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Behind the Scenes: Group art purchase for Whatcom Land Trust

Bellingham artist Laurie Potter is enthusiastic about the ongoing campaign that raises money to buy art to enrich spaces in Whatcom County and beyond.

Potter praises South Hill artist Jeni Cottrell, who Potter says is a tireless volunteer for the arts. Cottrell is behind the planning and fundraising for the art purchases. She matches artwork and potential sites, then raises money for the artist to be paid in full.

The artist receives 100 percent of the money raised, and the chosen site will own the piece of artwork. The goal is both to support working artists, and to enrich the lives of people, especially those not commonly exposed to art, Potter says.

Most often, Cottrell funds the art purchases by soliciting money from the local community through grassroots talking and hand-shaking.

This month, Potter is displaying her landscape “Ladies of the Lake,” one of the properties acquired by Whatcom Land Trust. It will be available for viewing from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 3, as part of the monthly Downtown Art Walk, at the Land Trust office at 412 N. Commercial St.

By starting a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo, Potter hopes to help reach more people, make it easy to donate in a quick and safe way, and reach people outside of Whatcom County.

All money pledged will go to the purchase of the professionally framed painting, which is priced at $750. The painting will remain at the Land Trust permanently. The fundraiser ends April 30.

Potter says she’ll also be showing a handful of new paintings based on Whatcom Land Trust-protected lands.

Whatcom Land Trust’s mission is to preserve wildlife habitat, and scenic, agricultural and open-space lands in the county by securing interests in the land and promoting land stewardship.

Previous artwork placed by in Whatcom County Jeni Cottrell through group purchases include paintings by Nancy Canyon for Dorothy Place, a nonprofit organization that supports women and children fleeing domestic violence; a painting by Sharon Kingston for Lydia Place, a nonprofit that provides transitional housing for homeless women and children; paintings by Randy “Fishboy” Clark and Tom Wood for Sean Humphrey House, a nonprofit residence for low-income people with HIV/AIDS; and a sculpture by Shirley Erickson for Fairhaven Library.

Details: Bellingham Group Art Purchase on Facebook or the Whatcom Land Trust Indigogo campaign website .

Ragfinery issues calls to consignment upcyclers, textile artists

The Recyled Art & Resource Expo is the focus of many artists for the April 3 Downtown Art Walk, so the call issued to textile artists by Duane Jager, executive director of Ragfinery, merits attention.

Ragfinery is looking for textile artists who create with post-consumer materials to sell items on consignment in its retail gallery space at 1421 N. Forest St., as part the nonprofit’s mission to promote the repurposing of unwanted fabric.

“Ragfinery was created as a community endeavor, and we’re excited to engage local artisans and provide an outlet for their works,” says Jager. “Just in the short time we’ve been in operation, there’s been a sense that this is a space many artists have craved. We’re trying to tap into that enthusiasm and see where it can take us.”

Ragfinery diverts unwanted textiles from the waste stream and upcycles them in a training business that provides transitional jobs for low-income clients of social-service agencies and schools.

Textile artists and crafters who want to submit their work for consideration should bring their upcycled goods to Ragfinery between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Details: 360-738-6977, Ragfinery on Facebook.