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St. Helens 'Artwalk' draws a crowd, but organizers seek improvement

Chamber organizers plan to revise activities, logistics for follow-up event later this month

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Lindsey King (right) shows 10-year-old Chloe Mosterdyke (center), how to play a handmade leather drum, while her father Tim Mosterdyke, watches. King is the owner of Remedy Alley in St. Helens. He gave demonstrations about drum making at the St. Helens Public Library to a variety of children and adults during the event. Throughout the year, King also offers drum making classes for all age ranges at her studio.The inaugural St. Helens art walk held Thursday, March 31, is being considered a success for bringing artists and business owners together.

Organizers are evaluating, however, how to improve a follow-up event in late April. Though turnout met expectations, few participants stuck around till the end or joined in planned artwalk activities.

The St. Helens “Spring Into Art Walk” was a partnership between the Columbia Arts Guild, the South Columbia Chamber of Commerce and its Visitor Center, St. Helens Economic Development Corp., and the Main Street Program. It was intended to bring together local businesses, artists and community members in a casual setting.

Gretchen Williams, the chamber’s Visitor Center representative, said the event successfully united the St. Helens business and artistic communities. Many participants told Williams they ventured into businesses they had never been to before to meet different artists and discover their artwork.

But while the turnout exceeded 30 to 40 people, only three people visited all 16 locations with in-house artists, and only eight people turned in maps indicating where they went.

Williams also only received two entries for the event’s coloring contest held the week beforehand.

Williams said the organizing groups plan to reevaluate the logistics of the event to increase interactions between artists and the public.

The hope is to include more vendors and give more people time to participate, Williams said.

Several organizers in Scappoose are already discussing how to plan a similar event.

Find more photos from the event, below.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Cherish Thiessen, a St. Helens resident, hands a map to artist Barbara Lines to be stamped at the St. Helens Public Library. Lines makes mixed media art and encaustic art pieces, . Thiessen said she enjoyed seeing unique artwork like carved gourds and wildlife sketches displayed throughout the community.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Sundee Hudson and Rose Imhof examine carved gourds and woven baskets created by Janice Kane and Sue Kramer at the St. Helens Senior Center. Kane has practiced wood carving for nine years, and just recently began carving gourds collected from the Southwest. Kramer has been weaving pine needle baskets for seven years.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Matthew Owens, a St. Helens nature photographer, speaks with Doris Perry and Holly Pennock about his work at the Smuggle Chest on Thursday, March 31. Owens, a carpenter by trade, began pursing nature photography several years ago.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - A group of women from the Columbia River Cloggers perform a routine at the St. Helens Senior Center. The cloggers regularly host classes Thursdays at 6 p.m. at the senior center for people interested in learning to dance.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Luanne Kreutzer smiles behind a table of her artwork at the store Artifacts, A Tinker's Marketplace. Kreutzer regularly displays and sells her work at Alterations by Heather in St. Helens.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Courtney Allison, Al Petersen and Kannikar Petersen, chat inside Woodland Cottage, a boutique that Allison owns. Woodburning artist Rachel Burr regularly sells some of her work at the store and was on site Thursday night to talk about her work.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - The St. Helens Public Library Ukulele Orchestra plays at the South Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. The orchestra performed for an hour during a wrap up event held at the chamber. A prize drawing was held at the chamber for participants who turned in stamped maps.