Photo by Kat Bryant | The Daily World
                                From left, 2018 tour co-chairs Michelle Lester and Sandy Prosser with event co-founder Judith Altruda at the Tokeland Hotel.

Photo by Kat Bryant | The Daily World From left, 2018 tour co-chairs Michelle Lester and Sandy Prosser with event co-founder Judith Altruda at the Tokeland Hotel.

New generation, new causes shore up studio tour

New artists and new community causes will mark this year’s Tokeland-North Cove Art Studio Tour.

Sandy Prosser and Michelle Lester have been co-chairing the event for two years, but this is Lester’s third year at the helm.

“After doing it the first year, I said I would only do it again if I had a co-chair,” laughs Lester, who took the post a year after moving here from Yakima. “And luckily, Sandy stepped up to the plate.”

Prosser is not an artist, but she certainly brings plenty to the table. As secretary of the Tokeland-North Cove Chamber of Commerce, she knows how and where to drum up community support for the event. She’s also in charge of organizing the auctions.

In fact, it was her idea to add a fundraising element to the tour. Starting last year, an art auction was held at the end of the day, with most of the proceeds going to the Ocosta Junior/Senior High School Art Club as well as the elementary school’s art program. It raised $5,000 with about 45 attendees. She’s hoping for 60 this time.

On Saturday, the post-tour events will start around 5 p.m. with a silent auction at Trade Winds by the Bay, along with the box wine tasting featuring locally sourced hors d’oeuvres. Live auctions will start there at about 6:45, conducted by Ocosta art teacher Don Watkins.

Auction items are donated by various local artists and other businesses. Jeffro Uitto is donating one of his famous driftwood heron sculptures, for example, and there will be some packages for local lodging and entertainment.

“It’s super fun, and the wine helps lubricate the evening,” jokes Prosser.

A second live auction, new this year, will feature jetty rocks painted by members of the Ocosta Junior/Senior High Art Club. The students are donating their time and talents to help support Wash Away No More: Rock purchases will help cover the cost of gravel for that nonprofit’s effort to shore up the area’s shoreline.

Branching out

Tokeland jewelry maker Judith Altruda founded the tour in 2007 with North Cove photographer Marcy Merrill. The inaugural event comprised 21 local participants showing their works at nine sites. “We were pretty ambitious,” says Altruda.

Artists on this year’s tour range from South Bend all the way up to Forks, but they’ll all be concentrated within a small area for this event.

“This is just from North Cove down to Nelson Crab,” says Prosser. “We’re talking about just a 5-mile stretch with 10 stops and 40 artists.”

Altruda is especially proud that, 12 years later, a younger generation of homegrown artists is stepping up.

Woodcarver Spencer Hogan, for example — Jeffro Uitto’s younger brother — will be participating this year. There’s also Altruda’s daughter, Sophia Anderson, who draws, paints and does mixed-media work; and Eric Fitzpatrick, a 20-year-old photographer. Plus, Ocosta’s art students are on both the giving and receiving end of things now.

“It’s exciting to see our own kids as they’re maturing into adults, taking on this mantle,” says Altruda. “That really defines success to me.”

SATURDAY

The tour

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: 10 locations (map available online and at the Tokeland Hotel)

The auctions

When: Starting around 5 p.m.

Where: Trade Winds by the Bay

What: Silent and live auctions of local artists’ works, packages donated by local businesses, and jetty rocks painted by art students.

Why: Proceeds will benefit Ocosta schools’ art programs and Wash Away No More.

 

Kimmi Kerns will be a guest artist at Melody Gerber’s studio, selling her one-of-a-kind ceramic tiles.

Kimmi Kerns will be a guest artist at Melody Gerber’s studio, selling her one-of-a-kind ceramic tiles.

(Courtesy photo) Vernon and Melissa Martinez Vergara, of Altered Nature Gyotaku, create unique prints with their captured dinner, from squid to fish.

(Courtesy photo) Vernon and Melissa Martinez Vergara, of Altered Nature Gyotaku, create unique prints with their captured dinner, from squid to fish.