Lifestyle

Art center renamed

Executive director Sue Symons sits at a desk in front of the Pacific Northwest Arts School’s vast art library. Students are allowed to check-out the books for free.  - Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times
Executive director Sue Symons sits at a desk in front of the Pacific Northwest Arts School’s vast art library. Students are allowed to check-out the books for free.
— image credit: Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times

The Coupeville Arts Center officially changed its name to the Pacific Northwest Art School, early in May.

The new moniker will better describe what the school is today, executive director Sue Symons said: A regional professional art school.

“The Coupeville Arts Center was a great name for what it was when it started (in 1986). It had a local, community focus,” Symons said. “Today, 75 percent of our students come from out of state.”

Along with supporting local artists, the school also hires national and international instructors. For upcoming workshops, they’ve invited Sam Abell, an award-winning National Geographic photographer and California-based artist Jove Wang, a master of oil paintings.

Symons said the center’s programs will stay the same, focusing primarily on painting, textiles and photography. They will also continue to sponsor national events, including the fourth annual Plein Air Painters’ U.S. Open this September.

But as far as off-island workshops go, the new name will better position the school in the global arts arena, she said. Next year, the center is sending a group of weavers to Peru and painters to Italy.

“We also have art expeditions in Oregon and the eastern half of Washington for photography. It makes more sense for the Pacific Northwest Art School to be visiting places like Montana, rather than the Coupeville Arts Center,” Symons said.

The Coupeville school draws about 1,000 students to the island each year, including a student who returns every year from England. Symons pointed out the positive economic impact that has for the area, which she calculated at about $200,000 a year.

“In changing the name, we are letting the world know what we’ve accomplished,” Symons said.

The public is invited to celebrate the launch of the Pacific Northwest Art School at the “NE Birch Street Art Walk” on Thursday, May 28 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Coupeville. The launch is followed by the gallery opening of the of the Members’ Exhibit and Art Walk, a free event. Visitors can also participate in a wine tasting and food pairing by Bayleaf. Tickets are available at both Bayleaf locations for $10 in advance and $15 at the tasting.

The public is invited to celebrate the launch of the Pacific Northwest Art School at the “NE Birch Street Art Walk” on Thursday, May 28, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Coupeville. The launch is followed by the gallery opening of the of the Members’ Exhibit and Art Walk, a free event. Visitors can also participate in a wine tasting and food pairing by Bayleaf. Tickets are available at both Bayleaf locations for $10 in advance and $15 at the tasting.

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