After Washougal artist Angela Ridgway moved to California over the summer of 2020, the Washougal Studio Artists Tour faced an uncertain future. Local creators questioned whether the annual event, which Ridgway founded in 2018, could continue without her unique blend of altruistic spirit and organizational skill.
“Nobody stepped up to the plate. Nobody was willing to take it on,” said Washougal glass artist Shirley Bishop, who has participated in the event every year since its inception. “Angela was a super-organized, detailed person, and I think she scared a lot of people, like, ‘Oh, I’m not taking that on. That’s way too much.'”
But Bishop didn’t let it go that easily. She eventually concluded that she loved the event too much just to sit back and watch it perish, and if nobody else wanted to take it on, she would. She called Ridgway and said, “I don’t know if I can live up to the expectations or fill your shoes in any way, shape or form, but I really don’t want to let this die.'”
Thanks to Bishop’s efforts, the event is still very much alive. The fourth annual tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 8-9, with 15 artists displaying their work at eight locations.
“I’m really excited to have it happen,” said Washougal resident Kathy Marty, who will be showing her handwoven rugs during the event. “I joined in 2019, and it was such a wonderful experience. I just loved having people come to my place. It was fun letting people see (my) process and taking my time to visit with people. It was great to meet some neighbors and people in the area, some of whom I knew, but (also) a lot of new folks. It just felt like such a lovely social gathering.”