The downtown streets of Bellingham were empty. People outside rushed to get inside and out of the cold on Friday, April 3. Stores remained open past closing hours and were filled with people talking, eating food and looking around at the new things showcased for this weekend’s Downtown Bellingham Art Walk.
The Art Walk is a monthly gathering in Bellingham that celebrates the community of artists who live and work in Whatcom County. It lasts three days and keeps local businesses, galleries and restaurants open into the late hours of the night with hopes it will bring in more customers than regular working hours.
This month’s Art Walk showed a celebration of the sustainability of Bellingham, along with the 10th anniversary of The Lucky Monkey, and art made from recycled materials.
BEE BEE METROPOL
Parked on the sidewalk sits an old white bus. In another life, it drove the hilly streets of Seattle as a metro handicap bus.
Now repurposed as a caravan, bus owner Wayne Hagan lives in it when he visits Burning Man. Bee Bee Metropol is the name of the almost 30-year-old bus Hagan spent five years redecorating. Hagan, a design technologist, has put a lot of effort into making this bus sustainable, including adding in solar panels and running his engine on biofuel.
The bus garners a lot of attention at Burning Man and the Art Walk, Hagan said.
THE LUCKY MONKEY
The Lucky Monkey, a local specialty collectables and clothing store, celebrated its tenth year as a business on Friday, April 3, with a Wizard of Oz-themed party at their store on 312 W. Champion St.
Some people were there just to shop, but many of those who came in costume immediately sought out the owner to congratulate him on his success for keeping the business going for so long.
Dressed as the Wizard, Will Davis, owner of The Lucky Monkey, chose this theme because The Wizard of Oz is well known, he said.
He hoped the spontaneity of the theme would be an avenue for people to express themselves through their costumes and come be a part of the celebration, he said.
“It was a fun thing where people can get dressed up and get into character,” Davis said.
Angela Arave, who has been working at The Lucky Monkey off and on since 2010, said the store participates in Art Walk every month but had a greater presence this time due to the anniversary. The store was giving back to the customers in thanks by offering discounts for helping to keep the business around as long as it has been, Arave said.
“Once you’re part of The Lucky Monkey family you’re just always a part of the family,” Arave said.
The Lucky Monkey supports local artists by selling their artwork in the store. The participation of many downtown businesses in the Bellingham Art Walk gives artists exposure.
Bill Hodge was retired and thinking about his future when he went to an art fair and saw an artist making furniture out of plywood. This sparked his interest in using it to create his own art, Hodge said.
Now, Hodge’s art is being featured in the Recycled Arts Exhibit, which opened at Allied Arts on Friday, April 3, during the Art Walk.
For his art, Hodge utilized his background in carpentry to transform old cabinet doors by cutting and gluing them together to create abstract wall décor. All the different colors in the artwork come from the different cabinet doors he collected, Hodge said.
Two local Pacific Northwest artists, Thor Myhre and Graham Schodda, both used metal as a medium in the exhibit but took it in different directions. Myhre found rusty parts and reused them to make an elephant head. The wear and tear of the rust added texture and detail that would be hard to do with a paint job, Myhre said.
Schodda said he prefers chrome and “oddball” objects; things he’s found in junkyards he thinks are worth reusing. These objects are used as parts for the dog, robot and rocket ship sculptures, Schodda said.
Julia Moss, an intern at Allied Arts and senior at Western, thought the recycled art aspect was a different angle not often seen.
There were art pieces that drew the attention of children, including crutches with Pez dispensers built into them, she said.
“It’s a fine art that isn’t fine,” Moss said, “It really brings the community together in a different way.”