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Earth & Ocean Arts Festival

by Meredith Areskoug
Dave Deal. Photo: Kevin Kosub.

CANNON BEACH, OR, Sep 20 – 22

by Allyn Cantor

The strikingly beautiful convergence of the Pacific Ocean with land and forests has long been an awe-inspiring place for artists. The scenic Oregon town of Cannon Beach – with a coastline that is hugged by large headlands, forested state parks and iconic rock formations – has been attracting creatives for decades and now has a burgeoning gallery scene. This art community has come together to host a new environmentally themed celebration of the arts that is reinventing ways to connect art with the protection and conservation of nature.

Highlights of the Earth & Ocean Arts Festival include an outdoor installation by ecological artist Shelby Silver. The interactive sculpture We’ve Made Our Bed, which incorporates ghost netting and marine rope, speaks about marine animals never truly being safe from the hazards of entanglement, entrapment and indigestion from plastic marine debris. Silver is tracking how many pounds of ghost netting were collected for this project. Ceramic artists Dave & Boni Deal are doing a live raku firing on the beach. For close to 40 years, the Washington artists have collaborated in their rustic off-grid lifestyle using Northwest themes like ferns and herons to adorn their classic forms. Kathleen Sheard, a wildlife glass artist and sea turtle conservationist, has assembled a team to produce her Spiritual Reliquaries and Wildlife Rondells at Icefire Glassworks throughout the weekend. Sheard works with fused, slumped, cast and furnace techniques in creating her glass renditions of animals.

In addition to the wealth of visual arts, the inaugural festival includes nationally acclaimed Artichoke Dance Company, who will perform on the beach; the group increases awareness of plastic pollution. Music, land art, plein air painting and artist demonstrations round out this event, which benefits five local environmental nonprofit organizations.

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