Art As A Voice



Contemporary glass artist, Raven Skyriver will wrap up the end of the First Nation exhibition at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art on Monday, September 4.

His gallery talk at 4 p.m. on Labor Day will be the grand finale of this exceptional show. In celebration of the exhibition and talk, the entry fee will be suspended from 3:30 until 6 that day.

Raven’s glass creations are included in EMERGENCE Legendary & Emerging First Nation Artists at SJIMA. Raven will follow his gallery walk with a presentation of his work in the museum’s upstairs

Talking about the inspiration for his work Raven, of the Tlingit tribe, states, “Some of my most memorable moments in life are those of having my first salmon on the line, or a humpback whale feeding off the bow of my kayak. These unforgettable experiences dictate the work I make today.



Moon by Rande Cook


Breath of Life

Featuring artist and Kwakwaka’wak chief, Rande Cook

Sunday, July 23, 1:00-2:30 p.m. at Brickworks (150 Nichols St.), SJIMA is delighted to present Breathe of Life, an Art As A Voice event with artist and Kwakwaka’ wak chief, Rande Cook.  Rande will talk about his work and inspiration.  He honors his Kwakwaka’ wak legends and culture, but is also one of the artists pushing the limits of contemporary First Nation art. 

Tickets are available at SJIMA at 540 Spring Street or call 360-370-5050.  Non-members $20., members $18., students and children $12.

SJIMA is honored to present in all three galleries its first exhibition devoted to First Nation art opening May 26.  “EMERGENCE First Nation Legendary & Emerging Artists” features members of tribes within the Coastal Pacific Northwest and Inuit from the Hudson Bay area.  Over 30 artists are represented from at least five different outstanding collections. 

SJIMA will be having workshops and other educational events over the summer, check for up to date information.


“Crossing Borders

Dianne Kornberg and poet, Elisabeth Frost will be presenting a series of slide talks on Lopez, San Juan and Orcas Islands during the month of October.  Kornberg’s work with Frost is featured in the solo exhibition, For All We Know, at SJIMA.  Kornberg, an Obstruction Island resident, collaborates with Frost to make photo-based digital prints that incorporate poetic text.

In For All We Know, Kornberg relies on her knowledge of the conventions of scientific collection, preservation, and notation to create fictional specimen pages.  “These works both honor and question the creation of knowledge, employing visual allusions and poetic text to create alternate ways of understanding the ‘evidence’ before us,” says Kornberg.  Both women have held artist residencies in the Whiteley Center untitledat the Friday Harbor Laboratories where Kornberg made some of the photographs used in the exhibition.  What is Left, is a meditation on dying and grief, is a singular piece in the exhibition.  “It moves between the abstract and the concrete, in both image and text, to explore the charged and disorienting experience of grief,” says Frost. 

Dianne Kornberg has been exhibiting her artwork nationally and internationally for more than three decades.   Her work is in several important museum collections, including the Princeton University Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Seattle Art Museum, and many more.  She is a professor emerita at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon.

Elisabeth Frost is the author of  All of Us: Poems (White Pine), The Feminist Avant-Guarde in American Poetry (Iowa), Bindle (collaborations with artist Dianne Kornberg, Rocochet Editions), and the chapbooks A Theory of the Vowel (Red Glass Books).   She is Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Fordham University.

Friday, October 7 at 7 pm at Lopez Library, Lopez Island [ by donation]
Thursday, October 13 at 7 pm at SJIMA – 540 Spring Street, Friday Harbor [by donation]
Friday, October 14 at 7 pm at Episcopal Parish Hall – 242 Main Street, Eastsound, Orcas Island [by donation]

*All proceeds support SJIMA.



“Fractured Landscapes, Fraught Aesthetics”

nicole-pietrantoniNicole utilizes printmaking to question what most take for granted, adding an artistic voice to forms otherwise expressed in purely scientific terms.  She will discuss the challenges of making art about the environment in the face of climate change.   Following the discussion will be a Gallery Talk and book signing. 

Nicole will present at SJIMA on Saturday, September 17 at 10 a.m.  The cost is by donation.  All proceeds will go to SJIMA. 



“A River of Migration”
A presentation by multi-media and multi-cultural artist, Gu Xiong

Gu XiongGu Xiong juxtaposes his personal journey of migration from China to Canada with that of the salmon in his talk at the San Juan Community Theatre on August 3, 7:30PM. Tickets are available online, at the museum, or at the door. TICKETS: Members $12, Non-members $15, Students $8.


Gu Xiong’s work addresses the idea of changing identities with attention to globalization, culture, and the environment. He is a distinguished voice on the topic of Chinese diaspora and the integration of multiple cultural histories in the formation of human identity.

A world renowned artist, Gu Xiong has exhibited his work in over forty solo exhibitions from Venice to Montréal to Beijing, completed three public art commissions, including Safeco Field, and been included in the China National Museum of Fine Arts and the National Gallery of Canada. His artwork has been exhibited on four continents and received glowing reviews from The New York Times, Art in America, and other important publications. He is currently a professor in the Department of Art History, Visual Art, and Theory at the University of British Columbia.

Alasdair Turner


“Antarctica: Ross Island and the Future of the McMurdo Sound Region”

A multimedia presentation by documentary and adventure photographer 

 Friday Harbor, WA: Join photographer Alasdair Turner for an exploration of Antarctica’s McMurdo Sound Region at BRICKWORKS, June 30, at 7:30 P.M. Tickets are available online, at the museum or at the door. TICKETS: Members $12, Non-members $15, Students $8.

Purchase Ticket »

From vast ice to the historic huts left behind by Scott and Shackleton to today’s sprawling base of buildings that make up the US McMurdo Station. 

This is a photographic tour of an area unreachable to all but a handful of the world’s population, many of whom return year after year for research. Learn about the fragile ecosystems that make up the southernmost part of the Ross Sea and the science that is being done to understand them, while enjoying this provoking and stark photographic experience. Gain an insight into the changes taking place due to climate change and why sea ice in the area is actually increasing.  

Alasdair Turner is a Seattle-based adventure and documentary photographer who has worked for the US Antarctic Program for the last four seasons. In his field safety role he has traveled to many remote areas of McMurdo Sound with geologists, biologists, and astrophysicists. His work tells the story of scientific research in Antarctica through a lens imbued with stunning photographic imagery, big picture explanations, and even a little humor.  


Fritz Dreisbach, The Johnny Appleseed of Glass, to speak at IMA

Fritz Dreisbach, The Johnny Appleseed of Glass, to speak at SJIMA

“How It Really Started: An Anecdotal Account of the Early Years of American Studio Glass”

San Juan Islands Museum of Art is proud to offer a fun night with Fritz Dreisbach, called “the Johnny Appleseed of glass” by his peers. Dreisbach presents Where Were You in ’62? How It Really Started: An Anecdotal Account of the Early Years of American Studio Glass as part of the SJIMA Art as a Voice Lecture Series. Dreisbach’s playful take on glass blowing and his longtime affiliation with the Glass Art Society bring a fun and unique perspective to the history of modern glass art in the Pacific Northwest. 

Fritz Dreisbach, always a significant presence on the Seattle glass scene, now lives and works in Freeland, Washington, on Whidbey Island. As an independent artist, he is developing a new series of wheel-carved and cameo-cut glasses, in addition to his singular show pieces: playful goblets, trick glasses, toy vehicles, and “Mongos.” Combining his two loves of glass and travel, Fritz continues to make art, consult for glass factories, teach workshops, and present lectures around the world. 

Dreisbach was invited as artist-in-residence at the Tacoma Glass Museum in June, 2008. The Toledo Museum of Art chose him to celebrate the opening of their new Glass Pavilion in August, 2006, and awarded him their first “Guest Artist Pavilion Project” position the same year. 

In 2002, Amsterdam, the Glass Art Society presented Dreisbach its highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, for his “unique and significant contributions to the world of glass.” He was awarded the 1993 Corning Glass Museum’s Rakow Commission and elected a Fellow of the American Crafts Council in 1988. 

Coined the “Johnny Appleseed of Glass” by his peers, Fritz has presented hundreds of lectures and demonstrations in over 180 institutions the past 48 years in North America, Europe and Asia. His glass is represented in numerous global public and private collections, including Corning, Hsinchu, Kamenicky Senov, Smithsonian and Toledo.



Ansel Adams in Yosemite — Photograph by Dedric Wright 1946

Ansel Adams in Yosemite — Photograph by Dedric Wright 1946

On Friday, January 30, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. at the San Juan Community Theatre, we are hosting Dr. Michael Adams, son of Ansel Adams, for a lecture and Powerpoint presentation on the personal and artistic life of his famous father. Adams talk will cover Ansel’s early years, environmental activities, trips to the Southwest and Ansel’s feelings toward photography.

Arguably the most famous American photographer, Adams elevated photography to a high art form while simultaneously making it accessible to all. His photos are widely reproduced today and are some of the most recognizable in the world. Ansel’s clear black and white photos, particularly those of Yosemite, were able to capture the raw emotion of the landscape. “Ansel Adams”, wrote John Szorkowski of the New York Museum of Modern Art, “attuned himself more precisely than any photographer before him to a visual understanding of the specific quality of the light that fell on a specific place at a specific moment. For Adams the natural landscape is not a fixed and solid sculpture but an insubstantial image, as transient as the light that continually redefines it. This sensibility to the specificity of light was the motive that forced Adams to develop his legendary photographic technique.”

A passionate conservationist, Adams deployed his photographs in the cause of wilderness preservation and was instrumental in having Sequoia and Kings Canyon designated as national parks.

In 1980, Ansel Adams was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Dr. Michael Adams is retired Major General of the United States Air Force and Deputy Surgeon General for Air National Guard Affairs. Dr. Adams also has the distinction of being the physician to our astronauts. He will be accompanied by his wife, Jeanne Falk Adams.


“Reawakening the Renaissance”

Incident at Waterloo by Kurt Wenner

Incident at Waterloo by Kurt Wenner

3D pavement art by Kurt WennerSpend an afternoon with world-renowned artist and inventor of 3D pavement art Kurt Wenner, as he recounts a fascinating journey that started in Rome and took him around the world. Wenner’s studies of the European classical tradition found it to be a language of form with ancient roots that is still a valid vehicle for artistic expression. His studies and works include drawings, paintings, sculpture, architecture, and decorative arts; as well as innovative contemporary media.

“Buried Brilliance – The Lost Language of Classical Design”

European art has left a mountain of astounding masterpieces in painting, sculpture, and architecture, but today it is often a mystery as to how these feats of human expression were accomplished. Kurt Wenner will demonstrate the structural nature of classical design and drawing; with live drawing demonstrations of geometry, proportion, and a figure study from Michelangelo. He will show how the classical tradition is not a style, but an actual language of form based on a profound knowledge and appreciation of the physical universe. An image by Michelangelo will be projected and accompanied by a live feed camera on Wenner’s hand as he demonstrates how the Old Masters created their work.

Proceeds benefit the San Juan Islands Museum of Art and Spring Street International School.

Kurt Wenner is an international master artist who interprets Renaissance classicism with a thoroughly singular voice. Unlike any other contemporary talent, Wenner fuses the genius of the past and twenty-first century imagination with stunning originality. A firm believer in arts education, Wenner has taught more than a hundred thousand children over a 10-year period, and received the Kennedy Center Medallion in recognition of his outstanding contribution to arts education. He has lectured at corporate events and conducted seminars and workshops for organizations ranging from the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institution to Disney Studios, Warner Bros. Studios, Toyota, and General Motors.




Shaun Peterson lectures throughout the United States and Canada on the creative process and cultural relevance, as he did here in San Juan Island at the San Juan Community Theatre when he kicked off the SJIMA “Art as a Voice” lecture series.

SJIMA chose Peterson to open the museum for its 2009 summer and fall seasons in large part because of the deep connection the SJIMA board has with Shaun Peterson and his work. Peterson’s strong relationship with Coast Salish art was recognized by the board several years ago when they first launched the Art as a Voice program. The lectures, held free to the public at the San Juan Island Community theatre, were introduced to the San Juan Islands communities by Peterson, a Native American artist  knowledgeable about the diverse tribal styles and applications, yet contemporary in spirit, style, and technique.

Peterson’s focus and expertise is on the art of the Southern regions that encompass the many tribes of Western Washington and Southern British Columbia known as Salish territory. San Juan Island is a part of this territory.

An active member of the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Coast Art, he participates in many group exhibitions throughout the region, as time permits between installations, private commissions and permanent work similar to the “Welcome Figure Project” in Tacoma. The SJIMA board and advisors are very enthusiastic to have this exhibition of Peterson’s print work at this time.

Peterson founded the Qwalsius Studios in 1999, originally under the name Salish Print, when he was primarily a printmaker. Since that time he has branched out into many different artistic expressions including wood, metal and glass sculpture, digital media, and writing. All of Peterson’s work comes from one passion, to create and educate the public about Coast Salish art and in the process instill pride in the Native communities, that their past and present art is a rich and beautiful gift that should be recognized and celebrated by all.



James Hubbell

SJIMA brings international artist and organic architect James Hubbell to the San Juan Islands communities for the Art as a Voice lecture series presentation at the Community Theatre.

Artist and visionary James Hubbell has developed projects all over the world for more than 40 years, creating places that heal the soul and renew the spirit. He is the founder and principal of the Ilan Lael Foundation, whose mission is to integrate nature-centered art and architecture in environmentally friendly private and public spaces. He has worked throughout the United States and internationally in developing projects that harmonize the beauty of art with the functionality of architecture.

Returning from a current project in the Philippine Islands in time for this visit with us on San Juan Island is exciting for SJIMA. The Museum Board of Directors is thrilled to host Hubbell at the Community Theatre on Friday, September 4, 2009, where he will share his comprehensive organic design approach resulting in truly memorable works of thoughtful, artful architecture. The Art as a Voice lecture series at the Community Theatre continues to bring to San Juan Island international and influential persons who inspire, like James Hubbell. A reception with the artist follows the visual presentation, which is free to the public. At the last Art as a Voice theatre event we ran out of space, so plan now to come early to reserve your space for this wonderful evening.

At this evening event, Hubbell will share how he seeks to integrate the arts, nature and beauty into the life of individuals and communities through work in sculpture, stained glass, and watercolor. He has inspired artists and others toward community activism in creating organic solutions, and has requested that SJIMA set up sessions on San Juan Island for him to meet with artists and community members who are interested in creating beauty, renewing spirits, and providing places and spaces that celebrate life. His emphasis has always been upon the promotion of environmental issues with an emphasis on sustainable building materials, so Island contractors and builders will find Hubbell stimulating, as well as artists and architects. The Pacific Portal at Shelter Island developed in partnership with the Port of San Diego and Point Loma Rotary Club, as well as the Coronado City Hall and Community Center Fountain and the Crestridge Econogical Preserve near El Cajon, California are just three examples of his work with communities and artists and builders.

James has dedicated his life to working toward world understanding. He began with architectural students from Mexico and the United States to create a park for what would become the first of many in what James refers to as his ΄Pearls of the Pacific Rim’. From this project, one architectural student from Mexico and six students from the United States went to Vladivostok Russia. Twelve Russian architectural students then designed and built an amazing community project and amphitheatre in 21 days. The next project took place in China with Mexican, US, Russian and Chinese architectural students. In May of this year, they all met in the Philippines to complete a Hubbell Project there. There is a plan for a project in North Korea and another in Perth, Australia.

In addition to this work, Hubbell has designed hundreds of commissions in glass, doors, sculptures, fountains, chapels, schools and parks and is probably best known for the Chapel at Sea Ranch California and the Doors of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Don’t miss opportunity to meet this gifted artist who advises students everywhere to remember that their, “First gift is intuition, and mystery is its glory!”



Art Wolfe

San Juan Islands Museum of Art presents ART WOLFE TRAVELS TO THE EDGE, an exhibition of works and BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH, an artist’s lecture. Opening Saturday March 13, 2010

“Art Wolfe is a virtuoso whose eye brings home, again and again, the absolute need to preserve what we have.” 
— Morgan Freeman

IMA opens Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge, an exhibition of photographs from the award winning American Public Broadcasting series of the same name. 

Art Wolfe’s images interpret and record the world’s fast-disappearing wildlife, landscapes and native cultures. Over the course of his 30 year career, he has worked on every continent and in hundreds of locations. He aims to win support for conservation issues by “focusing in what’s beautiful on the earth.” Wolfe has published over sixty books and received numerous awards. The 13-part public television series hosted by Wolfe, Travels to the Edge, has been broadcast around the world.

The lecture is part of SJIMA’s ongoing series Art as a Voice. A multi-media photography adventure, this presentation centers on the Himalaya region and reflects Wolfe’s most personal statement to date. It begins with a brief look back at the history and events in Wolfe’s formative years that triggered his imagination and wonder towards a path of blending his creativity and art with photography while documenting the wild world.


“Stirring the Fire”

Yabelo, Ethiopia Rufo, Age 7 by Phil Borges

Yabelo, Ethiopia
Rufo, Age 7 by Phil Borges

On March 6, photographer and human rights activist Phil Borges gave a multimedia presentation and book signing at the San Juan Community Theatre.

SJIMA, the Islands Museum of Art, is hosting Phil Borges’ lecture/ multimedia presentation, Stirring the Fire: a global movement to empower women and girls, as part of its Art as a Voice series at the San Juan Community Theatre.

Borges’ photography serves as a call to action and celebration of the women and girls—mostly in developing countries—who have broken through barriers of tradition and oppression to become catalysts for change in their communities. Their stories shed light on specific gender issues worldwide while revealing practical pathways for women and girls to achieve gender equality.

Empowering women has been found to be the most effective strategy for addressing poverty and building stability in the developing world. In July 2010, the UN showed its support of this concept by creating the first UN entity dedicated exclusively to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Phil Borges was selected to photograph and document the projects of UN Women worldwide. This achievement only further legitimizes a growing conviction that the world’s women deserve the world’s attention, and investing in women is a key to solving some of the greatest global challenges we face.