Community Art Center could take form in Clinton

"Pat McVay says all this space could be transformed into a community art center in Clinton.Matt Johnson, staff photoA number of South Whidbey artists are painting a vision of an art center that could take form soon in downtown Clinton.Pat McVay, a well-known woodcarver whose work is in collections both locally and regionally, is scouting the possibility of a community of artists in various media who could join together in a small cooperative. McVay's work and that of several other woodcarvers has been seen for several years on Highway 525 just up from the Clinton Ferry Dock, attracting many visitors who watch these artists in action. And there is room at the site for other artists and craftspeople, many of whom have expressed an interest in sharing the space.There are many who need a workshop, or a place to show their work, or give classes, McVay said. And a little art center would be a nice welcome to the island for all our visitors.The site had one been a used car lot, McVay said. There is a storefront with a restroom facility, and a high ceilinged room suitable for a gallery and studios. A potter could put a kiln in there. You could also make stained glass, he said. Artists who have expressed an interest include a stone sculptor, painters, a jeweler, a fused glass artist, an artist in papier mache and one who casts molds. We'd like to see a metalwork artist there, McVay said.The center would be set up as a cooperative, without high rent or commission rates. It would be action-oriented, with artists creating their work on site. Painter Mo Jerome is interested in managing the studio/gallery.And no, the chainsaw artists would not be carving all day, McVay said.The group needs a few more key people, who can all share what is a very low rent, he added. Unfortunately, time is short.The landlord is a great guy, and he likes the idea of art being there, McVay said. But fiscal realities may force the owner to find another tenant by early February unless the arts group can meet the financial requirements.People who would like more information are encouraged to call McVay at 579-7811 or Mo Jerome at 730-5917 (or 425-637-9497). What would you rather see when you get off the ferry in Clinton? McVay asks. A community art center or another used car lot? "

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