Enrichment through art

Anna Wiancko-Chasman believes art includes both personal satisfaction and responsibility

Previous Next

Anna Wiancko-Chasman can be reached at annawc@olypen.com or 477-5381. Her work can be viewed at www.freshwaterbayarts.com.

Anna Wiancko-Chasman can be reached at annawc@olypen.com or 477-5381. Her work can be viewed at www.freshwaterbayarts.com.

From the time she was a young child growing up in rural California, Anna Wiancko-Chasman has loved art.

“I grew up with no TV on the end of a dead end street,” she said. “I was always outside.”

It’s likely that early adventuring instilled a love for nature and animals, which are prominently featured in her work several decades later.

“Much of my work reflects that passion, whether it is a sculpture of a shore bird or salmon, or a mixed media painting of our forests and streams,” Wiancko-Chasman said.

The Washougal artist was recently featured in the Camas Gallery.

“I really like the feel of that gallery and I have a good relationship with the owners,” she said. “It was just a good fit. I like to stay local whenever possible.”

Marquita Call, gallery co-owner, noted that Wiancko-Chasman’s style of work is what many customers are looking for when they come in to shop.

“She’s edgy,” Call said. “People like art that is unique and enjoy switching things up. She is also extraordinarily talented.”

Wiancko-Chasman has also had her work featured at several galleries along the coast while living there. These include Harbor Arts, the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center and RiverSea Gallery in Astoria.

This month, she is featured in a group show at the Gaurdino Gallery in Portland.

Wiancko-Chasman frequently works in clay, mixed media and found objects to create unique sculptures and assemblages. She also dabbles in 2-D, acrylics, collage and watercolor.

Her home studio contains an array of driftwood, pinecones and sticks she’s collected, and other objects found here and there.

“It’s a joy putting all of the these pieces together,” she said. “I love finding bits and pieces of things and wondering where it all fits in. There’s an element of creativity that’s bigger than art. I am inspired by the miracle that this planet is and by the life here.”

When asked to describe her favorite medium, she paused and then began laughing.

“I love mixing all the elements together. I get so excited about it. I also love humor in art. I try to speak out about critical and difficult issues facing people and the planet, but also balance this with art that is whimsical and humorous.”

In addition to creating artwork in her home studio along the Washougal River, Wiancko-Chasman teaches classes in clay and mixed media to adults and children. She is also an art therapist and art therapy supervisor, who earned her master’s degree in the subject following the loss of her daughter to cancer at the age of 16.

“I had to make some meaning out of her death for myself,” Wiancko-Chasman said. “It’s always with you, but when you process it, you’re better equipped to help others, especially children. Art helps them get out the feelings they may not be able to talk about out loud.”

She approached Hospice of Portland while still in school to see what they thought of the idea of having an art therapist.

From there, it turned into a new profession, one she held for five years. Wiancko-Chasman also worked for the Dougy Center until moving to Port Angeles in the late 1990s. There, she set up a private practice, specializing in grief and loss. She hopes to continue her work in Washougal.

“I believe my own experience and the experience of helping others through such difficult and challenging times have enriched my own personal growth and expression, and given me an understanding of deep human connections,” she said. “Even if someone is not involved in art therapy, just the process of making art can have a deep healing impact on the artist.”

Please review our community guidelines