December 2022
Get ready for several exciting things happening this month, plus we wrap up this year with gratitude and remembrance.

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
A celebration of poetry set for January 8
'Poetry Moves,' created by nonprofit Artstra in partnership with C-Tran, will honor poets who have engaged, delighted, and inspired riders with poems on buses since 2016. This multifaceted celebration of poetry (a free public event) will take place Sunday, January 8, 2023, from 1–3 p.m. at Magenta Theater, 1108 Main St., in downtown Vancouver. 

Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest will be guest of honor and former Clark County Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Morgan (2018-21) will "pass the pen" to current Clark County Poet Laureate Armin Tolentino (2021-24). The afternoon event will include readings from Poetry Moves poets from its past five seasons as well as interpretive dance and music.

“The collaboration of Artstra and C-Tran,” says Poetry Moves Program Director LaRae Zawodny, “has brought something special to the community—an opportunity for connection—for poets to hone and share their voices, and enrichment for those who hear them.”

Artstra, C-Tran, the Clark County Arts Commission, Humanities Washington, ArtsWA, and Magenta Theater have joined together in support of this event.
Seedlings Writing Workshop with Clark County Poet Laureate Armin Tolentino
Clark County Poet Laureate Armin Tolentino offers a free generative writing workshop, titled Seedlings. The workshop will take place Saturday, December 17 at Cascade Presbyterian Church from 10 - 11 am. Space is limited at this event, and RSVP is required. Recommended age is 16 and up.
Remembering Laurel Whitehurst
Laurel Whitehurst passed away on November 8, 2022. This was sad news for the arts and for the community as a whole. Laurel was the true founder of the Clark County Arts Commission as well as Arts of Clark County (now Artstra) in 2010. She was a strong believer that art can change the world and little steps can add up to big changes. 

During her tenure as vice-chair of the arts commission and chair of Arts of Clark County, she spearheaded the creation of the Anstine Gallery on the 6th floor of the Clark County Public Service Center. She knew that hallway was where people congregated between hearings and council meetings; it was also a place where local artists could be showcased and their work appreciated. Laurel and Don, her partner of 28 years, gathered the track lighting and hanging system and oversaw the installation. They transformed a sterile hallway into a gallery that is welcoming and engages visitors with art. 

Laurel also was instrumental in gathering art supplies for the women and families at the Winter Hospitality Overflow (WHO) shelter. Her annual effort was later named Creative Relief and it has become a year-round way for Artstra to provide art supplies and workshops for those who have limited or no access to those resources.

Laurel's biggest passion was the public art potential in the development of stormwater retention facilities. In 1982 she was on the Kent (Washington) Arts Commission when a major stormwater retention project was initiated. The commission pushed to make it much more than a ditch with a cyclone fence. Rather, they commissioned internationally renowned Bauhaus artist and designer Herbert Bayer to design an earthworks public art piece that also worked for stormwater processing. It is still a work of art first and its function has never failed. Laurel's experience in Kent led her to lobby Clark County planners and developers, urging them to rethink the minimum effort to retain stormwater and consider how to aesthetically incorporate this important infrastructure into the landscape. 

Laurel was a passionate, engaged, and sharing woman whose love of our community and the arts will be missed.

In Laurel's honor, Artstra has created a fund to support the ongoing needs of the Anstine Gallery, including a stipend for an emerging curator to manage curatorial duties. All donations are tax-deductible per IRS nonprofit rules.
Clark County Open Studios tour a great success
2022 Clark County Open Studios visitor Annika Larman in Karen Madsen’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 2022 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! 

Also, thank you to our sponsors and a special thanks to the City of Vancouver for their support through the Lodging Tax Grant program. 

Open Studios artists together reported a record 113,000 in art sales. But the most important part of Open Studios cannot be counted, as artists and visitors connected and shared stories through art. 

“People were so engaged and genuinely excited to share and talk. My studio was filled with neighbors, strangers, teachers, students, family, and friends. People of all ages and backgrounds were coming through and sharing stories and enthusiasm for art,” says, Open Studios artist, Alder Suttles. “I met so many women that were moved by my work. It was such an honor to hear stories and share tears. It was a heavy and beautiful weekend. A woman told me a painting of mine conjured a memory from 30 years ago. It wasn’t about money or opportunity.”

The Open Studios 2022 online Artists Directory is a resource to connect artists and patrons all year long. Search the category filters at the top to find art classes, online shopping, and studios open by appointment.

Planning has already begun for 2023 and Open Studios' 10th Anniversary, including the launch of a new scholarship program for emerging artists who need assistance in funding their creativity and mentorship. This scholarship is made possible by Artstra’s Creative Relief program and a special fund set up in loving memory of Christine Rice (May 16,1991-Sept 29, 2022).
Christine was an Open Studios artist and a dear friend of Artstra; her love of art and caring heart will not be forgotten, and we hope this scholarship may help others on their creative journey

Thank you to Christine’s family and to all of Christine’s loved ones who have already donated. 
Artstra board members Jean LaCrosse & LaRae Zawodny, 2019 Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Morgan & Judy Rose visiting Christine Rice's studio in 2019.
Metropolitan Performing Arts presents new queer seasonal musical: Holiday Out
From the delectably sequined mind of Pip Kennedy comes a live holiday special like no other.

A little one wishes upon a star for a Christmas Miracle for their Two Dads and gets more help than they bargained for in the form of Mary Christmas: Entrepreneur, Proud Fairy, and B&B Owner.

Mary moves into town, employs both talented dads, and sets out to teach the town the true meaning of Christmas... but they'll all have to band together to save the Holiday from evil lurking just around the corner.

Full of singing, dancing, comedy, and heart, this Christmas story is inclusive, wholesome, and full of holiday hi-jinx.

Holiday Out runs December 2 - 17 at Metropolitan Performing Arts: 6403 E Mill Plain Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98661.
First Friday Pick
Clark County employees and their families featured at Rebecca Anstine Sixth Floor Gallery
Clark County Employees not only serve our county, they also contribute to the creative and cultural community of Southwest Washington. Come visit the Rebecca Anstine Sixth Floor Gallery to visit an exhibition of photography, painting, fiber art, and mixed media on display through the end of January 2023. 
Participating artists include Angelina Kotchetova, Leigh Radford, Paula Tripp, Ken Spurlock, Linda Pritchard, Laura Henry Slye, Deborah Nagano, Charlotte de Monte, Desiree de Monte, and Mikaela Rankin.

The Rebecca Anstine Sixth Floor Gallery is located in the Clark County Public Service Center:
1300 Franklin St.
Vancouver, WA 98660

A reception will be held during the First Friday Art Walk on December 2 from 5 - 8 pm in the gallery. The event is sponsored by the Clark County Arts Commission. It is free and open to the public.

The Anstine Gallery is open to the public from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
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
Sammuel Murry-Hawkins, 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.