This month we introduce a new feature, "Making a mark in the arts" in which we highlight individuals who are making a significant contribution to the arts in our community. Discover and support the diverse creative life of Vancouver and Clark County.
ARTS brief is designed to intrigue you while sharing useful information, events, happenings, and current news related to arts growth in our region. If you love what you see here, please forward this to your friends and encourage them to
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Making a mark in the arts
Photo by Troy Wayrynen
Jan Asai, co-founder of Columbia Dance, continues to drive creative energy in the arts community
-- Jackie Genis
Jan Asai, 67 is best known as co-founder of Columbia Dance located at 1700 Broadway Street in downtown Vancouver. The thriving nonprofit, now a proud member of Regional Dance America was started in 1989 with jazz instructor and choreographer Wendy de la Harpe. The collaborative effort reflects both de la Harpe's and Asai's passion for the arts and their desire to bring the beauty of dance and the community together to celebrate the inspiration and connection that only art delivers.
"I can't tell you the satisfaction I get," said Asai about the results of the hard work that goes into the success of Columbia Dance. "I was walking through the studio one day, and there was this young dancer -- about 10 years old -- doing barre exercises in the big studio, and as she leaned back, I caught her eye, and she gave me the biggest smile, and I smiled back."
It wasn't a straightforward path for Asai. The oldest of five, and a dancer in her own right since age 6, Asai, a Colorado native, danced clear through college while earning a bachelor's in sociology.
In 1972, dance fell away as her focus moved toward finding a job, which she did as an accountant in Los Angeles. The success of this first job inspired Asai to both earn an MBA and become a certified public accountant. She later moved to Vancouver to join a national accounting firm in Portland, which ultimately led to her marrying the love of her life, Winston, a fellow accountant.
Asai's heart was still in the arts, however. When the couple's first daughter, Kristin, turned 5, Asai felt inspired to sign her up for a dance class at the Academy of Ballet Arts Studio, located in Hazel Dell at the time.
The year was 1987, and things changed when Asai also signed herself up for a jazz class with instructor and choreographer Wendy de la Harpe. There was no turning back.
Summit follow-up seeks input on Vancouver's new Culture, Arts and Heritage Plan
Arts of Clark County and the City of Vancouver will host a follow-up to last fall's Arts and Culture Summit in order to share Vancouver's new Culture, Arts and Heritage Plan and gain valuable input from the arts community.
Sunday, February 25 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. All summit attendees are invited to join in this free event.
638 Hathaway Rd,
Arts of Clark County welcomes new board members
Here at Arts of Clark County, we are always on the lookout for new talent and resources to add to our all-volunteer, working board of directors. Last month, we were very pleased to bring on two new members, Jean LaCrosse and Sharon Svec.
Jean comes from a background as co-owner and art director for
Tone Audio magazine and has 25 years experience in art direction and design for Mayo Clinic, Bombardier, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, American Express, and other companies. She has a design degree from the University of Arizona.
Sharon is a fine artist working in fiber arts and printmaking, and like Jean, she has a background in design and communications. Sharon holds an MFA from the Southern Illinois University College of Mass Communication and Media Arts. She is currently an independent design contractor and is Communication and Development Specialist for YWCA Clark County.
Art supplies needed!
Winter Hospitality Overflow (WHO)
Every winter, Laurel Whitehurst, arts supporter and founding member of both the Clark County Arts Commission and Arts of Clark County dedicates her time and energy to make sure homeless children can express themselves through art.
Laurel recently visited the homeless shelter in the Winter Hospitality Overflow (WHO) Program at St. Andrews Lutheran Church where families are sheltered. She reports that there has been a 30 percent increase in the number of children over last year. In addition to delivering art supplies to WHO, she stocks waiting rooms at the Children's Justice Center, Children's Mental Health Center, and Southwest Mental Health Services.
If you would like to help this cause, you may donate materials (rubber stamps, colored pencils, crayons, colored paper, glue sticks, etc.) by dropping them off on Thursday and Friday from noon to 4 p.m. at Angst Gallery at 1015 Main St. in downtown Vancouver. Or you may e-mail Laurel Whitehurst to learn how you can get involved.
Exhibit celebrates Black History Month
During the month of February, the NAACP of Vancouver shares an exhibit at the Community Library that tells the history of African Americans in Vancouver and the Northwest. The intent is to provide an experiential opportunity for all families of all races and cultures to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the black experience and how it has evolved over time in our community and region.
Included will be artifacts from The Buffalo Soldiers, Clark County Historical Museum, and 1st Families of Clark County.
Opening ceremony will be held First Friday, February 2 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Vancouver Community Library. This event is sponsored by The City of Vancouver, Ft. Vancouver Regional Library, Buffalo Soldiers, and Clark County Historical Museum.
Vancouver Community Library
901 C St.,
Then and Now:
Anne John retrospective, PART 2
"Then and Now" is a retrospective of the work of local artist and CAVE Gallery founder Anne John. For the month of February, more works from this prolific artist will be on exhibit as "Part 2" of the two-month show. Anne's work has been shown nationally and can be found in many notable collections. In addition to being regionally recognized, she is also a generous patron of local artists and the arts.
My work is deeply rooted in the Northwest, where my palette swings with the climate. My technique involves a textural surface laid down with acrylic medium, followed by a layering of oil glazes. I am fascinated with achieving a luminescent quality: lighting the figure from within. Painting dream-like narratives, I use symbolism and sometimes humor as a social commentary. The process involves a form of psychic grounding to my purpose as an artist.
-- Anne John
Opening reception for Part 2 of "Then and Now" is 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., First Friday, February 2 at the CAVE Gallery.
Gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tues - Sat.
"Then and Now" will be on exhibit through Feb. 28.
108 E Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver
There May Be Secrets
Second Story Gallery in Camas features whimsy with a dash of mystery this month in an exhibit titled "There May Be Secrets" featuring works by Portland artist Alan Rose.
The artist will be on hand to explain what he means by secrets when his show opens First Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Rose confesses to having an offbeat point of view. His flat, cartoon-like style developed with acrylic paint suits his preference for edgy but droll humor.
"There May Be Secrets" continues through February 24 at Second Story Gallery, open during regular library hours.
Camas Public Library (upstairs)
625 NE 4th Ave., Camas
Celebrate African American Culture through Music and Dance
Join in an afternoon of music, drumming and dance, featuring an International vendor market on Saturday, February 17, noon to 5:00 p.m. at the Luepke Center Community Room. This Black History Month event is hosted by NAACP of Vancouver and sponsored by the City of Vancouver.
All about African Dancing - Come and dance!
"The drums do not speak to the color of the skin." Music, fun, dance, for people of all origins and ages. Fun for the family!
All about African Drumming - Come and drum!
One-of-a-kind drumline creator and King School staff member, Eddie Esparza, will share his passion for drumming, and his students will perform and teach children how to drum! (RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 10 so we can have drums for everyone.)
All about Hip-hop - Come learn and dance!
Learn about the roots of this distinctly American music. Hudson Bay High School Alumni, Brandi Williams, will share her love and knowledge of hip-hop dancing and help us learn a few steps too.
Luepke Center (behind Marshall Center)
1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver
|Dane DeLloyd by Tiffany Burba
Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic
Thursday, February 8, at 7 p.m., and will feature Dane DeLloyd, actor/poet/pianist/artist extraordinaire.
DeLloyd has performed coast to coast in multiple venues. On the East Coast he has opened for acts such as The Roots, The Pharcyde, Faith Evans, and the Last Poets. On the West Coast he has played every tall monster at Universal Studios Hollywood four out of the last five years.
DeLloyd has self-published multiple chap books as well as two music CD's: 100% Organic Music and Serumade Adabeigio (literally translated as "the healing kiss"), his debut classical/jazz solo piano recording. His works have been performed in the Andy Warhol Museum as well as the National Poetry Slam competition. His photography is currently on display at the Waddell and Reed building in downtown Vancouver. Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic is hosted by Christopher Luna and Toni Partington of Printed Matter Vancouver. Open Mic sign up begins at 6:30 p.m. and closes at 7 p.m.
Our all-volunteer organization works toward building greater arts awareness, rewarding creative excellence, and expanding arts accessibility. We are working to facilitate long-term arts development for Southwest Washington. We envision a stronger arts infrastructure that includes an art center and a community-focused performing arts facility.
Your support will help to make this vision a reality. Arts of Clark County's current programs include our annual Clark County Open Studios tour and Poetry Moves, a collaborative effort that features the words of local poets on C-Tran buses. Both of these programs have already demonstrated the power of art in our lives to connect us, transform us, and fuel the economy.
4 ways to support the cause!
If you love what Arts of Clark County is doing for our community, please consider these ways to contribute:
Link your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Arts of Clark County using our code #84120. Just by using your rewards card number, and at no cost to you, every time you shop you'll help Arts of Clark County earn a quarterly donation from Fred Meyer.
- Shop online
Use this link to login to Amazon, and they will donate a portion of the proceeds from your purchase back to Arts of Clark County.
Arts of Clark County is an all-volunteer organization. If you have specialized skills, especially in fundraising, outreach and marketing, we'd love to talk with you.
Editorial Policy and submission guidelines
|ARTS brief is intended to be useful to readers by offering a curated selection of stories and announcements related to the growth of arts in our region. Submitted items should be newsworthy. This means that arts-related items for content consideration must perform well in at least two of the following five areas: timing, significance, proximity, prominence, and human interest. Please submit materials to our lead writer, Jackie Genis, email@example.com, NO LATER THAN THE 20TH OF EACH MONTH. Note that submission does not guarantee publication. We evaluate each submission to determine how it fits our goals for ARTS brief and whether the item under consideration aligns with the mission and vision of Arts of Clark County. We do not accept materials that primarily have a commercial objective.
About Arts of Clark County
Arts of Clark County
(AoCC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created for the purpose of promoting, encouraging, and enhancing creative expression and artistic opportunities in Clark County and Southwest Washington. The arts contribute to this region's unique character as a desirable place to live, work, and visit. AoCC and its volunteer board of directors supports all forms of art--music, theater, dance, and literary, visual, and media art--and works to ensure that arts experiences are inclusive of individuals of all ages and backgrounds.