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New pop-up gallery opens in Bellingham during Downtown Art Walk

Samuel Eisen-Meyers, 24, is an artist and musician who says he has a passion for the creative arts to be an influence and positive outlet for the community, from small classrooms to art galleries to the performance stage.

He has been in Bellingham for six years, moving and painting within different “downtown and Fairhaven underground spaces,” he says, often discovering new friends, communities and processes within the arts. As a touring musician, more than half of his life has been devoted to music, but it seems to go hand-in-hand with the creative arts.

To merge his passions, he’s opening a pop-up gallery for the monthly Downtown Art Walk, which the public can visit Friday, May 1, through June 14 at 1213 Cornwall Ave. He describes a pop-up gallery as a downtown commercial space and art studio that’s transformed into a short-term, nonprofit gallery.

For now, the space features the paintings, sculptures and functional creations of several local artists and residents — Sarah Denby ( sarahdenby.com); Peter Rand ( peterrandart.com); Jeremy and Ron McManmon, Francis X Donovan, and Eisen-Meyers ( samuelem.com) — with more artists and gallery events to come within the month. He also plans to have a more formal event open to the public from 5 to 9 p.m. during the June 5 Art Walk.

As an artist and representative for the space, Eisen-Meyers says he has been working hard on a new series of work, while pulling the project together to utilize the space to benefit the artists and revitalize the area.

His goal right now is to have live-model drawing sessions open to the public, and other art-oriented gatherings. The gallery will be open to the public as a typical, functioning exhibition space, but his goal is to go beyond that and create an interactive setting where community members can take part, whether by coming in to have a cup of coffee or to sit down and draw. He also hopes to attract other artists who like to show their work in the space.

He describes the process — from finding the space, to creating his own work, to finding other artists, and turning the space into a gallery — as an “installation” in itself.

“Painting with the doors open to the public and being exposed to everyone passing by has sparked an abundant amount of connection and conversation, which seems to be an integral part the circle of giving, receiving, and planning,” Eisen-Meyers says. “There have been so many people who have been willing to help out with the process of hanging the art for this Friday’s Art Walk; it has been a huge reminder that both art and music are such a backbone within this community, and can be within all settings to bring people together.”

Details: semartworks@gmail.com, 503-415-1642.

Platters’ Johnny Barnes turns 82

I heard the legendary Johnny Barnes sing “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and a few other tunes a few weeks ago in the Sudden Valley Dance Barn. During most of the concert I was sitting directly behind him, and he whispered in my ear that he had a birthday coming up this Sunday, May 3.

He told me he lives near Western Washington University and enjoys doing karaoke around town. So here’s a tribute to Johnny Barnes (search YouTube for Johnny Barnes), a singer who can still make the crowd sigh.

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