Delayed artEAST exhibit puts images to ‘Love Songs’

January 24, 2012

By Tom Corrigan

Virtually every month for six years, Issaquah’s artEAST Center has put together a different themed exhibit with entries from members and invited artists.

Just in time for St. Valentine’s Day, the coming monthly exhibit is “Love Songs!” with works from 17 artists reflecting the lyrics and moods of various classics love ballads, said Sally Penley, a calligrapher and painter who makes her home in Olympia.

Penley also is a member of artEAST and the curator for “Love Songs!” She noted that, importantly in her mind, “Love Songs!” is a juried show, which generally means works were reviewed before being accepted into the show.

For the coming exhibit, Penley and others created a “playlist” from which artists could draw their inspiration.

The selections include classics and standards, such as “Georgia on My Mind” and “That Old Black Magic.” Some more relatively contemporary numbers include “We’ve Only Just Begun,” by The Carpenters, and “If,” by Bread.

“I think it’s going to be a very fun show,” Penley said.

“It’s fun, it’s a little light-hearted,” said Karen Abel, executive director of artEAST and the UP Front Gallery. “It’s an exciting way to start our year of exhibitions.”

Penley said the show will include paintings, sculpture and weldings.

“It’s a good cross section of art,” she said. “It’s a lot of variety.”

The show will include three works from Penley, including some of her calligraphy. While she also paints, Penley said she considers calligraphy her primary creative outlet. All in all, she has three pieces in the “Love Songs!” show.

The fact that Penley is the curator of a show in Issaquah’s homegrown gallery while living in Olympia demonstrates the growing reach of that homegrown gallery, she said.

Penley first heard of artEAST after speaking to a calligraphy group in Edmonds. She became friends with a member of that organization who in turn introduced her to artEAST. Abel agreed the organization’s influence and reputation seems to be growing. She said artEAST really raised its profile by opening its new UP Front Gallery on Front Street roughly a year ago.

Abel added “Love Songs!” is the second artEAST show to prominently feature Olympia artists. The first was a recycled art show held last fall. She said the show became memorable to her partly because of the distance some contributors traveled to be involved.

“Love Songs!” was originally scheduled to kick off Jan. 20. The recent weather pushed that back to Jan. 27. The exhibition will run through March 3. Abel said the next show planned for is “Pulse: Rhythms in Clay.” She added it will be artEAST’s first ceramics show. The exhibition will coincide with the meeting of a national ceramics art group in Seattle.

Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or Comment at

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