Festival paints fun weekend for North End

 - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

PORT GAMBLE — Residents and visitors were dazzled by brilliant colors and all forms of artistry during the 48th annual Kitsap Arts & Crafts Festival in Port Gamble that infused the historical mill town with color and creativity this past weekend.

Several of the historical buildings, including the Walker Ames House and the Masonic Lodge, served as makeshift galleries during the event, housing sculptures, photographs, paintings and drawings that were a part of the open and juried art shows. They ranged between different mediums, from giant carved snail shells to a bright green glass cast of a woman’s head to pictures of typewriters and everything in between.

“We just love seeing all the different art,” said Port Townsend resident Connie Voigt. “It’s wonderful, and everyone is having such a good time.”

“The setup is great,” added Port Townsend resident MaryAnn Leiper. “There are so many wonderful things to see here.”

The festival drew thousands of people to Port Gamble, but served a larger purpose — to provide scholarships and continued support for local art students while they are in college. The Kitsap Arts & Crafts organization has been helping further the study of art since 1988, and has assisted 41 students since. Though the group changed its name from North Kitsap Arts & Crafts to its current manifestation, its purpose hasn’t altered.

This year, Kitsap Arts & Crafts is supporting three students, North Kitsap High School graduate Alicia Finch, NKHS graduate Chandra Watking and West Sound Academy graduate Amelia Rose Thomas, with $2,000 scholarships each. The group is also providing $10,000 to renew previous scholarships. All of the funding comes from festival proceeds.

The festival provided not only funding for students, but fun for all who attended. Activities of all kinds stretched out over Port Gamble, from children’s crafts to hometown bands providing music, adding a county fair feeling to the celebration. Vendors were also on hand with their own art and crafts for sale, enticing visitors and shoppers alike.

“I think the setting is just amazing, a really pretty place,” said Dancing Spirit Studio owner Danna Watson. “With the water, the park, the trees, the view. It’s just amazing.”

She was selling animals and fairies at her booth, bringing mainly her stock of party dolls from her Bainbridge Island studio. Watson said the bright costumes and the funny faces helped capture the attention of passersby, and she really enjoyed talking with visitors.

“It’s great, and yes, we’ve seen lots of interesting things so far,” said Poulsbo resident Patricia Leigh.

“There are so many talented artists here, it’s just great,” added Silverdale resident Joan Belt. “We’re just enjoying the exhibits and the people and the location and the food. We haven’t actually gotten to the food yet, but we will.”

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