to purchase your tickets for the Beaux Arts Dinner to support performances of The Nutcracker and Giselle, and get an exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming season.
8. Pump Boys and Dinettes
October 28–November 20 | Village Theatre at Everett Performing Arts Center
AFTER A RUN in Issaquah, the Village Theatre will bring Pump Boys and Dinettesto the Everett Performing Arts Center. A Tony-nominated musical that garnered praise both on and off Broadway, it resonates with the sweet twang of country-western music played on piano, guitar, bass, and kitchen utensils.
Follow along as the “pump boys,” four men who work at a gas station off North Carolina’s scenic Highway 57, celebrate life’s simple pleasures—fishing, beer, and good music. Across the street at the local diner, the Cupp sisters serve up coffee and pie and tunes of their own.