December 2021
Closing in on the end of a year and the arts are still thriving—lifting our spirits especially during times we need it most. Thank you arts supporters!

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Advancing the arts
Open Studios a success for both artists and visitors
Artist Pamela Sue Johnson's studio.
A special thanks to all the Clark County Open Studios artists for opening their doors, sharing their creative process, and spreading inspiration. Open Studios 2021 was a wonderful weekend reconnecting with our art community.
 
Thank you to all our visitors that ventured out and explored Clark County for the love of art! Open Studios artists reported over $100,000 in combined sales and counted over 1,500 visitors.

As part of the open studios hybrid plan, the Open Studios 2021 artists directory has two new category filters to continue to connect artists and patrons. Search for "Shop online" or "Studio appointment" to connect with open studio artists all year long.  
A year in review
As we begin (we hope) to exit this pandemic, there is plenty of evidence the arts in our community are coming back, signaling how the arts play an important role in the economic life of our region. Despite the challenges, Artstra has continued to advocate for, participate in, and program arts activities this past two years in different and exciting ways. We've kept going and look forward to a new year.

Reviving the Clark County Open Studios Tour for 2021 was indeed a success. Local business stepped up to sponsor this year's tour without hesitation and a hearty thank you goes out to all of them. Without community support and many volunteer hours this event could not happen.

Ten new poems now appear on C-Tran buses. Included are poems from Clark County Poet Laureate, Armin Tolentino and Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest. Poetry Moves continues to share poetry with the community in this unique way as public art.

Arts Alive! was the first event to bring arts organizations together in one place in one afternoon to share their programming with the public. Even though the weather looked stormy there was a robust turnout of over 400 visitors. While we are often quick to lament the lack of public arts infrastructure, the Public Service Center Plaza on Franklin Street turned out to be an underused but totally wonderful location. Let's hope more concerts and events can take place there soon.

And of course we had the amazing Day of the Dead celebration courtesy of Anna Cruz and her Vancouver Ballet Folklórico. The dancers, musicians, and beautiful luminaria at Esther Short Part attracted more than 800 visitors.

Looking back, this was a productive and exciting year. And now on to the New Year. If you are passionate and willing to help us please consider volunteering.

— Karen Madsen, Artstra Board Chair

First Friday Picks
Attic Gallery
Group exhibition
Joyful Columbia Gorge, Cathleen Rehfeld
Attic Gallery in Camas is exhibiting new works from gallery artists Anna Wiancko-Chasman, Monica Setziol-Phillips, Marcia Jeglum, Sandy Visse, Cathleen Rehfeld, Terri Axness, Anna Norris, Ted Norris, Tommer Gonser, Mike Smith, Leslie McMillan, and Chris Fackler-Lowery. December 3 through January 1.

Opening Reception: First Friday, December 3, 5 to 8 p.m.
Live music, wine, chocolate, and local artists in attendance.

421 NE Cedar St, Camas
SWA Holiday Show
Art at the Cave
Morning After, Christine Wichers
The 2021 Society of Washington Artists Holiday Show and Sale will be presented at Art at the Cave through December 31. First Friday reception is 4 to 8 p.m. on December 3.

108 Evergreen Blvd, Vancouver
View other Vancouver gallery listings on the VDA website.
Out and about
Sol Cejas
Haus of Luna art installation
It was a cold, dark and rainy Vancouver evening when my friends and I headed out to see the installation exhibit “Haus Of Luna.” We turned onto a residential road and found the little grey house with the lime green door and waited with excitement for the Buenos Aires born artist Sol Cejas to let us in. 

She gave us a quick run down of the Covid protocol and let us roam free throughout the small two bedroom house, a vacant rental property, for our allotted time. Each room had a different theme but the exhibit flows together with its warmth, imagination and neon lights. My favorite room of the house was the kitchen, which reminded me of a music video from the 1980s. I was also very drawn to a simple white bedroom with a red, yellow, and blue light pointing at a wall. When you stand between the lights and the wall, it casts an amazing rainbow shadow.

At that point I was so excited I had to go talk to the artist to find out what her inspirations were. We talked about James Turrell and Yayoi Kusama. It was really great to see such a unique art exhibit that was solely funded by the artist herself right here in Vancouver, Washington. The exhibit is up through mid December.

— Kelly Neidig  
 
Poetry happenings
Michael Shay and M. F. McAuliffe
Ghost Town Open Mic / Art at the Cave & Zoom
This month's Ghost Town Open Mic is Thursday, December 9 at 7 p.m. and features poets Michael Shay and M.F. McAuliffe. Shay's poetry has appeared in The South Carolina Review, Nimrod, Gobshite Quarterly, and elsewhere. He is the author of The Words I Own. M. F. McAuliffe is co-founder and co-editor of the Portland, Oregon-based multi-lingual magazine Gobshite Quarterly and of Reprobate/ GobQ Books. She is the author of The Crucifixes and Other Friday Poems and 25 Poems On The Death Of Ursula K. Le Guin. Hosted by Christopher Luna and Morgan Paige.
 

Art at the Cave
108 E Evergreen Blvd, Vancouver
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. Artstra'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.
Five ways to support the cause
If you love what Artstra is doing for our community, please consider the different ways that you can contribute.

1- Donate
Use PayPal to make a tax-deductible donation to Artstra. 
 
2- Declutter
Give useable items to Nifty and Thrifty at 6607 E. Mill Plain Blvd. And when those items sell, the money is split 50/50 with participating nonprofits. Just let them know your items are donated to benefit Artstra. 
 
3- Shop 
Link your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Artstra using our code #84120. Just by using your rewards card number, and at no cost to you, every time you shop you'll help Artstra earn a quarterly donation from Fred Meyer.
 
4- Shop online 
Use this link to login to Amazon, and they will donate a portion of the proceeds from your purchase back to Artstra.
 
5- Volunteer 
Artstra is an all-volunteer organization. If you have specialized skills, especially in fundraising, outreach and marketing, we'd love to talk with you.
ARTS brief team
Cam Suttles, editor, designer 
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 artsbrief@artstra.orgno later than the 25th 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 Artstra. We do not accept materials that primarily have a commercial objective.
About Artstra
Artstra is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization advocating for the arts in Clark County and southwest Washington. We envision a vibrant arts economy in our region, north of the Columbia River, with public/private investments and facilities that sustain artists and enrich community. Our mission is to elevate the arts, build greater arts awareness, reward creative excellence, and expand arts accessibility.