A new exhibit opened Saturday at the Harbor History Museum and will run through Aug. 25.
The 14th annual Maritime Art exhibit displays artwork that focuses on a maritime theme, including the coast, ships, wildlife, beaches and people. This is the third consecutive year the Maritime Art exhibit will be at the museum.
The exhibit showcases work from artists across the country. Artists submitted their work online. Then a juror chose about 80 pieces from 200 entered to be put on display.
The Maritime Art Committee chooses a different juror each year, chair Sally Slater said. This year, Kathy Collins, an award-winning Seattle artist, was picked.
Committee member Cecilia Blomberg was in charge of hanging the different pieces. It’s important to select work that goes well together, based on theme, color and other various factors, Blomberg said.
“We want everyone’s art to look its best,” she said.
The juror also decided on award winners out of the 80 pieces selected. Eric Wigardt placed first with his watercolor piece titled “Port Townsend Repair.”
“Great composition and values, creative interpretation of the scene and full of light and energy,” Collins said about the piece.
Four honorable-mention awards and first- through third-place awards were given. Slater also named Janette Ryan’s photo, “Reclamation,” as the winner of the Joe award. The winner receives a free tugboat ride on the tugboat named Joe. The photo is hanging in the lobby of the museum as part of the exhibit.
The committee also picked a new poster photo out of this year’s exhibit artwork. Committee member George Milliken’s piece, titled “A shaft of light on a foggy morning,” will be next year’s poster picture.
The poster is soothing with a spot of red, committee member Britta Brones said. It will be used to attracted people to the exhibit next year. It will be on all printed and promotional materials, Slater said.
The Maritime Art Committee, a volunteer group, also was responsible for assembling the exhibit. The volunteers are all from the South Sound area and are artists themselves, Blomberg said.
The committee has maintained the same core group of members, adding and subtracting a few throughout the years. Blomberg has been a member of the committee since it started 14 years ago. She got involved because of Slater, the current chair.
“She’s a magnet,” Blomberg said. “She draws people in and makes it fun.”
Blomberg will be the committee chair next year.
The committee works with museum employees, particularly Victoria Blackwell, the museum’s curator of exhibits and collections, to organize the exhibit.
“Vicki is absolutely amazing,” Slater said.
The Maritime Art exhibit started 14 years ago as part of the Maritime Gig Festival, Slater said. Since then, the exhibit has moved around, she said.
The exhibit found its way to the Harbor History Museum three years ago when past member Doug Michie stopped in to talk to Blackwell about the possibility of hosting it the museum, Blackwell said. Museum officials were already thinking about incorporating art into their exhibits, she said.
“The temporary quality works well with art,” Blackwell said.
The exhibit has been successful in the past and is a busy time of the year for the museum,
“It is a great example of community involvement with the Harbor History Museum,” said Ted Smith, executive director of the museum. “We offer a quality exhibit by partnering with talented volunteers.”
Purdy Elementary School also got involved in the exhibit. Students in third through fifth grades each created a maritime piece of artwork, teacher Hannah Jay said.
Some of the students’ artwork is hung on the walls that lead up to the exhibit. However, all the pieces have been put into notebooks by the class for people to flip through, Slater said.
Two events that go with the Maritime Art exhibit theme will take place in August.
Rug Boat Building is an event for children to build a boat to play with on a rug. Plein Air Paint is an opportunity for the public to meet and paint a Maritime scene.
Both events are free but do not include musuem admission.
Another part of the exhibit is a twig boat located in front of the museum. The Maritime Art Committee, known as the twiggers or the twig gig, along with other volunteers, built the boat together, Slater said. They made it by weaving sticks from everyone’s yards together, Brones added.
Copper tags will be left out for museum guests to write their name on and hook to the boat, Brones said. The boat will be auctioned off in a silent auction, which opened Friday and will remain open through Aug. 25. There will be a bid sheet out for people to leave their information, and the museum will call the winner at the end of the auction.
Artwork displayed in the exhibit is also for sale while the exhibit is running. There are tags next to each piece of artwork with the artist’s name, title of the piece and price. Artwork may be purchased in the art museum store, and 40 percent of the proceeds will go to the museum.
“It takes devotion, year after year, coming together to do this show,” Blomberg said.