Langley artist is first woman in group | NOTABLE

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  • Thursday, March 22, 2012 12:42pm
  • News

Painter Cary Jurriaans walks her dogs at a Whidbey area beach. The artist became the first woman accepted to the Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters in 80 years.

Reversing an 80 year history as a male-only fraternity, the Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters (PSGNWP) has admitted artist Cary Jurriaans of Langley as its first woman member. Jurriaans owns and operates the Whidbey Island Fine Arts Studio (WIFAS) in Langley.

At its annual meeting in December the group voted to eliminate a male gender requirement in its bylaws in order to allow highly-qualified women artists to apply for membership. More than 80 percent of the members present at the meeting voted for the change. Jurriaans was the first woman to apply.

“This is a historic step,” said president Ted Pankowski.

“Women have always played a major role in the arts, including membership in our forerunner organization, the Seattle Palette Club in 1928. When the women decided to go their own way they formed the prestigious Women Painters of Washington in 1930 leaving our group a de facto fraternity. Until now, all of our members were men. But times have changed and in addition to a historic fellowship, we can now look forward to new associations with women artists within the group,” Pankowski added.

When asked what prompted her application to the position, Jurriaans said she was spurred by fellow artists.

“My friend Gordon Edberg, artist and retired architect here on Whidbey, sponsored me,” Jurriaans said.

Also, she said she liked the ethic of the group.

Puget Sound Group members exhibit excellence constantly in their work, in their enthusiasm, in their eagerness to mentor, and in their contributions to the art community,” Jurriaans said.

“The age old ethic ‘if it is worth doing it is worth doing well’ is alive and held in stewardship for future artist members and those supported by the generous contributions of this group,” she said.

Also, she loves the group’s gallery at the design center.

The Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters was founded in Seattle in 1932.

“I think our founders would approve of this change,” Pankowski said.

“Above all, they were committed to furthering the arts in the Pacific Northwest. With her personal credentials as an artist and her contributions to the art community, Cary Jurriaans thoroughly exemplifies this commitment. We look forward to welcoming her and additional members like her.”

For her part, Jurriaans already has ideas for the group, including some good networking strategies and perhaps a bar at the meetings.

“I have often teased some of them about not having women in their group, but I know a lot of very nice men in this group; the guys are easy going, and my husband will enjoy accompanying me to the meetings,” she said.

“I need to work on myself as an artist and joining a supportive group makes a lot of difference.”

Find out more about the art of Jurriaans at


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