Op-Ed

Sculpture Northwest inventories outdoor art

Sculpture Northwest was established in 2012 and had about 20 volunteers in 2015.

Purpose: Inventory all outdoor sculpture in Island, San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom counties and promote the region internationally as a tourist destination to view outdoor sculpture. When one adds the outdoor sculpture collection at Western Washington University to the works in Big Rock Garden Park, the many sculptures around the city of Bellingham, Ann Morris’ Sculpture Woods on Lummi Island, the Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park in Island County, the impressive collection of outdoor sculpture in Anacortes, the very large display at the San Juan Sculpture Garden and hundreds of other works in communities throughout the area this region can match any other region of the world for quality sculpture in a magnificent natural setting. Now we have to let the world know about it.

Volunteer highlight: On 24 April, Sculpture Northwest celebrated International Sculpture Day with a ceremony in the Rotunda Room of the old city hall honoring businesses, governmental agencies, organizations and private citizens of Bellingham who have promoted outdoor sculpture in our community often with no recognition of their significant voluntary contributions to the culture of the city.

In an effort to combat Islamophobia and prejudice toward persons of Muslim faith Sculpture Northwest is planning a major exhibit next year called “Art Beyond Conflict: Contemporary Sculpture of the Middle East and North Africa.” The sculptures will be placed throughout the four-county region. Volunteers are being recruited from local residents who are from the Middle East and North Africa as well as others who wish to see this project garner national and international attention to our region as being welcoming to persons of all ethnic, national and religious backgrounds.

Signature fundraiser: Currently Sculpture Northwest generates its income from direct donations, memberships, grants and sales of sculpture in their gallery at 203 Prospect St. and through the lease of art. Beginning May 7, Sculpture Northwest’s new Art Connection chartered tours take new members to public art destinations in the Whatcom, Skagit Island and San Juan counties.

Wish List: By the end of 2016 we would like to have all outdoor sculpture in the four-county area photographed and documented. We plan to identify all art/sculpture activists, sculptors and arts supporters in the region.

Current volunteer needs: Photographers to photograph outdoor sculptures in all four counties; grant writers/fundraisers; board members from Island, Skagit and San Juan counties; volunteers skilled in Quickbooks and office filing systems; help with sculpture documentation; outreach coordinator.

For more information, go online to SculptureNorthwest.org.

VOLUNTEER MONTH

April was National Volunteer Month and The Bellingham Herald has partnered with the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County to highlight local non-profit agencies that offer opportunities to become involved in our community. For more information online about the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County, go to whatcomvolunteer.org.

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