April 2021
April is National Poetry Month and we are so thankful for all the support to ensure that Clark County's newest Poet Laureate, Armin Tolentino, has the resources he will need to make an impact in the community. Donations earlier this year helped fund a stipend to kick off Armin's two-year term. Thanks again to everyone who helped!

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Advancing the arts
2021 Open Studios Tour is on for this fall!
A hybrid approach — with COVID safety in mind
The Clark County Open Studios Tour is back on the calendar for this November 6–7. The tour will return after a year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This fall will mark the eighth year of the free, self-guided tour of local artists’ studios.

“What’s new is we’ll have multiple ways to explore our amazing community of artists.” says Jennifer Williams, artist and program director. “The tour will include a hybrid of experiences including video demos and live studio sharing, online shopping opportunities, and viewing by appointment for visitors who may be at greater risk for COVID-19. And, of course, traditional tour visitors can look forward to the first weekend of November as always — but with new COVID protocols at each studio.”

Due to ever changing circumstances, rather than having a printed guidebook, tour information will only be available online to allow for real-time updates. In the days prior to the tour, the latest on COVID safety details will be added.

“Our new hybrid approach,” Williams explains, “will allow us to move forward with tour plans that are flexible while providing an inclusive event with opportunities for all visitors and artists to engage safely.”

Clark County artists encouraged to apply
Open Studios is a juried art event, offering a unique opportunity for artists to gain further recognition, open their studio doors to the public, and to show and sell their work. Artstra is asking interested Clark County artists and artisans to begin applying online for this fall’s event. The application deadline is June 1, 2021. View details and application instructions.

Anna Cruz joins Artstra board
We are very pleased to announce that Anna B. Cruz has been elected to our board of directors. Anna grew up in Jalisco, Mexico, studied dance and choreography at the University of Guadalajara. She is the director of Vancouver Ballet Folklorico, a local dance group focusing on inspiring and engaging Hispanic children to learn, appreciate and preserve the roots and traditions of the Mexican culture through dance, music, discipline and creativity. Anna has been engaged in art and culture in the Northwest since 2010. ​
National Poetry Month
Vancouver poet Armin Tolentino selected as
Clark County Poet Laureate 2021-2023
Armin Tolentino is the author of the poetry collection We Meant to Bring It Home Alive (Alternating Current Press). He earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Rutgers Newark and his work has been published in
numerous literary journals including Common Knowledge, Arsenic Lobster, Hyphen Magazine, and The Raven Chronicles. Armin’s poetic artistry has been widely recognized. He was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award and the Kundiman Poetry Prize, and a winner of the Oregon Poetry Association Poetry Contest.
His poem Half a Sonnet Stepping Into Tomorrow is now circulating on C-Tran buses as part of Artstra’s initiative to honor diverse voices in the community through its program Poetry Moves, a collaboration with C-Tran to bring the art of poetry to public spaces.
Armin has volunteered since 2011 and served as a facilitator for Write Around Portland, a non-profit that partners with social services to bring writing workshops to marginalized communities. Write Around Portland’s mission is to change lives through the power of writing. He has served: on the Literary Arts Oregon Book Award Advisory Committee, on the board of Friends of William Stafford, as poetry judge for Oregon Poetry Association and Portland Youth Poets Laureate, as a judge for Verselandia and various high school poetry slams, and as a mentor for the APANO Asian and Pacific Islander Community Leadership Institute.

He lives in Vancouver and currently works for Multnomah County Youth and Family Services, helping support social programs specifically for communities of color. Armin Tolentino was awarded an Oregon Literary Fellowship from Literary Arts in 2014. The Oregon Literary Fellowship is highly competitive, only 2 % of applicants are awarded fellowships.
Rena Priest named 2021-2023 Washington State Poet Laureate
A member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation, Priest will be the first Indigenous poet to assume the role. Priest’s literary debut, Patriarchy Blues, was honored with the 2018 American Book Award, and her most recent work is Sublime Subliminal. The Washington State Poet Laureate program is sponsored by Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA). Poets laureate work to build awareness and appreciation of poetry through public readings, workshops, lectures, and presentations throughout the state.

Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic — on Zoom
This month's Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic is Thursday, April 8, at 7 p.m. on Zoom, featuring Vancouver poet and visual artist Eileen Davis Elliott, who just released Pobrecitos, a collaborative work illustrated by Lily Engblom-Stryker and Ava Town, students from Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. Pobrecitos (Spanish for “the poor ones”), a love story to all we meet on our path, and Elliott’s earlier books Prodigal Cowgirl, and Miles of Pies are all available through the author’s website. Hosted by Christopher Luna and Morgan Paige. Email Christopher Luna by no later than 3 p.m. on April 8 to indicate your interest in participating. In the subject line, note if you are “Reading” or “Just Listening.” You will receive instructions for how to join the meeting. Open mic readers are invited to share one poem for three minutes or less.

First Friday Pick
Environmental Destiny
Art at the Cave
Environmental Destiny by Anne John
As Earth Day approaches, Art at the Cave gallery reflects on the environment. Area artists working in a variety of mediums and styles will have their environmentally inspired work on display through April 30.

108 E Evergreen Blvd, Vancouver
Kathleen Cosgrove
Vancouver Community Library
The Vancouver Community Library hosts the works of Kathleen Cosgrove. The exhibit can be viewed from outside on the south walkway through the end of April.

Vancouver Community Library
901 C St, Vancouver
View other Vancouver gallery listings on the VDA website.
Call for artists
The Washougal Arts and Culture Alliance (WACA) is soliciting proposals from qualified artists, or teams of artists, to design and create an exterior mural on the south-facing wall of the Los Dos Compadres Cantina located at 1713 E Street in Washougal. The mural should highlight the diversity of Washougal history and culture and may include images honoring Indigenous and/or Hispanic culture and history.
Proposals are due June 1.

City seeks arts-focused volunteers:
City representative for Clark County Arts Commission
The City of Vancouver is seeking a volunteer interested in serving as the city’s representative on the Clark County Arts Commission. This is a mid-term appointment that would begin immediately and expire Dec. 31, 2022. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. Thursday, April 15.

City's Public Art Committee
The City of Vancouver is seeking volunteers to fill three open positions on its Public Art Committee. One of the positions must be filled by a working artist. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Thursday, April 15.

Artist resources during the COVID-19 pandemic
Our all-volunteer organization works toward building greater arts awareness, rewarding creative excellence, and expanding arts accessibility. We are working to facilitate long-term arts development for Southwest Washington. We envision a stronger arts infrastructure that includes an art center and a community-focused performing arts facility. 

Your support will help to make this vision a reality. Artstra's current programs include our annual Clark County Open Studios Tour and Poetry Moves, a collaborative effort that features the words of local poets on C-Tran buses. Both of these programs have already demonstrated the power of art in our lives to connect us, transform us, and fuel the economy.
Five ways to support the cause
If you love what Artstra is doing for our community, please consider the different ways that you can contribute.

1- Donate
Use PayPal to make a tax-deductible donation to Artstra. 
2- Declutter
Give useable items to Nifty and Thrifty at 6607 E. Mill Plain Blvd. And when those items sell, the money is split 50/50 with participating nonprofits. Just let them know your items are donated to benefit Artstra. 
3- Shop 
Link your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Artstra using our code #84120. Just by using your rewards card number, and at no cost to you, every time you shop you'll help Artstra earn a quarterly donation from Fred Meyer.
4- Shop online 
Use this link to login to Amazon, and they will donate a portion of the proceeds from your purchase back to Artstra.
5- Volunteer 
Artstra is an all-volunteer organization. If you have specialized skills, especially in fundraising, outreach and marketing, we'd love to talk with you.
ARTS brief team
Cam Suttles, editor, designer 
Editorial Policy and submission guidelines
ARTS brief is intended to be useful to readers by offering a curated selection of stories and announcements related to the growth of arts in our region. Submitted items should be newsworthy. This means that arts-related items for content consideration must perform well in at least two of the following five areas: timing, significance, proximity, prominence, and human interest. Please submit materials to artsbrief@artstra.orgno later than the 25th of each month. Note that submission does not guarantee publication. We evaluate each submission to determine how it fits our goals for ARTS brief and whether the item under consideration aligns with the mission and vision of Artstra. We do not accept materials that primarily have a commercial objective.
About Artstra
Artstra is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization advocating for the arts in Clark County and southwest Washington. We envision a vibrant arts economy in our region, north of the Columbia River, with public/private investments and facilities that sustain artists and enrich community. Our mission is to elevate the arts, build greater arts awareness, reward creative excellence, and expand arts accessibility.