Access to art

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category icon Editorials, Opinion

According to the Clark County Arts Commission, “The arts hold the power to inspire and enlighten. They influence the economy by creating jobs and ancillary services, stimulating tourism and raising tax revenues. The interdependence of artists supporting local businesses that have supported them is a win-win situation.”

With these kinds of benefits in mind, during the past several years Camas and Washougal in particular have seen a resurgence in public art — it’s become plentiful and available to all in the community who choose to embrace it. And enthusiastic local leaders have ambitious plans to add more.

In Washougal, walkers can spend time on the Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail, where interpretive art pieces ranging from frogs, dragonflies and birds to a mysterious door can be found along the way. There are also the “Earth,” and “Wind” sculptures, which are part of the Experience the Elements project, located at sites including at the pedestrian tunnel and Beaver Park.

Funds are currently being generated to purchase a bronze statue of Seaman, the Newfoundland dog that accompanied Lewis and Clark on their journey from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean and back.

In Camas, the Second Story Gallery for many years has been an active and vibrant showplace for locally and nationally recognized artists to display their work. In addition, downtown buildings have become the canvas for mural artists and a new bronze statue that is part of a developing art tour will be added at the end of the month.

These are just a few examples of what currently exists, and what is in store for residents of Camas and Washougal. It’s a slowly but steadily growing arts culture, with benefits on so many different levels, that is being embraced, celebrated and expanded.