Arts and Entertainment

Ready or not, artists invade Lavender Wind Farm

From left, Ming Lane, 16, and Hunter Mitchell, 14, pull weeds in the lavender fields to help prepare the farm for its summer season.  - Katie McVicker/Whidbey News-Times
From left, Ming Lane, 16, and Hunter Mitchell, 14, pull weeds in the lavender fields to help prepare the farm for its summer season.
— image credit: Katie McVicker/Whidbey News-Times

This summer there’s no scheduled art festival at Coupeville’s Lavender Wind Farm, but Whidbey’s artists don’t seem to mind. They’ve invited themselves to invade the fields anyway.

On July 31 and Aug. 1, artists plan to take over the grounds and hold their very own “Artist Invasion.”

Sarah Richards founded the Lavender Wind Farm in 2001 after purchasing five acres from the Darst family that had been using the land to grow potatoes. She planted lavender because it’s a drought-tolerant crop and can be sold as-is or used in various products like lavender truffles.

The past four years, Richards hosted an annual summer art festival to benefit the Washington State University Extension service, but decided to cancel it this year because of the cost and the additional stress festival planning puts on her staff.

Her decision didn’t sit well with those in the local art community who were determined to get out to the farm. Among the downtrodden was Lyla Ellis, the owner of Earth, Woman and Fire Pottery.

“A lot of the artists that did the festival in the past were disappointed,” Ellis said, “so I asked ‘what if the artists just came out and invaded your property’ and her eyes lit up.”

Ellis is inviting all interested artists to set up a booth during the “invasion” for selling or working on their craft, but she doesn’t expect the turnout will be as big as the traditional festivals, which have attracted about 3,500 visitors in the past.

“It will probably be more low key than a festival,” Ellis said. “I don’t know that we will have food vendors there, but we just want to be there. It’s a place people just want to be.”

Bev McQuary, who helped organize the farm’s previous events, couldn’t agree more. She plans on bringing her glass beads and wire work jewelry to sell.

“Some of the artists and some of the musicians have just been chomping at the bit because it was such a delight to be out there,” McQuary said. “I thoroughly enjoy hanging out at the Lavender Wind Farm because it is so pristinely beautiful. I think it has the best view on the entire island.”

Ellis plans to hold an informational meeting this Thursday at the farm for anyone who wants to participate in the event. She’ll be looking for ideas on advertising and activities. Attendees are invited to bring their paints, cameras and stay for a sack lunch.

As for Richards, she couldn’t be happier that the artists have taken it upon themselves to keep the spirit of the festival alive.

“The word I want is a combination between grateful and honored,” Richards said. “To me it just shows how much the artists in this community appreciated the farm when they were here before and the things we decided to make happen for them.”

The planning meeting is set for 11 a.m. Thursday, July 1, at the Lavender Wind Farm located at 2530 Darst Road in Coupeville. Call Lyla Ellis at 675-2925 for more information.

The Artist Invasion is scheduled for July 31 and Aug. 1 at the Lavender Wind Farm. The event is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

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