Published October 05, 2012
Arts Walk becomes a family affairMOLLY GILMORE
Arts Walk in case youre new to the area is a twice-yearly celebration of the creative spirit. And its all set in the streets and shops of downtown Olympia.Its a time to mingle with friends and neighbors, stop into shops owned by friends and neighbors, and look at art made by friends and neighbors (and their children).Right? Well, most of the time. But not all of the Arts Walk artists live in South Sound or even in Washington state.This year features artists from at least as far away as Illinois.Having artists from out of town is good for the artistic gene pool, said Stephanie Johnson, the city of Olympias arts and events manager. There are different artistic visions we might not have in town.But lest you think that Arts Walk has been co-opted by people who dont drink the water, lay your fears to rest.These artists didnt just happen from nowhere, she said. They are like extended family.This is about people from Olympia being very excited about the event and wanting to share it with their friends and relatives.Let us introduce you to a few of them:RUTH WADDELL of Cornville, Ariz.Showing: Southwest landscapes in pastelWhere: The Mark, 407 Columbia St. SWOlympia connection: Waddell is step-grandmother to The Marks owner, Lisa Owens.Waddell is in her 80s and has been an artist all of her life, but shes relatively new to showing her work, Owens said.Owens grandfather is the noted sculptor John Henry Waddell, and for many years, the couple focused most of their energy on his work.All during my grandfathers career, she has taken a back seat, said Owens, who had planned to show her own work until a chat with Grandma changed her mind. Grandma was focused on making all of his work work. Its a huge thing to deal with life-size bronze work.The couple had a lot to manage, with apprentices staying on their property.These days, though, life has slowed down, and both go into the studio every day to do their own work.She is excited to be the artist in the family who is actually selling some of her work, Owens said. That is how they make their living.The Waddells wont be visiting Olympia for the show.More information: artbyruthwaddell.com; themarkolympia.comPRISCILLA PERKINS of Oak Park, Ill.Showing: Documentary embroideryWhere: Olympia Coffee Roasting Co., 108 Cherry St. NEOlympia connection: Perkins mother, Donna Marcellino, and brother Tony Perkins live here. Tony is married to artist Carrie ONeill, who suggested that Perkins participate.Ive spent a lot of time there, Perkins said in a phone interview. Im there at least once a year.Perkins is in town for the event and is excited to introduce documentary embroidery to Olympia. Shell be showing a series telling the stories of Mexican men who came to the United States during World War II to do farm work while many American men were at war. The government asked Mexico to recruit laborers to come, she said. Now the favors that Mexico did for us have kind of been forgotten.Her art form is a painstaking one, involving lots of research in addition to design and stitching time. She works from old photographs and newspapers and includes historical data in the images frames.More information: www.priscillaperkins.comKIM FAY of Los AngelesReading: From her first novel The Map of Lost MemoriesWhen: 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. FridayWhere: The Steam Plant, 113 Thurston Ave. NEOlympia connection: Cortney Kelley, photographer and owner of the Steam Plant, is a friend. Fay grew up in Washington, and her parents, Jerry and Cheryl Fay, lived in Olympia for more than a decade. At that time, Fay was in Seattle attending college and later working, so she visited often.To keep the readings short and interactive, Kelley will interview Fay about the book, which follows a female scholar on an international treasure hunt.Map, released last month, is gathering critical attention. Booklist gave it a starred review that began, Fays extraordinary first novel has everything great historical adventure fiction should.This is the debut event for The Steam Plant, Kelleys new studio. Therell be a beer garden in the back to benefit Patrons of South Sound Cultural Activities (POSSCA).Fay has a variety of reasons to visit the area this weekend including her own wedding reception with friends and family in Seattle. However, shes really excited to be part of Arts Walk.To come to places where I have friends and family and to be able to celebrate is wonderful, she said.