Editors Note: This article incorrectly identified Jenny Fisher in the original headline and story published on Nov. 19, 2013. She is the current Treasurer of the Harbor Art Guild.
Jenny Fisher is an artist who has always enjoyed the creative process. She creates works using many different tools such as acrylics, watercolor paints, pen and ink, sewing supplies, pottery and more, depending on what “suits her fancy,” she said. Her inspiration comes from the natural world and other artists. She always enjoys admiring a new piece of art and studying its composition, which she said is important to her. She is the current Harbor Art Guild Treasurer and the curator of the Winter Show showing at Six Rivers Gallery in Hoquiam until Jan. 12.
How long have you been part of the Harbor Art Guild?
One day in June of 2008 I received an invitation to meet with Matt Jump and Kathy Graddy. We began it all right there at Casa Mia. Within a few weeks we sat down with maybe 12 other people who were interested. By August we had a semi-organized guild with a membership of maybe 20 artists, participating in the “On Track” art festival in Hoquiam. We had a gallery, a crude set of by-laws, officers and a million great ideas. Right now we have over 60 members.
What is the most fulfilling part of being a member of this organization?
I put out 10 times the amount of art than I did before the guild was formed. Associating yourself with other enthusiasts stimulates your growth. We members share our talents and techniques. We have a metal smith, doll makers, fabric artists, jewelers, painters of all kinds, wood workers, carvers of many mediums. The sharing comes in the forms of classes and how-to sessions we hold at our general meetings. Anyone attending these meetings gets a strong dose of some medium or technique. We also have writers and musicians.
A few years ago we had a month-long show focusing on Harbor writers. Kitty Mady curated that show. She invited over 20 writers to meet-the-writer sessions; they presented their works, discussed publishing, even writing grammer. It was hugely popular and very, very interesting.
In January/February 2014 Lee Staley will be curating the second Larry Hagethorn show where Dolorous Hagethorn will be presenting her late husband’s work. Larry was an incredible Harbor artist in the ’70s and ’80s. We have a Young Artists’ Show each year, where we invite artists from 0 to 21 years of age to hang and sell their work. Kelly and Ralph Hogaboom, and Jeani Ward are presenting our second fiber arts show this next spring.
HAG produces these diverse, stimulating shows not only for the Harbor public’s benefit, but also to allow our artists to learn to curate shows and hang art. We take turns learning these things. We have taught ourselves to jury artwork and stock our gift shop.
I could speak for a long time about the benefits of being a HAG. Harbor Art Guild will go wherever our noses take us. This is really an exciting and meaningful art group.
What does the decision making process for shows look like?
In the fall our board starts dreaming and making lists of the shows we’d like to present in the coming year. We invite our general membership to our board meetings so we really come up with a long show wish list. We have two shows repeated each; a two month holiday season show and a month long Young Artists’ Show. That means we have 9 other shows we can present. Shows can be juried or non-juried, they can be themed or open shows; prolific artists can apply to present a solo show. Once our list of shows is pretty firm, members start volunteering to curate shows.
What is the focus of this new show?
The Winter Show is a two month, juried, non-themed show, from Nov. 15 to Jan. 12, 2014; the show is focused on holiday shopping. In December we bring items from the gift shop and pieces created especially for Christmas shopping and decorating into the gallery among the show’s art pieces. We decorate a tree and put out card racks. On Dec. 7 we have a reception planned to coincide with Ho Ho Hoquiam, a kickoff to the holiday season in Hoquiam. The reception begins at 4 p.m.
How many artists are participating in this new show?
Mary Lou Gragory, Ron Arel, Ken Hunt, Tina Karvonen, Robin Moore, Barb Shillinger, Merry Swanson, Nancy Eicheberger, Ellen Pickell, Erik Pederson, RP Myers and I will be participating in the Winter Show this year as well as all members are invited to create items for the gifts-in-the-gallery portion of the show.
What are your duties as a curator for this show?
The curator is the director of a show and is responsible for seeing that the show scheduling, advertising, hanging of the show, reception and clean-up of the gallery, are all done in a professional and timely manner. The curator makes sure that all participants are juried for their intended medium, keeps in contact with the artists and sees that all hanging fees are paid to the Treasurer. For this show the curator oversees the gifts-in-the-gallery move. The curator keeps a report of all these details, submitting it to the board at the end of the show.
Any new additions to the gallery since the gift shop was repainted?
Lee Staley is the current gift shop manager. He is contacting members, encouraging them to produce new art for the gift shop. It is always a delight to see what members create. I always have to control my art purchasing impulses at this show.
What do you think of the art community here?
I think all people, cultures, communities are full of the inspiration to create. I have never been in a place that didn’t put artists in an elevated place. What impresses me in Grays Harbor are the tireless patrons. There are so many dedicated people here that don’t profess to be artists themselves, but spend a lot of energy seeing to it that it has a presence on the Harbor. I think some of these people are latent artists.