Sunday, May 23, 2010

Parks and Rec - Government That Works

Did you know that there is a television show called “Parks and Recreation?” It is on Channel 8 (NBC) on Thursdays nights at 8:30 and stars Amy Poehler from Saturday Night Live. The show is a mockumentary that examines the “exciting world of local government.” I don’t watch it.

But I do keep an eye on the City of Longview Department of Parks and Recreation and am very impressed by the many classes they offer on a regular basis. The June art classes include Crochet, Furniture Making, Toe-Up Sock Knitting, Photoshop, Art Discovery, Adult Basic Sewing Solutions and Beginning Guitar. And I am not the only admirer. A Mr. Russ Dood, from Longview wrote a letter to The Daily News (published May 21) after receiving a copy of their summer programs. Mr. Dood said, “It is refreshing to be able to heap praise on an agency of government seldom mentioned for its contribution to all of us living in and near Longview.” Kudos to Director Richard Bemm, the staff and all the volunteer teachers.

I urge you to pick up a summer schedule (or check out the classes online - and take a class. Meanwhile, here is the schedule of other late May and June art events, opportunities, workshops and classes.

May/June Events

May18-May30: For the Love of Art exhibit. Mount St. Helens Visitor’s Center, Open 9-5 every day. 3029 Spirit Lake Highway (Mile 5, Route 504), Castle Rock. Info: 360-274-0962

May 27–June 10: Community Conversations. Wings on the Human Spirit, the Visual and Performing Arts. May 27, “Theatre as Consciousness” by Kurt Beattie from A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle. June 3 “Why Poetry” by Joseph Green, LCC English instructor and poet. June 10: “Blues with a Feeling” by LCC instructors Dale Groff and Dennis Shaw Thursdays, Noon-1. Wollenberg Auditorium, Rose Center for the Arts, Lower Columbia College, Longview. Info: 360-442-2311 or

May 27-28: LCC SLIP Club Pottery Sale. May 27, 5-7; May 28, 12-5. Upper Gallery Level, LCC Gallery at the Rose Center, 15th & Washington, Longview. Info:

May 26-29, June 2-5, 10-12. The Three Cuckolds–LCC Center Stage production of masked commedia. 7:30pm. Rose Center for the Performing Arts, 15th and Washington, Longview. Info:

May 27–June 11: LCC Annual Student Art Show. Opening Reception: May 27, 5-7pm. LCC Gallery at the Rose Center, 15th & Washington, Longview

June 1-June 30: Columbian Artists Association exhibit. Mount St. Helens Visitor’s Center, Open 9-5 every day. 3029 Spirit Lake Highway (Mile 5, Route 504), Castle Rock. Info: 360-274-0962

June 7-10: Sahara Nights-Kelso High School production of spoof of Arabian Nights Stories. June 7-10, 7pm. Tickets $7 adults, $5 seniors and students. Kelso High School Auditorium, 1904 Allen Street, Kelso. Info: 360-501-1800.

June 8: Lower Columbia College Jazz Band. Spring Concert. 7:30. Wollenberg Auditorium, Rose Center for the Arts, Lower Columbia College, Longview. Info:

June 9: “River of Promise-Lewis and Clark on the Columbia”. Dave Nicandri, Washington State Historical Society Director, will discuss the book he has recently completed about this neglected part of the Lewis and Clark journey. 7:00. Cowlitz County Historical Museum, 405 Allen Street, Kelso. Info: 360-577-3119 or

June 11: Lower Columbia College Symphonic Band. Spring Concert. 7:30. Wollenberg Auditorium, Rose Center for the Arts, Lower Columbia College, Longview. Info:

June 15: Lower Columbia College Community Choir. Spring Concert. 7:30. Wollenberg Auditorium, Rose Center for the Arts, Lower Columbia College, Longview. Info:

June 19: Improv After Planters Days Parade. Love Street Playhouse. 1- 3. 126 Love Street, Woodland. Info: 360-263-6670 or

June 26: Robin Hood-Students, ages 6 – 18, will perform this fun play from the Theatre Camp (See Classes, below). 2 and 7:30. $5. Love Street Playhouse, 126 Love Street, Woodland. Info: 360-263-6670 or


Writers Wanted: Valley Bugler seeking writers to produce 400 word essays on their profession or passion. Contact Michelle Myre, Publisher, at

Call for Vendors: Second Annual Kelso Downtown Spring Fling. Event features food, music, and a flea market. June 5, 10-4. More Information: Mike Zonich 360-636-3000; Robin Stout at 360-423-4816 or

Call for Vendors: Bowtie Blast Bazaar. Event featuring arts and crafts, flea market, etc, sponsored by the Longview Downtowners. July 3, 9-3. $12 for an 8’x4’ space in The Merk, Broadway and Commerce, Longview. Bring your own table or rent a 4’ oval table for $6 each (limited number available). Contact: Mic McCord at 360-575-9440.

Call for Artists: Art in the Park–juried exhibition of fine arts and crafts. August 14, 10-5. If you are interested in participating, please contact Columbian Artists Association, PO Box 2862, Longview, WA 98632, or


I Am an Artist: Professional Development Weekend for Artists. Presented by Artists Trust. June 5-6. Vancouver, WA. Info: 206-467-8734 x20 or 1-866-21-TRUST (toll free) or emailing

Grant Writing for Artists. Presented by Artists Trust. June 12. Vancouver, WA. Info: Miguel Guillen at 206/467-8734 x11, 866/218-7878 x11 (toll-free) or


Theatre Camp: Young actors (ages 6 to 18) will have the opportunity to audition for the summer children’s show, Robin Hood. June 21–26, 9–noon. Love Street Playhouse, 126 Love Street, Woodland. Info: 360-263-6670 or

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mountains and Madonnas

Mount St. Helens 30th Anniversary
May 18, 2010 is the 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. I was living in Alaska at the time, so I do not have story (See May 16th below). The volcanic eruption that is impacting Europe resonates more with me because I was trying to fly out of Alaska at Christmas time when Mount Redoubt erupted in 1989. A KLM flight flew through the ash, lost all its engines and flights stopped for several days. (The plane did land safely at the Anchorage airport.) I was luckier than most frustrated travelers because I lived near the airport and could drive back and forth several times a day to check on flights and get to sleep in my own bed. But many families had flown in from the Bush and were stuck sleeping on the floor of the airport for up to 5 days. Kudos to Alaska Airlines. Their employees didn’t know any more than anyone else, but they were nice.

I have been working with the Mount St. Helens Anniversary Planning Committee for several months. The committee decided to celebrate the event throughout the 2010 tourist season. Everyone is invited to plan a new or promote an existing activity throughout the state. The Committee will promotion and advertise activities in three different categories: Signature Events (“It’s all about the 30th Anniversary”), Related Mountain Events (It’s all about the Mountain”) and Regional Events – everything else that is happening. A number of the signature events are taking place starting May 15th. (Check the Mount. St. Helens@30 calendar at for all the activities.)

May 15th - The Mount St. Helens Institute has organized the annual "It's a Blast" event at Coldwater Lake and Johnston Ridge, focused on volcano science in your back yard.
May 16th - Cowlitz County Tourism Bureau is featuring a "Tell Your Story" event and display at the Hoffstadt Bluff Visitors Center. This event will highlight oral histories of firsthand accounts of the 1980 eruption.
• May 17th - The Mount St. Helens Visitors Center operated by Washington State Parks Recreation Commission will host a special event.
May 14th to 18th - The Forest Learning Center operated by Weyerhaeuser, will be open extended days. Normal days of operation are Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
May 18th - Official Commemoration Program, Seismic Exhibit Unveiling and Amphitheater Ceremonial Ground Breaking at Johnston Ridge Observatory. The program will feature elected officials remarks culminating with a visual presentation by the National Geographic Magazine, highlighting the magazines M.S.H. 30th Anniversary May 2010 edition.
August 14th - The "Awesome Hike" This ten mile hike starts early and goes from Johnston Ridge
Here are some websites that are covering all the activities:
Mount St. Helens Cowlitz County Tourism Bureau (official Web site)

Mount St. Helens Cowlitz County Tourism YouTube Channel (videos about Mount St. Helens)

Mount St. Helens Cowlitz County Tourism on Facebook (click the Facebook icon at top left of page, then log in)

Mount St. Helens Institute

Mount St. Helens Twitter Institute- get daily updates on what the volcano did 30 years ago

Mount St. Helens Information Resource Center

Mount St. Helens Information Resource Center Twitter

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument - US Forest Service

Mount St. Helens - Natures Discovery site

I was impressed with the members of the committee because they were very interested in having art activities connected to the anniversary. To this end, the two Visitor’s Centers – Mount St. Helens (Mile 5, SR 504) and Hoffstadt Bluffs (Mile 13, SR 504) - are available for use by arts organizations. So far, two visual arts groups are mounting exhibits at the Silver Lake Visitor’s Center. For the Love of Art will be there May 18 to May 31 and the Columbian Artists Association will be there the month of June.

If you would like to plan a special activity or have an activity promoted by the committee, please send me a comment.

First Thursday Activities – June 3
Be sure and check out the Icons at Teague’s Gallery on June First Thursday. Bernadette Weber has been teaching an Icon Class at Teague's and student icons will be featured.

I was first introduced to Icons when I traveled to Russia in 1982 and visited many Russian Orthodox churches. An icon (from a Greek word for “image’) is a religious work of art. The icon is generally a flat panel painting of Jesus, Mary, saints, angels or the cross. I would have loved to purchase one but it was illegal to take Icons out of the country. So I had to wait until 1991 when an Alaskan artist, Bryan Birdsall, had an exhibit of Icons. My Icon is a copy of a 15th century Russian Icon.

Broadway Gallery, 1418 Commerce
The featured artists are Gini Smith (painting), Scott McRae (painting) and Gallery Students (various media).
Reception: 5:30 – 7:30pm. Music by John Crocker.

LCC Gallery at the Rose Center, 15th & Washington
Annual Student Art Show. (Exhibit runs May 27 – June 11.)
Open until 7:00pm.

Longview Public Library Koth Gallery, 1600 Louisiana
The featured artist is David Huffman (Photography)) (Exhibit closes June 3.)
Open until 8:00pm.

Lord & McCord Artworks, 1416 Commerce
The featured artist is Mike Smith, wood turning. Alan Brunk will be demonstrating collograph printing and Linda McCord will give a class in screen printing for children and adults.
Reception: 5:00 – 7:00pm.

Teague’s Interiors Mezzanine Gallery, 1267 Commerce
Teague’s will be featuring Icons from the class taught by Bernette Weber.
Open until 7:00pm.

Java Joy Coffee House (in The Treasure House), 1252 Commerce Avenue
Featuring artists from For the Love of Art.
Open until 7:00pm

ZoJo Coffee, 1335 14th Avenue
Featuring a selection of African art from the private collection of Brian and Dana Cummings.
Open until 7:00pm.

The Bistro, 1329 Commerce Avenue
Wine Tasting. Live music. Door Prizes. Reservations Recommended.
Hours: 5:00 - 8:00pm.