Peninsula Art League hosts festival filled with art

Looking for something to do outside in the summer weather? Spend the weekend outside at the 23rd Annual Gig Harbor Summer Arts Festival. The festival is July 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and July 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Judson Street in Gig Harbor.

The Arts Festival is sponsored by Key Bank and hosted by the Peninsula Arts League. The proceeds of the festival will go to art scholarships for artists and students.

"We are interested in support for art in the community," said Carol Valstyn, Peninsula Art League President and Gig Harbor Summer Arts Festival chairman.

The festival will feature 150 artists from all over the country who will have their work on display and available for purchase. Photography, woodworking, textiles, jewelry and even ironwork are just some of the art forms on display at the festival.

"More and more people are coming from the Northwestern states," noted Valstyn. "It's becoming more well-known."

All of the artists participating in the festival first went through a screening process, which consisted of six jurors; three jurors are members of the Peninsula Art League and three are artists, gallery owners, etc. The jurors judge the artwork submitted and select the participants.

"We screen the artists every year to make sure all the work featured is top-quality," explained Valstyn.

In addition to art in a variety of forms, there will also be food and entertainment, including live music from Paul Elliot, Phillip Boulding and Tammy Nilson. There will be face painting and other events for children to enjoy, and food booths will provide everyone with a variety of different kinds of food and drink.

The Sunday of the festival also is the opening of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. However, Valstyn does not believe that will reduce attendance at the arts festival.

"It may draw more people into town," Valstyn commented. "At the bridge, people can get a passport and it has a stamp for the festival. If people come and get it stamped, they have the chance to win a piece of artwork. I think it's going to be a win-win for the festival and the bridge."

The festival is taking place on Judson Street in downtown Gig Harbor. A park-and-ride located on Kimball Street is available parking, and a free shuttle will run from the park-and-ride to the festival.

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