EAA exhibit soars with depictions of local birds

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By Sara Miller

The Evergreen Artists Association promotes the visual arts in our mountain community with art shows, member activities, scholarships, workshops, programs and the annual Evergreen Fine Arts Festival. On Friday, May 31, the EAA opened its annual member show at the Main Street Fine Art Gallery in downtown Evergreen. The show is called “Birds of Our Mountain Area,” and features artwork that was inspired by and includes reference to birds from the Evergreen area.

In conceiving this show, the EAA board worked closely with the Evergreen Audubon Society. Artists were given a list of the birds species spotted at Evergreen Lake and the surrounding areas in the last nine years. The list included 64 of the 162 species spotted in our mountain area. These 64 species have been spotted every year since 2004 by Evergreen Audubon Society members and volunteers.

Main Street Art Gallery was packed for Friday’s opening reception. The chatter of artists and art lovers combined with the bird songs piped through the gallery to create a pleasant din of excitement and natural wonder.

The show was judged by former Evergreen resident Carmon Slater, an internationally recognized fiber artist who is also a well-known interior designer, landscape designer, art curator and naturalist. Slater bestowed eight awards, including Best of Show to Debra Sindt for an oil painting titled “Mr. Bluebird”; and two Awards of Excellence to Lindsey Johnson for a Conte pencil drawing of a hawk in flight titled “In SEarchof New Fields” and to the collaborative team of Berth Erlund and Dennis Johnson for their depiction of a crane in “Catching a Breeze.”

Five Honorable Mentions were awarded to Beth Riser for “Tom of Greystone,” a photograph of a wild turkey; Michelene Berkey for her necklace titled “White-Faced Ibis”; Chris Orlokowski for “My Little Chickadee”; Tom Newsom for his oil painting “The Dipper’s Domain”; and Lynne Milliken for her oil painting “New in Town.”

The Evergreen Audubon Society also gave out two awards to artists who captured the essence of our mountain birds. Brad Andres, president of the Evergreen Chapter of the Audubon Society, was at the reception to deliver the awards. The Audubon Award of Excellence went to Gail Gatto for her photo of cormorant at Evergreen Lake. The Annual Membership in the Evergreen Audubon Society Award went to Laurie Hill Gibb for her depiction of red-winged blackbirds.

In the midst of celebrating the artistic achievements of its member artists, the EAA was also supporting our community’s emerging artists on Friday night with the EAA Youth Scholarship Awards. Funds raised from donations throughout the year are used to support this merit-based scholarship, which is applied toward college tuition for one high school senior. Seniors from four high schools in the mountain region compete, filling out applications and presenting portfolios of work for examination by a judging committee of EAA members. This year’s first-place $1,500 scholarship was awarded to Evergreen High School senior Lindsey Stavile. The $250 Merit Award was also given to Mackenzie Skold, also from Evergreen High School.

“These scholarships are truly what EAA’s work is all about,” says artist and EAA member Tab Berkey. “It’s wonderful to celebrate our members, but all of our work throughout the year is really about nurturing the work of new artists, too. It’s exciting to be part of an event which celebrates both.”

“Birds of Our Mountain Area” runs through June 23 at Main Street Fine Art Gallery. For more information, visit www.evergreenartists.org.

Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.