Artists are known to be a little quirky; it is a characteristic of their artistic expression. And they are known for being sensitive souls, so it should come as no surprise that West Linn artists Jan Rimerman and Dave Haslett are passionate about turtles, and are hosting a benefit art show and sale to fund the new Western pond turtle habitat at The Wetland Concervancy's Nyberg Wetlands Preserve in Tualatin.
The couple invite the public to attend "Rock … Paper … Turtle … Art for Wetlands," from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. May 6 and 7 at their studio, located at 3151 Cottonwood Court in West Linn.
"Dave and I are trying to make a difference in the lives of Western pond turtles," Rimerman said. "We are full steam ahead with our project."
Rimerman says she has loved turtles since she was a child, and she cannot remember a time when she didn't have a turtle as a pet.
"My sister gave me a rescue box turtle from Pacific Lutheran University's science department. I named him Neptune, and he was my little buddy through thick and thin for 33 years. He died about six years ago, and I still miss him. He was my muse."
She named her art studio Neptune Studio in his honor.
Over the years, Rimerman has been given other turtles; some from art students who moved on to college.
"When you have a pet that lives 50 years, and you can't take it to college and your parents don't want it, you have to find someone who will take care of it," Rimerman said. "I gained new turtles that way."
She currently has five turtles living in the turtlearium Haslett built in their studio, including Barshynikov, a friendly Russian tortoise, and other varieties.
The plight of Western pond turtles pulled the artists' heartstrings when they watched a PBS documentary. The turtles are listed as an endangered species in Washington State and as a threatened species in Oregon. Protection efforts are minimal as funding is extremely limited. Rimerman said turtles are impacted by pollution, shrinking habitat and humans who don't understand the situation.
"We wanted to do something that was positive, and something that would make a difference," Rimerman said. "We wanted to help these creatures who can't help themselves."
Through friends the couple learned about the new Western pond turtle habitat at The Wetland Conservancy's Nyberg Wetlands Preserve in Tualatin, and knew they had found the right cause to put their energy behind.
And through more friends, the benefit event has grown into a full weekend of activities, a silent auction, art sale with music, food and fun for all attending.
Haslett, a stone sculptor, will exhibit his art and Rimerman will present her water and rock paintings. Nature photographer Larry Olson is including his art in the sale and auction, and ceramicist Candace Wilson has created special turtle pins for the event. More and more artists are contributing art for the sale and auction, and guitarist Maria Olaya will play during the event. And Nat Willing will offer tango dance lessons in the silent auction.
What started as a simple open house and studio show has grown into the art community banding together to better the environment and protect the Western pond turtle.
Rimerman said 25 percent of the art sales will be donated to the Western pond turtle habitat project.
"Rock … Paper … Turtle … Art for Wetlands" takes place from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. May 6 and 7 at Neptune Studio, located at 3151 Cottonwood Court in West Linn. Rimerman says the turtles will be present at the studio.
"Baryshnivok is our greeter at the studio," she said.
Admission is free. Learn more online at janrimerman.com.