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Art and Culture

Spring Art Show at Peninsula

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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The art show goes on amid financial woes

For two decades, the Peninsula Art Association has sponsored its Spring Art Show in Shelton, but this year may be its last if new funding sources can't be found.

"We can't get the financial support we need from businesses. The times are tough for everybody," art association vice president, and last year's grand prize winner Deb Hart said.

The Peninsula Art Association formed in 1990, and two years later put on its first show at the Shelton Timberland Library. The library was the perfect location, association president Becky Schuyten said.

"We used to have it at the library so there were a lot of people that saw it, but the library said they didn't have the space to put it there anymore," she said.

For the past several years the association has been able to secure space at the Shelton Civic Center free of charge with the help of the Shelton Arts Commission. While the civic center allows more space for artists, fewer people visit the center to see the art show, Schuyten said.

"Even though the civic denter is nice, you don't get the traffic through there and people just don't go out of their way to see the show," she said.

Despite the change in location and the smaller attendance, the art show, which is juried, meaning that art must be approved by judges to be placed in the show, typically draws about 120 art pieces during the show. Although it is a juried show, Schuyten and Hart said that all types of art are welcome.

Schuyten and Hart said that the decrease in local interest in the art show is indicative of a broader cultural shift away from going to museums and live entertainment to watching TV or playing with newer technology, for example video games or smart phones.

"They aren't doing face to face things like live theater or live art shows. It's very sad actually," Schuyten said.

While the overall cost of putting on the show is only $1,000, it is difficult for the small club to absorb the cost, association board member, and show organizer Connie Simpson said.

"We want to be sure that the club doesn't go bankrupt over putting on this show," she said. "When all the bills come in, I imagine the board will take a look at it and decide if they want to do it again."

Simpson said that sponsors are still

needed for this year's show, and donations are welcome.

While all three members of the association acknowledge that attendance at the show is waning, they all stressed how important art is for the community.

"People just don't get to see art anymore," Hart said.

Simpson also mentioned that the show helps bring tourism dollars to the area, because artists often travel from throughout western Washington to participate in the show.

"We put a broad net out and try to get people from a lot of areas - they have to bring their art here, so maybe they have to buy gas here, maybe they have to have a meal here," Simpson said. "In that respect I think it's sort of like tourism - the county would miss that money."

For the association and its members, art is an important part of life that should be shared with the community. They hope that with community support, the art show, and art in Shelton, will live on in the years to come.

"There's no limits on art, art comes in all forms," Schuyten said.

The Spring Art Show runs from April 20 through April 29. Artists interested in submitting their work can drop it off at the Shelton Civic Center on April 17 and 18. Cost per piece is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Admission for the public is free.

For more information, call Connie Simpson at 432-1011.

Original Publication Date: April 14, 2011

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