Kyle Jensen / The Record — Featured sculptor Hector Santos works toward completing his piece “Urban Pyramid” before the opening of the sculpture garden on Saturday.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — Featured sculptor Hector Santos works toward completing his piece “Urban Pyramid” before the opening of the sculpture garden on Saturday.

Bringing sculpture to the masses for international celebration

South Whidbey knows how to celebrate International Sculpture Day.

With a plethora of residing talent to showcase and celebrate, South Whidbey’s multi-day rendition of the world celebration gives people a chance to see the work, meet the artists and witness the grand opening of a new and permanent outdoor sculpture garden.

And this time, Langley won’t hog all the attention of art lovers.

“This gives people a chance to see something unique, in that there are multiple venues to see outdoor sculpture on South Whidbey that people are not aware of,” Langley Arts Commission Chairman and sculptor Frank Rose said. “Of course Langley has a lot of public art, but Freeland has some great sculptures if you know where to look.”

Although International Sculpture Day is technically April 24, South Whidbey’s rendition spans two days — Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23. A host of events and tours will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days, including tours of galleries, a sculpture preserve in Freeland and of the various pieces scattered throughout the Village by the Sea. The city of Langley will also recognize the work of renowned Clinton-based sculptor Georgia Gerber.

To properly celebrate International Sculpture Day, the resident artists at the Freeland Art Studios will unveil downtown Freeland’s first permanent outdoor sculpture garden. The garden is located next to the studio, which is the building adjacent to the WAIF thrift store on Roberta Avenue. According to Rose, who is a resident artist there, the garden and the studio are a glimpse into a largely unknown gem.

“This, in a way, is a look into the hidden Freeland art scene,” Rose said. “Most people don’t even know that we’re here inside this old garage.”

A grand opening will unveil the sculpture garden at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Although set in an industrial background — the studio is located in an old service garage and is littered with materials used by resident sculptors — the garden is a patch of green and artistic expression. Works from the 12 resident artists are positioned across the garden and inside the studio, providing a wide variety of works ranging from clay to stone to painting. Most of the pieces are for sale, according to Rose.

The resident artists include Rose, Sue Taves, Lane Tompkins, Lloyd Whannell, Penelope Crittenden, Declan Travis, Woody Morris, Carol Rose Dean, Tom Lindsay, Sara Owens, Dale Reiger and Teri Jo Summer-Reiger. Other South Whidbey-based sculptors will also have work on display, such as Dexter Lewis, Dan Freeman, Jan Hoy, Alexandra Morosco, Jeff Day, Hector Santos, Chuck Pettis, Ivan Neaigus and Pat McVay.

The artists will be present to chat about their works and their work process. Some will even give demonstrations of whatever projects they’re working on.

“There’s incredible talent here in such a small area; I’m in awe of their work,” Santos said. “There’s also so much appreciation on South Whidbey for art of all kinds. It’s a perfect situation for an artist to be in.”

Three miles from downtown Freeland, the works of sculptor Hank Nelson will also be on public display in his personal sculpture playground, Cloudstone Sculpture Park. Over 200 of his works ranging from “giant steel fabrications” to “acre-size earth works” cover the 15-acre plot of land, as well as a gallery that houses more sculptures available for purchase. Walking tours are available between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and private tours are available by appointment at other times. Contact 360-331-3913 for details, or stop by Freeland Art Studios.

Over in Langley, celebrated Clinton-based sculptor Georgia Gerber will be presented with a pin of excellence by Mayor Tim Callison at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Gerber’s work includes the iconic pig at Pike Place Market, as well as “Boy &Dog” on First Street in Langley. The public recognition will be fittingly held at Boy and Dog Park.

“I’m mostly grateful to be a part of a community that has so many artists and so much talent that I often wonder why I’ve been chosen,” Gerber said. “It’s the other artists who inspire me. We feed off each other’s creative energy.”

Following the ceremony, people have the chance to go on a guided tour to see Langley’s public art, which covers nearly 40 different pieces scattered across the city. Callison is also slated to unveil a new Orca whale mural in Clyde Alley, Rose said.

“Artists are spread in large numbers throughout South Whidbey, and the various events for International Sculpture Day show that,” Rose said. “There’s so much to see, it’s hard to fit in within two days.”

Kyle Jensen / The Record — Freeland Art Studios resident sculptor Frank Rose explains the idea behind one of Sue Taves’ unfinished pieces. Taves is also a resident sculptor at Freeland Art Studios.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — Freeland Art Studios resident sculptor Frank Rose explains the idea behind one of Sue Taves’ unfinished pieces. Taves is also a resident sculptor at Freeland Art Studios.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — Inside Freeland Art Studios, the work of 12 resident artists is on display.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — Inside Freeland Art Studios, the work of 12 resident artists is on display.

More in Life

Frances Schultz, holding a picture of her younger self, recently turned 100 years old. Her daughter, Connie Van Dyke, right, said her mother’s photo looks like one of actress Barbara Stanwyck. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
At 100, Oak Harbor woman reflects on busy life

Frances Schultz turned 100 years old on March 30.

Photo by Cara Hefflinger
After Coupeville resident Geri Nelson saw these two Great Horned owlets and their mother, she posted to social media to see if there was any local photography interest. Cara Hefflinger came to the tree, camera in hand.
Coupeville owl family makes an appearance in photographer’s lens

O ne woman’s discovery of a brood of owlets in Coupeville caught the eyes of many admirers on social media, including one South End photographer.

Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record
Third grader Laszlo McDowell gets up close and personal with a gray whale skull.
Students learn about being ‘whale-wise’

South Whidbey Elementary School students got a taste of what it would be like to live as gray whales.

The Oystercatcher’s owner and chef, Tyler Hansen, prepares a dozen 3 Sisters beef bolognese lasagnas to go on the shelves at 3 Sisters Market. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Chef liaises with other business owners

A Coupeville chef has expanded his partnership with local business owners to… Continue reading

Tim Leonard, owner of the Machine Shop in Langley, hangs a purple neon star he made on the wall of his arcade. Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group
Neon art show colorizes Machine Shop’s reopening

A cacophony of happy buzzers and bells and a riot of glowing… Continue reading

Rockin’ A Hard Place | All aboard for my big, post-jab Rock adventure

All aboard for my big, post-jab Rock adventure!

Freeland’s July 3 celebration canceled for 2021

The Celebrate America organizing team from South Whidbey Assembly of God had… Continue reading

Rishi Sharma checks levels in his camera before interviewing WWII combat veteran Frank Burns of Freeland last Saturday. Sharma travels the country interviewing WWII combat veterans for his oral history project and nonprofit, Heroes of the Second World War. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Recording for posterity tales of WWII vets across the U.S.

Rishi Sharma has met more than 1,100 World War II combat veterans to document their stories.

Sarah Santosa is surrounded by some bovine residents of Ballydídean Farm Sanctuary, including ‘Rez, Dahlia and Poco. Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record
Animals put out to pasture, but not forgotten

A South Whidbey farm is welcoming those who may be interest in a COVID-safe spring photoshoot.

An Anna’s Hummingbird feeds from a red-flowering currant on Whidbey Island. Photo by Martha Ellis
Native plant habitat a wild bird’s best friend

Spring couldn’t come soon enough this year, not for just the birds, but for the nature enthusiasts.

Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record
Rolands Abermanis, owner of Freeland business SPUNKS, loads a box of pumpkin seeds for delivery. The business is hoping to move production to Whidbey soon.
Sowing success

Pumpkin seeds with a kick

Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group
Christopher Baldwin, owner of Island Time Coffee Company, arranges a display in Payless Foods.
New business perks up South Whidbey shelves

Three new blends of coffee are available in stores.