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Three artists from the nearby island are exhibiting their work downtown

Lynn Dee and Ria Harboe spoke to visitors at the exhibit on its opening night, Nov. 6. // Photo by Holden Predmore

By Holden Predmore

While much of the local art in Bellingham comes from the city itself, there are other sources of art nearby.

The Allied Arts of Whatcom County’s new exhibit features three artists from Lummi Island. The exhibit will be available to see online or in-person through the end of the month.

“I’ve been living there for over 25 years,” said Lynn Dee, one of the Lummi Island artists featured at the exhibit. “The place is beautiful.”

Lummi Island has a large artistic community, despite the exhibit only featuring three artists.

All three artists usually take part in the Lummi Island studio tours, an event that happens about three times a year. All three planned tours this year were canceled due to COVID-19.

“There are at least 20 or 30 artists who join,” said Kim Obbink, one of the Lummi Island artists featured.

Kelly Hart, the executive director for the Allied Arts, has high praise for the tours when they are up and running.

“If you haven’t gotten a chance to go on the studio tour, it’s really fun,” Hart said.

Hart is excited to show art from Lummi Island in the Bellingham community, she said.

“The artists of Lummi Island are amazing, and their work is amazing,” Hart said. “We want to expose the [Bellingham] community to artwork they might not normally get to see, and if they can’t get to Lummi Island, this is a way that they can see some of the art.”

The Allied Arts wants to be a place where people can also learn about the art they see, Hart said. This includes learning about the artists behind the art and how the art is made.

“I’m really excited to show my work next to Kim and Lynn,” said Ria Harboe, one of the Lummi Island artists. “It feels good to be a part of a gallery with such good company.”

Almost all of the featured art is recently made as well, Dee said, which means some of the art is being displayed publicly for the first time at the exhibit.

Garth Amundson, a professor of arts at Western, said that location is essential to many artists’ work, including his own.

“If you know more about your surroundings, you’ll be more invested in the place, and it will be reflected in your work,” Amundson said.

The artists featured from Lummi Island are no exception, Amundson said.

“You can clearly see commitment to environment, location and surroundings in all of the artists featured in the forthcoming exhibition,” Amundson said.

It’s not just from the outside looking in that the Lummi Island influence is noticeable.

“Everything about Lummi Island inspired my art,” Obbink said. “I spend most of my time in nature. It’s just a beautiful place.”

The artists said they hope people who see the exhibit can see the influence Lummi Island has on their art.

“It’s really hard not to be inspired by the beauty and nature,” Harboe said. “I think the show is going to be really beautiful.”
The in-person exhibit will be at the Allied Arts’ downtown location, 1418 Cornwall Ave. The exhibit can also be viewed online at their website, with additional information on the Allied Arts of Whatcom County Facebook page.


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