South Puget Sound Community College’s newest exhibition features 100 artists and 300 works in a wide array of media — and every piece is for sale by silent auction.
How does all of this art — by artists ranging from Joe Batt, Susan Christian and China Faith Star to college students and schoolchildren — fit into the modest gallery at the college’s Minnaert Center for the Arts?
In three horizontal rows that wrap around the gallery.
The college’s fourth annual Fine Art Postcard Exhibition opens Monday, and while the pieces aren’t necessarily designed to be mailed, each is postcard-sized and postcard-
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The theme of this year’s exhibit is “Out of Sight,” which has inspired an interesting array, from works featuring eyeglasses to Frank Frazee’s cartoon of a mouse wearing dark glasses and wearing a T-shirt that reads “I’m #3.”
One of Sheila Harper’s fiber-art creations is made of gleaming white fabric. Its only adornment is a sign that reads “Mt. Rainier” and has an arrow pointing straight up. Another work has an embroidered rainbow and black beads that form the word “rainbow” in Braille.
Brittania Kerschner, who coordinates the gallery at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, has both respected the theme and pushed the size limitations by creating a poster and folding it into a 4-inch-by-6-inch rectangle. What the poster depicts is, quite literally, out of sight.
The show includes paintings, collages, photos, ceramics and glass works, plus pieces that incorporate tinfoil, tape and more. As gallery coordinator Nathan Barnes put it, “We get everything.”
The show began as a fundraiser — and as a way to involve the community in the gallery. Artists pay a $5 entry fee, and proceeds from the items sold in the auction raise additional money.
“Last year, we made about $3,000,” Barnes said.
The postcard show has drawn more artists each year; last year, 76 participated. And while it’s open to all, it attracts many well-known local artists. Among this year’s contributors are Susan Aurand, Lois Beck and Kathy Gore-Fuss.
Hart James, whose work is currently on display at the Washington Center, has work in the show, as does Bernard Bleha, whose work will be shown at the center in March.
“There’s a lot of people who support this show,” Barnes said. “It really makes me happy.”
He encourages well-known artists to try different materials and techniques when submitting work to the show. “I hope they use this as an opportunity to experiment,” he said.
The show also draws big crowds of people coming to see and bid on the postcards.
“The show is just an exceptional way to connect the college to the community,” said Carol Hannum, who is on the gallery committee and suggested the first postcard show after reading about similar exhibitions elsewhere. “It gets more visitors to the gallery and more people to the openings than generally come.”
The shows have been particularly popular the night of the closing reception, which offers the last chance to bid on the art.
“Last year on the closing day, it was just jammed,” said Hannum, who also volunteers in the gallery. She taught in the college’s art department for 19 years before retiring five years ago.
“It gets intense,” Barnes said. “We have to tell people to step away from the wall.”