Artists celebrate Earth Day with exhibits and discussions

<p>Val Ryan</p>

Spring is bustin’ out all over — and are we ever ready for it.

Out of the doom and gloom the sunshine emerged, brightening spirits, making all growing things stand up straighter, causing my tulip tree to explode and encouraging small green shoots to become large green shoots.

It’s all working the way it’s supposed to. Isn’t it wonderful the way Earth just knows what to do?

Speaking of Earth, it’s that time of year again: 12 Days of Earth Day. As usual, there are many events planned. See the website: http://www.twelvedaysofearthday.com.

The 12 Days of Earth Day celebration is a 12-day event, from April 11 to 21 that includes presentations on environmental issues affecting Cannon Beach as well as the larger coastal community.

Don’t miss the kickoff on April 11 when we welcome the Tufted Puffins back to Haystack Rock.

A special potluck celebrating our salmon will feature acclaimed Native American artist Lillian Pitt.

In addition, there will be educational opportunities on such topics as bee-keeping, the arrival of marine debris from Japan, and Oregon's resilience plan designed to provide a response to a major coastal event.  

Just in time to celebrate The 12 Days is "The Verde Show: A Green Inspired Art Show" curated by Royal Nebeker with featured artist, Ashley Mersereau. It runs through April 29 at the Cannon Beach Gallery.

The featured artist in the show is Manzanita based artist, Ashley Mersereau, who will exhibit new work from her "up-cycled" jewelry line, Roots and Wings. Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products, and it is often used by artists interested in working in an environmentally friendly way.

In addition, painter and printmaker Royal Nebeker, well known in the region and far beyond, will be the curator for the juried component of the exhibition. Western Oregon Waste is underwriting “The Verde.” This collaboration brings us a beautiful and important show.

It is hard to decide if Ashley is an artist who works in jewelry or a jewelry maker who is an artist. She combines both art and craft so beautifully in her work that they are interchangeable. Her imaginative pieces are unique combinations of materials designed to be treasured forever.

Ashley’s personal statement on her very successful Etsy site, Roots and Wings, says it all: "I'm attempting to make my life, in as many ways as possible, a beautiful, creative act. This is such a multi-faceted idea to me, and takes many forms.

“I believe deeply that the best way to serve the world is to fully, and without reservation, become the happiest, truest version of yourself. Do what inspires you, what makes you feel fulfilled, and do it now."

The Cannon Beach Gallery scheduled this year's show to coincide with Earth Day, which has become a time for people to reflect on their relationship to the environment. That is exactly what many of the artists whose work will be on display at the gallery have done. They have thought about how to work with discarded materials in innovative ways to make beautiful works of art.

As a tie-in with Earth Day, the gallery will host an “artists talk” at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 20. Artists who have work in the show will reflect on the question, “What does it mean to work green as an artist?”

Here’s another special event for your artistic enjoyment: Tolovana Arts Colony will present “Natural Elements,” an annual art show from April 12 to 21. Admission is free to the Pop-Up Gallery, 247 N. Hemlock St.

The show will feature 12 local artists: Deb Carnes, Libby Pattison, Kimre Zentmeyer, Josie Coleman, Scott Johnson, David Kinhan, Sarah Rieber, Sarah McAllister, Allyn Cantor, Jonathan Hoffman, Don Osborne and Krista Guenther.

An opening artists reception is planned from 6 to 8 p.m. tomorrow. Light refreshments, a bit of the bubbly and fiddle playing are planned. This is a great opportunity to view several artists who rarely show their work.

Another artistic endeavor worth seeing is “Around the World in 80 Days” at Coaster Theatre until April 20. Every actor is superb, and isn’t it fun to see our friends and neighbors on stage?

Juan Lira has a special gift for physical comedy, and he is perfect as Passepartout, faithful manservant to the stuffy, but kindly, Phileas Fogg . A bit of trivia for dazzling your friends: The word “passepartout” loosely translated means “passkey” or “all-purpose fixer,” certainly just exactly what Jules Verne made of Passepartout.

We can never have enough art in our lives but when you live in Cannon Beach or have access to its many artistic offerings, you can come close.

If I had gone to Palm Springs this year, I would be home by now, so I have to stop grousing about not going and start enjoying the weather – while it lasts, which it might not.

What I enjoy even more is the steady thrum of people in and out of the store; the slowdown of cars on Hemlock as travelers try to find what they’re looking for; the slow movers on the sidewalks, strolling and looking in windows, walking dogs, holding children by the hand, enjoying an ice cream cone or a piece of candy from Bruce’s Candy Kitchen – that iconic Cannon Beach business now celebrating 50 years – discovering new shops and doing all those things that people leave home to do. May their tribe increase as the months go on!

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