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CAFN ready to show its stuff at Jewel Box

POULSBO — A new partnership over the Jewel Box Gallery has two local groups declaring that they’ve found a work of art in one another.

Starting in March, Poulsbo’s Cultural Arts Foundation Northwest will take over management of the local theatre’s gallery space. Members of both groups say the agreement will allow them to do what they do best, while enhancing Poulsbo’s non-profit community theatre.

“It’s really a win situation all around,” commented Jewel Box artistic director Sondra Ashton.

The Jewel Box has had a gallery space in its foyer and hallway since it opened three years ago. For two years, the gallery was open only during plays and special engagements at the theatre. Last year, the Poulsbo Players introduced viewing times during weekday afternoons, however, those hours recently had to be cut.

“When they pulled back from that, I think they realized they wanted someone else to manage the gallery for them,” CAFN board member Sandy Cross commented.

Ashton said the Poulsbo Players’ real passion is to create plays. While the gallery was an important part of their theatre, she said the players were beginning to feel stretched too thin between acting and managing artwork. That’s when they decided to contact the Poulsbo-based CAFN about helping out.

“We’d like to see the gallery become a more important part of the theatre, more of an entity of its own,” Ashton commented. “This just seemed like the perfect solution if they took over the management of the gallery. It would do what we wanted and leave us free to do what we do best and that’s plays.”

Locally, CAFN supports Arts by the Bay, which takes place in Poulsbo’s Waterfront Park in August, and Arts in the Woods, which takes place at studios across North Kitsap in November. The group was also instrumental in Poulsbo’s arts walks when they were taking place and had participated in a number of artist lecture series at the Jewel Box and across Kitsap County. Cross said foundation members are well acquainted with the Poulsbo Players and jumped at the idea of working at the gallery.

“It’s a beautiful place,” Cross said. “I’ve been here many times for plays and it always looks so nice.”

Besides being a boon for the Poulsbo Players, CAFN board member Jan Hurd said it is also a #great opportunity for the non-profit arts foundation. This marks the first time CAFN will be managing a permanent space where local mixed-media artists can showcase their work — the goal of CAFN’s other activities.

“The theatre group has been very helpful and generous with their space,” Hurd commented.

The gallery will be under CAFN’s management beginning with a show of Bainbridge Island photographer David Curren’s work that will coincide with “Pump Boys and Dinettes,” which plays March 19-April 17. All other showings at the gallery will coordinate with the Jewel Box’s usual six shows per year.

For now, the gallery will again only be open during plays and other events at the theatre but Cross said CAFN hopes to eventually open it a few other afternoons.

“That is the thought for down the road but definitely not for the rest of this season,” she commented. “We need time to get our system established but, of course, we’d like to because the more people come in, the better.”

Sidebox:

CAFN is currently looking for artists to fill out the last shows of the 2004 season and to begin building a schedule for 2005. Interested artists should contact Sandy Cross at (360) 779-1975 or gennesse@earthlink.net or Jan Hurd at (360) 779-9367 or janh@tscnet.com.

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