Double, double, toil and trouble. That’s what’s brewing on First Street in Langley this month as a barrage of broomsticks poise for flight and the “Witches of Whidbey” art show enchants the Flying Bear Farm storefront.
More than a dozen colorful broomsticks at Boy and Dog Park are keeping the crows and Georgia Gerber statues company in the bewitching nights leading up to Halloween, while just across the street, a budding new artist unveils a bewitching collection of magical females with witchy inclinations.
Eighteen-year-old Grace Webb, a South Whidbey resident of 10-plus years, showcases the “Witches of Whidbey” through the end of October in what happens to be her first-ever original art show. Melissa Brown, owner of the Flying Bear Farm & Design storefront hosting the paintings, pointed out that every piece in the collection has some kind of connection to nature, magic and the human story.
Greek gods and goddesses often serve as inspiration, and Webb can recite (and paint) their stories with a familiar and modern take, according to Brown. As she moves into adulthood, the artist is motivated to make art her livelihood through visual arts and acting, noting the island’s impact on that decision.
“I’ve always been supported with any creative endeavors I’ve taken,” Webb said, “and growing up on a place like Whidbey, it’s hard not to be an artist. The things that inspire me most are the magical women I’m surrounded by, and the women in mythology who continue to tell important truths to this day.”
She also stated that she wouldn’t be the artist or person she is without the sense of community Whidbey brings.
“The amazing thing about a small town and community is that they want you to succeed,” Webb said. “I feel like everyone in the city moves so fast, but here we take a minute to help each other.”
Webb is also learning floral design at Flying Bear, which is the storefront for Flying Bear Farm, supplier of the plethora of seasonal flowers servicing the shop and its design services.
Now celebrating the shop’s two-year anniversary on First Street in Langley, Brown commissioned an eye-popping outdoor mural by artist Max Cole-Takanikos, which blends with the eclectic “book art” installation by Moonraker Books next door.
“I asked Max to design a botanical mural to breathe life and unexpected awesomeness into the back entry of our business as a joyful and artful addition to our community,” Brown said. “His design has always been the perfect combination of distinct graphic punch with natural, botanical flow, which I love.”
Cole-Takanikos and his fiance, Natasha Nichols, a fellow artist who creates hair florals and styled photoshoots at Flying Bear, will be launching their own design studio in South Whidbey in the near future. They both grew up on Whidbey and, after a stint in New York, have returned to launch their creative careers.
Brown invites the community to support the budding new artists by stopping by the “Witches of Whidbey” art show through the end of October. She also points out that, even though Flying Bear Farm is going to sleep for the winter, the storefront continues to provide blooms, pumpkins, dried botanicals and local greens all through the season, sourced from other growers in Washington, Oregon and California.
The broomstick art display is viewable at Boy and Dog Park at 170 1st Street in Langley, and the “Witches of Whidbey” show hangs inside the Flying Bear Farm storefront at 207 First Street.
To see the commemorative mural art, stroll the alley behind Flying Bear and Moonraker, which also connects to back entrances for the Star Store and Double-Bluff Brewing Company, home to Oktoberfest on Oct. 11 and 12.