Our group was founded in Portland, but we are right at home on the Oregon coast. Pacific Northwest Sculptors has just opened the group show, Into the Depths at the Newport Visual Arts Center (NVAC) There are almost too many Thank Yous to give to all for this opportunity. My first thank you is to the ones who came before, those known and unknown. The ones who gave their wisdom to the land and sea, and drew wisdom from the regions of the Oregon Coast, including the plants and animals, who have lived as music in harmony for tens of thousands of years. Can I breathe enough breath to give all those thank yous?
My first personal thank you is to PNWS Board Member, Toni Parque and her husband Skip, who acted as hosts in Newport, sharing their home, food, music, and stories of their participation in the Coast’s cultural revolution, starting in the 60’s, when youth and beauty were a travelling playground, the exuberance of a flowing artistry, erupting into logging towns and sleepy beach resorts up and down the coast. Our show of sculpture at NVAC is a direct descendant of that cultural revival, celebrating the land/sea and diverse artistry. The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts is the organizational heir to supporting art on the Oregon Coast, providing for the NVAC facility and management of our sculpture there. Gallery director, Chasse Davidson and her team at NVAC get another shout out of Thank You for caretaking our art.
Our opening was eventful. We heard an impromptu artist’s talk from nearly every artist who attended, about half of the 30 artists in the show, an informative and bonding experience. That’s a lot of thank yous for the artists who showed up and shared their art and their selves, quintessential PNWS. I spoke as well, laying claim to the awkwardness and embarrassment of public speaking. We get to fully have ourselves on these platforms and give ourselves away, but we are not made less by that. Sharing ourselves in a setting of mutual respect, makes us larger. This goes beyond us as specific people and places, beyond our artistic approach to style or medium. This can be an attitude towards living that is collaborative, open to unexpected input, at ease with our own contributions.
The regenerative resources of the arts, their variety and power to transform have a parallel in the geography, flora and fauna of the Oregon Coast. I believe all these phenomena: art, sea and land are best maintained with a sense of awe, and lightness, give-and-take, honoring and sharing. Calling this the wisdom of the coast, as expressed in the traditional potlatch, a sacrifice of riches in a time of abundance. The land and sea give so much; artists also have access to the limitless possibilities of new meanings. PNWS is a means to share the burden of our abundance, to give our experience, skills and stylistic idiosyncrasies to each other and the world, with ease and celebration. A big gallery opening, our website, newsletter, social media and potluck/studio tours, all overflowing ways to express and share. Involve yourself, help us maintain this. The returns will be great and unexpected.