Free admission this weekend!
Saturday and Sunday
Sept. 10 and 11
Cascadia Art Museum
190 Sunset Ave.
A Spirit Unbound: The Art of Peggy Strong
Thursday night’s exhibition opening at Edmonds’ Cascadia Art Museum (CAM) observed a full year of celebrated exhibitions by the iconic art museum.
The special-invitation event, attended by over 100 founding members, acknowledged the career of Seattle artist Peggy Strong (1912-1956), as well as providing a showcase for northwest sculpture, and northwest paintings and studio ceramics.
In his retrospective remarks to those gathered for the event, founder and director Lindsey Echelbarger reflected on the successes of the museum and chuckled over the fact that for its 2015 grand opening it was discovered — as the doors of the museum opened to a burgeoning crowd — that there was no money in the museum’s gift shop tills.
Quick solution? The many volunteers working that evening grabbed wallets and purses and contributed to CAM’s first financial success. The gift shop made a profit of over $3,000 that evening.
Other adjustments had to be made so that everything could be in order for the 2015 opening. Although the museum board originally hoped 200 might be drawn to the opening, RSVPs grew to 550 the week preceding the September 2015 event. Where they might have been short of petty cash for the gift shop, “We didn’t run out of wine or hors d’oeuvres,” Echelbarger noted.
A lot can happen over a year’s time. As he continued in his remarks Echelbarger marveled at the fact that the CAM’s first gala held this past month is penciled to have raised a profit of $250,000. Marni Muir chaired the gala auction, with Susan Loreen as co-chair.
Successful financing of the museum has not been the only achievement. Echelbarger observed, “We haven’t looked back because we haven’t had time to look back.”
Membership has grown to 600 in the past year and CAM has mounted six main exhibitions and several sous openings, some of which include:
- A Fluid Tradition- Northwest Watercolor Society at 75;
- Christmas Cards by Northwest Artists: 1909-1990;
- Lance Wood Hart murals Fraternal Order of Moose;
- Northwest Photography at Mid-Century and Against the Moon: The Art of John Matsudaira;
- Looking Back, Moving Forward: A Centennial Tribute to Nellie Cornish & the Cornish College of the Arts;
- Northwest Sculpture: 5 Decades of Form and Innovation;
- Northwest Paintings and Studio Ceramics: A Regional Perception;
- A Spirit Unbound: The Art of Peggy Strong.
As each exhibition opened and closed Echelbarger observed in his remarks it was, “like saying goodbye to old friends, tempered by the excitement of what works would become our newest friends.”
On a final note before turning the program over to CAM’s curator David F. Martin, he alerted the gathering that Cascadia Art Museum will be featured in the upcoming edition of American Art Review, with a focus on the Peggy Strong exhibition.
In closing his remarks Echelbarger thanked executive director Brandi P. Clark, board members Marni Muir and Susan Loreen for their “countless hours of work” on the art museum’s first gala and said, “We’re making an impact nationally and internationally, thanks primarily to David F Martin,” the board members and CAM volunteers.”
David F. Martin
CAM curator David F. Martin focused his remarks to the development of the Peggy Strong exhibition, which actually began in the pre-computer days, “back when research was done by going to the library and searching through phone books.”
Martin recounted that he was in the midst of researching the accomplishments of artist Ella McBride when circumstances led him to Jean and Walt Walkinshaw. Originally planning to learn more about McBride’s art career, and answering an invitation to visit the Walkinshaw home to discuss the McBride legacy, he noticed the collection of art that adorned the Walkinshaw home – the work of Peggy Strong.
As they say, “the rest is history”.
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— By Emily Hill