June 2020
Staying at home and keeping our distance during this pandemic is certainly difficult, but it can also bring a welcome, though unexpected, time for reflection. In this issue, we share a bit of history on Artstra's 10th anniversary year, which happens to also be the 10th year since Windows into Art .

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 join our email list and subscribe .
Advancing the arts
Reflecting on 10 years of Artstra
The north shore of the Columbia River near historic Fort Vancouver.
Long time arts supporters in our community are well aware of the (at least) half century challenge of establishing our own presence in the arts — out from under the shadow of Portland and the urban metropolis on Puget Sound. Artstra exists in fact to advocate for advancements, or even a breakthrough, on this front. The fundamental case for an arts (or art) center north of the river gets stronger with each passing year. Though it's been a long road, we remain optimistic in the face of this seemingly Sisyphean task, awaiting visionary leadership and the necessary collective political will. Today we offer a  timeline of arts center efforts  as a reminder of where we've been as an organization and an arts community.
Take a deep dive in the Artstra website
We've added five web pages under a new navigation area, "History" under "About Artstra."
Coping with COVID
Open Studios Tour cancelled
With the uncertainty around the status of the coronavirus pandemic this fall, Artstra has made the difficult decision to cancel this November's Clark County Open Studios Tour. The health and safety of our community must be our first priority at this time.  Learn more about the tour .

Artist relief available
Although the Open Studios Tour is cancelled, the City of Vancouver has allowed us (through a $10,000 Culture, Arts, and Heritage Grant intended for this year's tour) to reimburse Clark County Open Studios artists for expenses related to the cancellation. Artists currently living in Clark County and who participated in the Clark County Open Studios Tour in any of the past seven years are eligible to apply for a $500 reimbursement. Awards will be made based upon demonstrated financial need.  Read more and apply .

Poetry Moves season 10 postponed, reconsidered
Both National Poetry Month and our Poetry Moves program felt the disruption of the past few months. At the beginning of this year, Artstra partnered with Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries to provide poetry workshops for students. Thirteen workshops were planned for National Poetry Month in April. A celebration of poets and Poetry Moves was set for April 26. Throughout this spring we were expecting to see student poem submissions flow in. Then everything changed. 

The libraries closed. Schools closed and students were being taught online. Artstra simply wasn't able to get the word out amidst the upheaval as students, parents, and teachers faced an onslaught of emails and Zoom calls. So now we have decided to do something different (stay tuned) and we will return to student poems in 2021. Thanks everyone for understanding and thank you Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle for  April's proclamation .
Thank you Jan Bader!
As many of you already know, Jan Bader is retiring from her long career with the City of Vancouver. Jan has championed the arts in our community and her support has been felt by many, both in her role as Program and Policy Development Manager and, over the past year, as Acting Cultural Services Manager.

We especially thanks Jan for her participation as a panelist and presenter at both Arts and Culture Summits. Jan's counsel and advice were also instrumental in Artstra receiving grants for both Clark County Open Studios and the Poetry Moves program. She has kept public arts grants available even through a time when the arts were not necessarily on the the City's radar. We are so thankful for her good stewardship through the revision of Vancouver's Culture, Arts & Heritage Plan. Her accomplishments are many and her support for our community will be greatly missed. We thank you Jan for advancing the arts and helping our community recognize the power and joy that the arts can bring to our city.
The reality of virtual
When it comes to physical art (as opposed to art created for screens) — painting, sculpture, crafted pieces, art installations, etc. — there is no replacement for direct experience, the intimate connection between art and audience. Yes, you can view video or digital images of art on the web, but that is a different experience, one that's been available across the Internet on museum and gallery websites long before this pandemic landed on us. Same is true for music, dance, theater, and all the rest. It may be tempting in a time of the COVID-19 to imagine that we can just flip the switch to "virtual," but let's not kid ourselves. We spend too much time on screens as it is and many of us, if we aren't there already, are at risk of 'virtual fatigue' as we crave a return to the real-world, direct experience of art.
A few stay-at-home digital experiences
Through our digital devices, we can "virtually" go anywhere and experience arts and culture from every corner of the world. It's a truly wonderful thing. At the same time, we can and should support local arts groups and organizations in our community, at home through online experiences and performances. 
Clark College ASA: 2020
For the first time ever, the Art Student Annual exhibition at Clark College is a 100% digital experience, launching today on the Archer Gallery website . Join also the virtual opening celebration via Zoom on Friday, June 5 at noon. Meeting ID: 961 5525 5976, PW: asa2020
Fox and Bones
Back in April, a Portland duo with a Camas connection didn't let the lockdown stop their music . Fox and Bones musicians Sarah Vitort and Scott Gilmore performed a driveway concert while sheltering at Vitort's parents' home in Camas. We all find a way to get by.
Anni and John Furniss
Washougal painter Anni Furniss and her husband John Furniss — who goes by “The Blind Woodsman” — were busy wood turning and painting in their studio when the pandemic hit. As Washington’s stay at home order stretched on, they shared with OPB how their lives are still full of creativity and gratitude.
Jennifer Williams
Ridgefield artist Jennifer Williams ' work is featured in this virtual show, "Nature's Grace" at Gallery 903 in Portland. Jennifer is also an Artstra's board member and Clark County Open Studios director.
Don Gray
Vancouver painter Don Gray as featured on OPB's Art Beat . He began his career creating detailed realist paintings, but today his rich, colorful work explores both the inner and outer landscape.
Ariel and Ben Young
Chris Martin Studios created this wonderful video about Ariel and Ben Young of Allotropy Designs at part of his Innovators of Vancouver series. The mother and son art team transform recycled glass into unique jewelry.
Magenta Theater
Hannah Greenlee and Michael Evan Adent play two mayflies in Magenta Theater's "Mayflies in June." Filmed and edited by Amanda Goff on the Hidden House Market lawn. Approximately 20 minutes long, just shy of the actual mayfly lifespan.
Kiggins Theatre
Virtual Screening Room
Support your local cinema and help Kiggins stay afloat during quarantine. Rent excellent films from for your home viewing pleasure from the Kiggins Virtual Screening Room .
VSO Encore podcasts
Tune in to the podcast series, "VSO Encore" for interviews and performances from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. View episodes and listen
Call for art
Art of the Quarantine
Art at the Cave  is looking for submissions to "Art of the Quarantine." The call for art created during quarantine (stay at home time) is non-juried and open to all artists and to all ages. The exhibit date is to be determined. Submit art by emailing a photo of your piece, dimensions, title and a brief statement to  gallery@artatthecave.com .
Artist resources during the COVID-19 pandemic
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 
Jackie Genis , contributing writer
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.org no 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.