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Village Books owners show private art collection in Lynden

Susan Bennerstrom’s “Odd Fellows II” is among the works from the private collection of Chuck and Dee Robinson showing at Jansen Art Center in Lynden.
Susan Bennerstrom’s “Odd Fellows II” is among the works from the private collection of Chuck and Dee Robinson showing at Jansen Art Center in Lynden. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

When Village Books opened a store in the Waples Mercantile building in downtown Lynden, co-owners Chuck and Dee Robinson were making their presence known in the north county, but they didn’t stop with the bookstore.

They recently loaned just over 30 of their artworks from their condo above Fairhaven’s Village Books for a exhibit at Lynden’s Jansen Art Center.

The exhibit, “Northwest Art From the Private Collection of Chuck & Dee Robinson,” runs through Jan. 29 at the Front Street art center.

The exhibition includes artists well-known in the region, including Tom Wood, John Cole, Donna Auer, David Nichols, Lisa McShane, Sybil Sanford, Dale Gottlieb, Dederick Ward, Tom Sherwood, Susan Bennerstrom, Caryn Friedlander, Ben Mann and Mary Froderberg.

We know many, but not all, of the artists in our collection.

Dee Robinson, Village Books co-owner

Dee Robinson says they bought their first two pieces of original art the year they graduated from college, 46 years ago.

“One was a painting by our art instructor from college, but most of our art has been collected in the 36 years we’ve lived in Bellingham,” she says. “We buy what we like and can afford. A few of our paintings have been gifts, mostly from our staff. Many of the works were purchased at charity auctions, marrying our passions for art and philanthropy.”

The art itself attracts the Robinsons.

“We know many, but not all, of the artists in our collection. Knowing the artist is a bonus, but not essential,” she says. “Sometimes we see art because we know the artist; we’re invited to an opening for instance. But we don’t buy unless we like the particular work.”

“We look forward to becoming an even more active part of the Lynden community,” she says. “We will definitely be doing Literature Live events at the Lynden bookstore in the future, though of course not the number we do in Fairhaven.”

Mayor’s Arts Awards

The Bellingham Arts Commission is accepting nominations until Dec. 31 for the 37th annual Mayor’s Arts Awards.

The awards honor Bellingham citizens who have significantly contributed to the arts in the community. Accomplishments by individual artists, businesses, benefactors, organizations, arts educators, arts supporters, civic improvement leaders, and notable events or achievements, are all possible areas for awards.

As a one-time winner of the award, I can vouch for the pride that I still feel for receiving the honor.

Once the nomination period is closed, staff will announce the date for the awards ceremony, which is sometime next spring. Nominations can be submitted using the online Mayor’s Arts Award nomination form, can be emailed to arts@cob.org, or can be submitted in writing to Shannon Taysi, Planning and Community Development, 210 Lottie St., Bellingham, WA 98225.

To access the online form and see a list of previous winners, go to the Mayor’s Arts Awards webpage.

Lynden exhibit

When: Through Jan. 29

Where: Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St., Lynden

Details: 360-354-3600, jansenartcenter.org

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