Art of Living
This past October, the lobby of Evergreen's Daniel J. Evans Library became a virtual gallery, showcasing works from acclaimed artists like Cappy Thompson '76, Nikki McClure '91, Tom Anderson '73, and other established and emerging artists.
But this wasn’t your typical art show. The wide-ranging works, many from Evergreen alumni artists, were all donated to help raise much-needed funds for students.
The Evergreen State College Foundation's inaugural Art of Living Brunch and Art Auction raised nearly $90,000 for student scholarships and the newly renovated Evergreen Gallery. "I'm really happy to be a part of it," said Nikki McClure '91, who created the signature work featured at the event. "I received a lot of Evergreen Foundation grants when I was a student so when they asked me to participate I thought—I can contribute and this is how I can contribute—by giving this piece of me back."
More than 150 alumni, faculty and friends gathered to bid on an array of professional artists’ work, as well as "experience" items such as studio tours, dining and travel. They enjoyed hors d’oeuvres by local chefs and brunch featuring organic, locally grown produce.
Their participation is invaluable to the foundation’s efforts to increase Evergreen student scholarships in challenging economic times. "The Art of Living event is a celebration of art, cuisine and community," said Lee Hoemann, vice president for advancement and executive director of the foundation. "It’s a collaborative effort between the college, artists, chefs and organizations committed to creating opportunities for future generations of community leaders. It’s also a lot of fun and a great chance to see and purchase some fantastic art."
Internationally-renowned glass artist Cappy Thompson ’76, donated a print entitled Safe Passage. She employs grisaille, a Medieval technique for painting stained glass windows, to create whimsical, colorful panels inspired by mythology, folk styles and dreams. Her most recent works include commissioned pieces for Tacoma’s Museum of Glass and the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, as well as her 2006 piece I Imagine Us As a Holy Family Engaging In the Great Work of Increasing the Light for Evergreen’s Daniel J. Evans Library. She has exhibited at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Smithsonian, among others, from Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco and New York to Japan, Germany and Australia.
Auction items came from Evergreen supporters near and far, led by event co-chairs Sandy Desner ’76 and Jane Rushford. Among the treasures were the works of nearly 20 alumni artists, who generously contributed their pieces to benefit the college’s future students.
Kensuke Yamada ’05, donated a sculpture (You and Me and Everyone We Know) of two connected faces. The piece was created through multiple firings of the clay. Yamada’s figurative sculptures and drawings evoke multiple emotions from viewers. His work has been exhibited in Montana, Seattle, New Mexico and other national venues. He is completing his M.F.A. at the University of Montana, and is a 2009-10 long-term resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts residency program in Helena, Montana.
The etching donated by Anna McKee ’81, was from a series completed after the artist's travels through the south. It expresses a landscape that exists for the artist as a caricature pieced together from childhood memories in the 1960s. McKee uses a variety of printmaking processes but most often collograph and etching with chine collé. She exhibits her work regionally and in national juried shows. McKee recently spent three months at "the most inaccessible, remote location I could dream of ever reaching—the West Antarctic Ice Sheet." She went there to document the WAIS Divide Ice Core Project with support from a National Science Foundation Artists and Writers Grant, as well as to draw and photograph this seldom seen natural environment.
Seattle-based Perri Lynch ’94, donated Drift, a piece from a series of works on panel titled Meridians. The series explores line and space as key components in shaping our thoughts, ourselves and our relationship to space. "I think it’s very important for alums to stay involved with Evergreen because it is such a unique place," she says.
Lynch’s commission Straight Shot in Seattle’s Magnuson Park was featured in Art in America’s 2007 "Public Art in Review" and she been recognized with an Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship, Seattle CityArtist award, 4Culture Individual Projects Grant, and a J. William Fulbright Foundation research grant.
Remember by Nikki McClure ’91, a paper work cut from a single sheet of paper, was the featured artwork for Art of Living 2009. It reflects McClure’s interest in community, sustenance, parenting, and appreciating both the urban and rural landscape. She regularly produces her own posters, books, cards, t-shirts and a yearly calendar, and designs covers and illustrations for countless records, books and magazines. This piece was also on the cover of Remember, a seasonal journal McClure created, available through buyolympia.com.
"This piece seemed appropriate for many reasons. It was an act of remembering the school that had nourished me and provided me with all these skills that I use every day."