April 2023
Spring is upon us, and as the days get longer, the community presents multiple opportunities to celebrate the artists of Clark County. National Poetry Month, the opening of applications for the Open Studios Tour, and the announcement of the creation of an arts hub in Vancouver are among the very exciting cultural happenings in April!

ARTS brief is designed to intrigue you while sharing useful information, events, happenings, and current news related to arts growth in our region. If you love what you see here, please forward this to your friends and encourage them to join our email list and subscribe.
Advancing the arts
April is National Poetry Month
Clark County Poet Laureate Armin Tolentino
Artstra supports the literary arts through Poetry Move, a program in collaboration with C-Tran to place poems from regional poets on the buses. Artstra also supports the Poet Laureate program of the Clark County Arts Commission. With April as National Poetry Month, it is a good time to honor Clark County Poets Laureate Armin Tolentino (2021-2024), Gwendolyn Morgan (2018-2020), Christopher Luna (2013-2017), and Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest for their ongoing important work as ambassadors of literary culture through poetry.

National Poetry Month was created in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets to appreciate the legacy of poets, to encourage poetry reading, to help teachers introduce poetry into the classroom, and to increase support for the publication of poetry books.

Armin Tolentino

Armin will complete his term as Clark County Poet Laureate in the spring of 2024. He continues to provide writing workshops for the community, stressing the importance of silencing our inner critic and allowing ourselves the full freedom to create messy, beautiful art. Armin will host two writing workshops in partnership with the Cascade Park branch of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library system ( April 6 and April 10 ). The participants are encouraged to share their work at an open mic on Friday, April 14.
Gwendolyn Morgan
Gwendolyn Morgan has three poems in Dawn Songs: A Birdwatcher's Field Guide to the Poetics of Migration, edited by Jamie K. Reaser and J. Drew Lanham, just released by Talking Waters Press 2023, for national Spring Migration events.  She also has had three new poems published in The Wayfarer, Autumn 2022 issue. Flight Feathers, Gwendolyn Morgan's fourth book of poetry, was released by Wayfarer Books during National Poetry Month in April 2022. 

Gwendolyn attended the Association of Writers and Writers Programs (AWP) in Seattle this past month. She participated in the regional Words & Pictures Poetry Evening, sponsored by the Vancouver Community Library Autumn 2022. She has been a featured reader for Vintage Books, one of our regional independent bookstores with Armin and other poets, most recently with Words of Light: A Vintage Books Live! End-of-Year Celebration. Last Spring, she shared in the opening of the Spring Writing Workshop at Clark College.
Christopher Luna 
Christopher Luna continues to host Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic monthly. During National Poetry Month, the featured reader will be Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest on April 13, 2023, at 7 pm.

Art at the Cave 
108 E Evergreen Blvd
Vancouver, WA 9866

Christopher also offers a writing workshop:

The Work takes place at Birdhouse Books from 2:00 – 5:00 pm on the second Saturday of the month. The Work is a drop-in poetry writing workshop for beginners as well as more experienced writers. Saturday afternoon workshops will take place on April 8 and May 13.

Rena Priest 
Rena Priest is a member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. She is wrapping up her term as our 6th Washington State Poet Laureate. She is also a Maxine Cushing Gray Distinguished Writing Fellow, an Academy of American Poets Fellow, and the recipient of an Allied Arts Foundation Professional Poets Award. Her debut collection, Patriarchy Blues, received a 2018 American Book Award.    
Volunteer help needed with Artstra's Poetry Moves program
Artstra is in need of a new Poetry Moves champion to manage the program. Poetry Moves publishes local poets' poems on channel cards on all C-Tran buses. If you appreciate poetry and the literary arts, this volunteer position is a great way to meet regional and national poets and celebrate poetry as a form of public art. The duties are well-defined, and there is always a way to put your own stamp on this popular program. And best of all, you'll have plenty of help from others who have experience managing the program and who can answer your questions and help make it rewarding and interesting. For more information please contact LaRae Zawodny (lzawodny@msn.com) or Karen Madsen (madsenkc@gmail.com). Visit https://artstra.org/poetry-moves/ to learn more about the program.
Call for artists - Clark County Open Studios
The 10th annual Clark County Open Studios tour, scheduled for November 4 & 5, is open for applications, calling visual artists working in Clark County in all mediums!

Applications due: May 31

Join us this year in Celebrating our 10th Anniversary!

It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since the Clark County Open Studios began. To date, the tour has shown over 170 artists and has played an essential role in helping to develop our vibrant art community! It uncovers and connects the individual artists living and working in Clark County, but it also connects artists to patrons and art lovers all over the region.

Last year’s tour had record-breaking sales, and we are gearing up for this year’s tour to be even bigger! The program continues to grow and prosper, and we are thankful for all the support that enables us to keep the program going strong and helps artists continue to create.

New this year and part of the open studio's application is the CHRISTINE RICE MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP, in remembrance of open studio artist Christine Rice, created to support young artists' career paths. Emerging artists ages 20-30 are encouraged to apply. Included with their participation in open studios, they will receive a 500-1000 stipend plus mentorship from a seasoned Open Studios Artist, with the option to be hosted in another artist's studio. The award is given on merit and chosen based on the highest jurors’ scores. Thank you to Christine’s family, that made this scholarship possible.

Also new this year, participating artists will have access to Professional Development workshops through our partnership with the PDXOS Artist Academy. We are thankful to our friends across the river for sharing this opportunity.

We are honored to have three exceptional jurors for the 2023 tour.

Mark Tindle is the newly appointed Portland Art Museum’s Rental Sales Gallery Manager directing a roster of over 250 artists. Before moving to Portland, Mark worked in the UK in curatorial, collections management, project management, marketing, and museum management.

Mike Baggetta is a contemporary Fine Artist living in Silverton, Oregon, and has been the Creative Director of Art in the Pearl for over 20 years. His abstract paintings can be found in several galleries around the region as well as notable collections. Mike studied at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA.

Lisa Conway is a Professor of Art and Head of the Ceramics at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington. She received her MFA in Ceramics from Louisiana State University and her BFA from the University of Michigan. Her resume includes numerous artist residency programs, grants, exhibits, and collections nationwide.

If you have a studio and an art-making practice that you would like to share, check out the guidelines to see if the Clark County studio tour is right for you.

Contact Artstra Open Studios Director Jennifer Williams with any questions: jennifer@jenniferwilliamsfineart.com
Upcoming Spring Art Show & Sale hosted by
Battle Ground Art Alliance
Artist: Linda Kliewer
Get ready to immerse yourself in the world of art at Battle Ground Art Alliance’s 19th annual Spring Art Show and Sale on Saturday, April 22nd!

Join us at the Battle Ground Community Center to witness the artistry of 20 talented Southwest Washington regional artists who will showcase their best works in various media. What sets this year’s show apart is the exciting lineup of live demonstrations.This interactive show is designed to pique the curiosity of all attendees, from families to seasoned art enthusiasts, and provide an opportunity for visitors to learn and experience the intricacies of art firsthand.
Admission is free, so mark your calendars for April 22nd, 10 AM-4 PM, and join us for a day filled with art, creativity, and inspiration. Visit our website to scan the QR code and access an interactive Google map with directions to the event. We can’t wait to see you there!
Former library to be repurposed as arts hub
The City of Vancouver's Culture, Art, and Heritage Commission have been formulating a plan to make use of the former Fort Vancouver Regional Library on Mill Plain Boulevard. The plans to convert the mid-century modern building into a multi-disciplinary arts facility include a variety of maker spaces, galleries, and public spaces to accommodate the community's visual and performing artists.

With an estimated cost of $13.5 - $17.5 million, the arts hub will fill a long-standing gap in the Clark County community by creating a community center where the city's creative types are celebrated.

Be part of the process! Please take a moment to complete the Vancouver arts hub survey, and share how the facility can best serve the community.
Washougal Songcraft Festival presents benefit Song Circle April 6
The monthly Washougal Song Circle at 54-40 Brewing has become a popular event to connect talented regional songwriters with new local audiences. The non-profit Washougal Songcraft Festival coordinates these events and ensures that artists receive a stipend for performing.

On April 6, festival founders and friends will donate their performances for a special edition of Washougal Song Circle, which is devoted to raising funds for the first annual Washougal Songcraft Festival this summer. The festival will present sixteen excellent regional songwriters for three days of concerts and workshops over the weekend of August 11-13.

Performers at the April 6 benefit performance will include regular song-circle hosts Raven Fables, solo songs by C. A. Corbell, musical appearances by Mary Reed and Jim Warford, and other friends and special guests.

Washougal Songcraft Circle is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to foster, share, and celebrate the craft of songwriting, and to develop the performing arts and creative community of Washougal, Washington, and the surrounding region.

Washougal Song Circle #5: Summer Festival Benefit
Thursday, April 6 2023, 6-8 pm
54-40 Brewing Taproom
3801 S Truman St #1, Washougal, WA 98671
Free (donations encouraged) • All-ages
Journey Theater to hold auditions for Matilda, The Musical
Journey Theater will be holding auditions for their upcoming production of the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved children's classic on April 8,10, and 13 for the production, which runs August 4 - 12 at the Garver Theater in Camas. For more information or to sign-up for an audition spot, visit: www.journeytheater.org
First Friday pick: Greenbelt and Crystal Clear Water - A fundraiser for Watershed Alliance
Nature is a beautiful, cherished space where native plants and animals flourish. Preservation establishing a greenbelt to help protect the fragile ecosystems supports this perspective. This exhibit will serve as a fundraiser for one local organization working towards that goal, the Watershed Alliance of Southwest Washington. Their mission is to "empower community members to protect and restore southwest Washington’s waterways and natural areas for the benefit of current and future generations."

Join us on First Friday, April 7 from 4-8 pm for the opening reception and on Saturday April 15, from 1-2 pm for the Artist Talk.
Artist: Jane Degenherdt
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 how you can contribute.

1- Donate
Use PayPal to make a tax-deductible donation to Artstra. 
2- Declutter
Give usable 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, you'll help Artstra earn a quarterly donation from Fred Meyer every time you shop.
4- Volunteer 
Artstra is an all-volunteer organization. We'd love to talk with you if you have specialized skills, especially in fundraising, outreach, and marketing.
ARTS brief team
Sammuel Murry-Hawkins, 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.