Sandpoint at its artsiest

Pend Oreille Art Council’s 44th annual ArtWalk kicks off June 18

By Claire Christy
Reader Contributor

The sun is shining, school is out and the tourists have arrived. That means ArtWalk season is upon us. 

This year, the Pend Oreille Arts Council has teamed up with more than 25 local businesses and nearly 100 local artists to host this community-wide event for all ages. 

A collection by Daris Judd. Courtesy photo.

Ting Internet has generously sponsored the brochure that serves as a guide to all of the ArtWalk locations. Visitors can pick one up at any participating location or view it on POAC’s website at Visitors are encouraged to visit each venue and enjoy local retail, restaurants and art. Opening receptions are Friday, June 18 at 5:30-8 p.m., and the ArtWalk tour is set to beautify Sandpoint throughout the summer until Sept. 3.

ArtWalk participants will see a varied range of artwork by local artists. Some venues will be exhibiting the work of POAC’s artist members. Others use ArtWalk as an opportunity to promote their artists in residence. From Ed Robinson’s Plein Aire work at Outdoor Experience to Rebecca Vader’s ethical taxidermy at Eichardt’s Pub, there is sure to be something for everyone. 

Venues like Wolf & Bell and Whiskey Jack Pottery allow visitors to connect with local artists who own downtown storefronts. At the POAC Gallery at 110 Main St., we have a diverse display of work ranging from jewelry by Mary Gayle Young to bronze sculptures by Steve Gevurtz. 

Columbia Bank Community Plaza at 231 N. Third Ave. is a stop on the map worth noting. With a group exhibit of ten artists, viewers can enjoy a variety of painting and photography styles. The works of the Geezer Drawing class will be on display as well. Geezer Drawing is a free drawing class for seniors sponsored by POAC and hosted by the Sandpoint Area Seniors Center. POAC will be serving complimentary wine, but all ages are encouraged to stop in and experience the exhibit.

POAC is also welcoming some new venue participants in 2021. Bluebird Bakery is a beautiful space on the corner of First Avenue and Cedar Street. Candace Hultberg-Bennet, a local photographer, is featured in this clean and serene location. 

The 44th annual ArtWalk will be the first to include tattoo shops on the map. Bleeding Hearts Tattoo Emporium and Black Elk Collective have carefully curated their collections. These stops are visually stimulating and full of artwork to peruse.

Carousel of Smiles is also a new stop on the map this year. The location features a wooden carousel that hasn’t operated since 1952; restoration is underway by a group of local artists. It will become a permanent fixture in Sandpoint upon its completion. 

Cropper & Co. Barber Shop will be featuring Barry Burgess for their first ArtWalk. With a fun and energetic staff, they have artwork to match.

As always, ArtWalk is a family-friendly event, but please note: If you plan to bring the kiddos with you, the 219 Lounge can’t welcome them in to view the murals by Nan Cooper, Maria Larsen and Jeff Rosenkrans. Be advised the tattoo shop stops may have partial nudity included in the artworks.

There is a performing arts component to ArtWalk this year. Art as Theatre, a series of one-act plays written and directed by Teresa Pesce, will have its opening night on Friday, June 25, at the Panida Theater. Artworks by Suzanne Jewel, Scott Kirby, Pat Ragone and Connie Scherr inspired Pesce to write Art as Theatre. Visitors can see the work on display at the Little Panida Theater for the opening receptions of ArtWalk. On June 25, visitors can get another look at the artwork and mingle with the artists at another reception preceding the plays. The second reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Little Panida, the show to follow in the main theater at 7:30 p.m.

After the year we’ve had, we could all use a leisurely night of socialization and art as a community. Your attendance and support mean a lot to the local businesses, artists and those who aid in making ArtWalk happen.

Sculptures by Steve Gevurtz. Courtesy photo.

I often compare working with artists to herding butterflies. As an artist myself, I get it. We spend much of our time chasing inspiration, creating our own realities on canvas and working our day jobs. When it comes to appointments, sales and paperwork, we would rather skip it all and spend our time simply creating. 

Even so, I find organizing ArtWalk to be one of the best parts of my job. I appreciate each venue that signs on to support POAC and each artist who dares to display their work for the public. I am honored to spend my time herding butterflies. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Part of the collection by Jenni Barry. Courtesy photo.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this event happen, and thank you to all who show up to enjoy it.

Claire Christy is the arts coordinator for the Pend Oreille Arts Council.

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