ArtWorks2 set to return to Fort Worden Commons

By Kirk Boxleitner
Posted 6/19/24



Sequim artists Lizbeth Harper and Roberta Cooper are contributing to a rise in well-received post-pandemic community events, and they came to Port Townsend to do it.

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ArtWorks2 set to return to Fort Worden Commons




Sequim artists Lizbeth Harper and Roberta Cooper are contributing to a rise in well-received post-pandemic community events, and they came to Port Townsend to do it.

Harper’s medium is fused glass, while Cooper’s is gourd arts, but their pool of fellow artists from throughout the region is even more diverse than that, and 24 of them are slated to show their stuff on site at The Commons in Fort Worden State Park on Friday, June 28, and Saturday, June 29, for the third-annual “ArtWorks2” invitational art show.

Harper and Cooper co-founded ArtWorks2 in their hometown of Sequim, to showcase “high-quality fine art” from themselves and their peers, but they fell in love with The Commons as a venue, and brought the show to Fort Worden last year.

“Roberta and I have co-produced fine arts shows for several years,” Harper said. “We’ve long felt the need to create events that could showcase excellent art. We make no money from producing these shows, but do it for the love of art, and the desire to provide a venue that’s appealing to artists and community members alike.”

Last year’s artists and attendees agreed that The Commons, which Cooper complimented as “beautiful, spacious and well-lit,” was an ideal location from which to stage ArtWorks2, not in the least because they believed it had proven itself uniquely versatile in its ability to showcase a wide variety of art pieces in a single (albeit expansive) space.

From there, Harper and Cooper drew their pool of artists from Port Townsend and other towns and communities in the surrounding area, visiting art shows and studios as far afield as Bainbridge Island to invite artists whose works they considered exceptional to take part.

“Besides quality, one criterion we’ve kept in mind is avoiding duplication,” Cooper said. “We have three jewelers this year, but they’re all very different.”

According to the feedback they’ve received, their efforts have paid off, since Harper recounted to The Leader how several attendees of last year’s ArtWorks2 had told her “they weren’t accustomed to finding artwork of such consistently high quality, from right in this region.”

Harper and Cooper’s tastes in art are similar enough that they can’t recall ever disagreeing on any of the artists considered, and they pride themselves on maintaining active lines of communication with all their artists, to ensure their needs are being met.

Carol Nielsen, a Port Ludlow-based collage artist who first took part in ArtWorks2 last year, was impressed enough to return this year. She praised the bar of quality represented by her fellow participating artists as well as the display spaces afforded to each individual artist.

“I’ve displayed my stuff at galleries and events from Northwind Art in Port Townsend to Seattle, but opportunities like this are always precious,” Nielsen said. “It’s a chance to be surrounded by these amazingly talented people and their work, and to talk to them about it.”

Cooper sees the potential for interaction with the artists, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days, as a bonus benefit, given how fascinating she finds their creative processes.

“I have to say, Port Townsend is a very arty town,” Harper said, “It’s a great place to be an artist, and I’ve bought plenty of art from here. At the very least, buying each other’s art helps all of us cover the costs of our art supplies.”