Newly formed Clark County Arts Commission includes two local residents

Donna Roberge Nozel and Martha Martin represent C-W area

A former Port of Camas-Washougal commissioner and an opera singer are among the members of a new Clark County Arts Commission.

Donna Roberge Nozel and Martha Martin have been appointed by the Clark County Commission to serve four-year terms.

Nozel, a port commissioner from 1998 through 2000, describes herself as “a total amateur in oil painting and photography,” as well as “a true opera lover but not a singer.”

She said her goal as an arts commission member is to support arts and artists with grants and other funding sources.

“We want to find ways to increase the opportunities for citizens to experience art,” Nozel said. “I personally am very interested in seeking and identifying our young artists in the Camas schools. My dream is to someday set up an arts scholarship fund for young student artists.

“Our commission is dedicated to develop numerous ways to enhance and promote awareness of art in all its various forms throughout our respective communities,” she added.

Nozel is a sociology professor emeritus at Clark College, where she serves on the alumni board. She is also a board member for the Camas Library Friends and Foundation, Vancouver Children’s Opera and Columbia River Mental Health Foundation.

Martin, a Washougal psychologist, has a bachelor’s degree in vocal music performance from the University of Washington.

She participated in the university’s opera series, with a performance of “The Queen of the Night,” from Mozart’s “Magic Flute.”

Martin’s musical background also includes taking 10 years of piano instruction, starting at the age of 8. She describes herself as an avid photographer, who won several prizes at the Clark County Fair in the early 1980’s.

Martin said she would like to see a coordinated effort to recognize local artists and give them more opportunities to develop in the community and have Washougal recognized as a city that supports and utilizes a variety of arts.

That includes music, writing, painting, photography, dance, theater, pottery, quilting, knitting, glassworks and graphic arts.

“So many businesses are part of the arts, that economic development and the arts are intertwined,” Martin said. “Printers, arts supplies, fabric and yarn sales, costumes, music education, stonework supplies, photo labs and supplies, publishing, space rentals and sales of art work are a few examples. I want Washougal to recognize that this can be a vital part of their plan to improve the local economy, as well as add to the quality of life.”

Other members of the Clark County Arts Commission include Amy Chase (La Center), Elizabeth Holmes (business), Linda Kliewer (Battle Ground), Pat LaCroix (Yacolt), Melinda Leuthold (Woodland), Elizabeth Madrigal (Ridgefield), Lewellyn Rhoe (Vancouver), Erin Stromme (arts education) and Commission Chair Laurel Whitehurst (Clark County).

Whitehurst has formed Arts of Clark County, a 501(c)3 non-profit that will raise funds to be used by the arts commission. As a board member of the Arts of Clark County, Geoff Walker, of Camas, will assist in fund raising.

The Clark County Arts Commission will meet Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 6:30 p.m., in the sixth floor training room of the County Building, 1300 Franklin St., Vancouver. The meeting is open to the public.

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