Artists to set frenetic pace at 24-hour art marathon

March 1, 2011

By Brian Fink

It’s a festival of ferocity and delight, described by one organizer as “madness and mayhem.”

The nonprofit arts outfit artEAST, created and driven by local artists, is demonstrating its gusto by holding a 24-hour workshop-presentation marathon of art starting March 3. The event is “a frenzy of art,” artEAST founding member Deby Harvey said.

The event reflects the organization’s mission of fostering and encouraging an artistic spirit in the community.

June Sekiguchi, who has contributed pieces such as ‘Pattern Play’ from her Ajrak Series to artEAST, will participate in 24 Hours of Art on March 3. Contributed

Harvey said the 14 participating artists will be expected to produce four pieces within 24 hours, beginning at 9 a.m. March 3. The finished pieces will then be sold at an auction — the biggest fundraiser of the year for the group — March 5. Proceeds will help edify artEAST’s place in the Issaquah art community.

Meanwhile, visitors are invited to interact with and observe the artists as they work. The event is free to the public.

“This is a great opportunity to learn about the mediums if they’re interested, to see how art comes to life,” Harvey said.

The event at the artEAST Art Center will also feature food, drinks and live music.

The marathon, while seeking to rouse the festival spirit from its wintry sleep, has an additional purpose: to establish and bolster artEAST’s Art Center as a key destination for those interested in the arts.

“I hope Issaquah and area residents may reciprocate the energy we are giving and feel welcomed by getting involved in the art center, whether it is through taking classes, propelling them to begin or restart their art practice, or become supporters of the artEAST Art Center,” June Sekiguchi, an Issaquah-based artist, wrote in an e-mail from Vietnam.

She is one of the artists present at the marathon.

Downtown Issaquah boasts five art galleries and several businesses that in some capacity act as galleries, according to artEAST’s website.

Harvey and about 20 other artists founded artEAST seven years ago.

“We were volunteers, just a bunch of artists,” she said. “The whole group is volunteer based and because we’re a volunteer-based group, we all need to be willing to keep doing it.”

Pushing themselves to paint and perform for 24 hours will be challenging to the artists, requiring the same dedication that invigorated the organization, but many are confident in their ability to persevere.

“I’m not shy at all and love to perform live,” Issaquah artist Ricco diStefano, who loves painting in front of audiences and has done several public murals, wrote in an e-mail. “I feed off the energy.”

Gretchen van Dyke, primarily an artist of oils on canvas and wood, whose work often takes days to complete, wrote in an e-mail that she was hesitant to accept Harvey’s offer to be part of the marathon, thinking she would be unable to stay awake that long.

“But I loved the concept so much I decided to be involved,” van Dyke wrote. “I have never done anything like it before. I am working on staying awake all night long and I’m looking forward to spending 24 hours working with all the talented people in this marathon.”

While this is the first attempt at a 24-hour art marathon on the Eastside, the Seattle-based Center on Contemporary Art is in its 19th year of putting on its own.

“I’ve been an advocate of turning the Eastside into an art-appreciating and art-embracing community for some time now,” diStefano wrote. “I’ve said for many years that I want to prove to Seattle, and the world, that the Eastside has culture.”

If you go

ArtEast 24-Hour Art Marathon

  • 9 a.m. March 3 to 9 a.m. March 4
  • ArtEAST Arts Center
  • 95 Front St. N.
  • Free
  • www.arteast.org

Art Marathon auction

  • March 5
  • Tickets: $25
  • Call 466-5971.

Brian Fink is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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