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82 local artists dip into dragon boat waters for inspiration for group exhibit



COURTESY IMAGE - An Amy McLain print is one of many pieces of dragon boat-themed art in 'Fire on the Water,' through Aug. 30 at Antoinette Hatfield Hall.Southeast Portland artist Alea Bone has curated what she thinks may be the first-of-its-kind dragon boat art exhibit in the world.

“Fire on the Water" — a Rose Festival-sanctioned event now showing at the Portland Center for Performing Arts — features the dragon boat-inspired work of 82 local artists.

That’s bigger than the show last year, which showed 75 artists and brought more sales than any other show at PCPA, Bone says — a huge testament to the popularity of the dragon boat culture here and across the globe.

This year she hopes to double the show’s sales, which she’s promoting through social media and in person to dragon boat teams and Rose Festival-goers at this weekend’s Dragon Boat Races.

“I don’t think anybody else across the world is doing dragon boat art,” says Bone, 49, who's paddled for the past four years with the women’s team Dragon Rose. “I haven’t made an international sale yet, but will be excited when I do. There are teams in Australia, China, Iran; a team I’m following on Instagram, the women all wear their burkas on the boat.”

The idea for the exhibit came serendipitously, two years ago at Bone's neighborhood coffee shop — First Cup in Woodstock — which is also owned by a dragon boat racer.

“I was booked to show my art at the coffee shop … it was May, race season," Bone recalls. "I wasn’t ready, didn’t have art to hang. I asked my friends, said ‘Hey, let’s make dragon boat art.’”

She gathered eight artists’ works that year, and buoyed by the success, vowed to do it again, bigger and better.

The next year she secured the PCPA and brought the community together to make it a Rose Festival-sanctioned event.

Bone is a mixed-media artist; last year she made a 40-inch dragon painted on wood with a body made of bottle caps.

Her teammate this year painted a paddle with cityscape on it, and it sold at the First Thursday opening on June 2.

This year’s show will run through August, and includes soil paintings, acrylic, water color, pen and ink, encaustic, mixed-media, batik, wood burning, wood carving, ceramics, assemblage and photography by well-known and emerging artists.

To Bone, it's the intersection of both of her passions. Being on a dragon boat team "has been very profound for me," she says. "I love the whole idea of working together for a common goal."

The details of the show: “Fire on the Water,” Antoinette Hatfield Hall, 1111 S.W. Broadway, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and evenings and weekends during performances, through Aug. 30, www.portland5.com/news/fire-water-dragon-boat-

art-show.

@jenmomanderson

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