Regional art, music, courses
LYNDEN – Those new to Lynden may not remember the former site of Lynden Town Hall and an adjoining thrift store. In 1927 Lynden Town Council approved plans to build a new town hall on the site of a previous one.
This opened on January 17, 1929, with the upper floor being used for city council meetings and even the public library at one point.
The ground floor was used for the fire department and eventually for the city offices and the basement housed the city jail, the marshal’s office, the furnace, the toilets and a fireproof vault.
Eventually, the library and the fire department moved to the street, and then the town hall also joined them.
When the building stood empty, it took the right vision that came from East County resident Heidi (Jansen) Doornenbal and a foundation to honor her parents, the Eleanor and Henry Jansen Foundation.
The Jansen Art Center, also known as “The J”, is a non-profit regional arts center located at the corner of Front and Fourth streets.
At 10 years old, the J has withstood not the ravages of time, but the ravages of a shrinking economy during its rebuilding and a lengthy COVID-19 shutdown more recently.
The new juried art exhibition opened on Thursday, July 14, with artists and the public in attendance to enjoy the art together.
Classes open to all ages; rose in a range of arts such as ceramics, jewellery, fine art and painting, textiles, music and theatre.
Upcoming events for the celebration include:
• Thursday, August 4: Celebrate Schimmel and Champagne Toast from 6 to 7 p.m. Piano music on the grand piano with Etsuko Tomeda and free birthday treats. Free.
• Friday, August 5: Denim and Diamonds from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. This gala is sponsored by Audi Bellingham. Proceeds support Jansen’s mission and help provide year-round artistic programming. Tickets are $100 and include selected food options, beer/wine/champagne, live entertainment, and exclusive access to the live auction and private auction at a silent auction .
Rachel Rothberg: focus on a young artist
At 24, Rachel Rothberg is one of the youngest artists exhibited at the Jansen Art Center – and the artist’s beautiful large oils are displayed in the main exhibition area on the ground floor.
The recent graduate of Western Washington University (WWU) earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting in 2021 after moving from Silicon Valley, where Rothberg grew up. Rothberg’s parents worked in the computer world.
In such a hectic workaholic place, Rothberg was eager to get away from it all. Stepping out of the plane in the Pacific Northwest, the artist “smelled the fresh air and the trees”.
This is the artist’s first solo exhibition, apart from those on campus. “The opening was so much fun,” Rothberg said. “I was so honoured.”
In the room are four large, six-foot-wide oil paintings of birds on flower arrangements as well as paintings of birds done on glass and mugs from a ceramic show. Rothberg built the canvases waist-high to fit in the trunk of the vehicle, a Ford Flex, used to drive them to the show.
Yes and yes, answered Rothberg, when asked. The paintings were made during COVID-19 and during the art program.
Rothberg had been thinking about serious issues in the world, and death had an impact on those thoughts. Rothberg’s mother was a hospice nurse in Seattle.
“I would like to mention the influence of Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ on my work,” Rothberg said. “The ‘Requiem’ is a representation of a funeral mass which illustrates for me the importance and the respect historically accorded to death. I performed the ‘Requiem’ in the WWU Concert Choir in 2019, and it became one of the most impactful and empowering choral pieces I have ever sung. The four tableaux ‘Requiem’, ‘Lux’, ‘Aeterna’ and ‘Lacrimosa’ in my show, Elegy, are titled directly after movements from Mozart’s ‘Requiem’. The connection of my paintings to this historic choral work heightens the emotion associated with the subjects.
Rothberg recently opened a studio in June, Curlew Tattoo, serving the artist’s tattoo business and fine art painting, in downtown Bellingham. The subject matter might appear in a gothic vein, but it doesn’t.
The colors in the palette are pretty. Rothberg mixes colors from a small selection of mainly Windsor & Newton paints, placing cool and warm versions of the primary colors – blue, yellow, red – with white, side by side.
The goal, it was explained, was to find unity in color and subject matter. Once friends found out what the project was, they brought in some local native birds they had found.
Once the birds were arranged among the floral arrangements and photographed, they were given a proper burial. The flower petals were neatly arranged around them.
Photographs of dead birds from other parts of the country were also sent in and used on the clear gesso coated glass background for added transparency.
“He referred to the number of songbird window and window collisions,” Rothberg said.
“It was in this program that I explored working on a larger scale to bring people face to face with the detailed subjects of my paintings to increase the viewer’s empathic response to these deceased birds,” Rothberg said. .
A call for artists was issued by The J and several artistic mentors entered Rothberg’s name.
Rothberg was then contacted by The J. As soon as the exhibition opened, Rothberg’s friends came over and compared seeing the same work in college versus The J, where the paintings face each other.
“It created a different narrative,” Rothberg said. “It feels reflective with the natural light (from the windows in the room).”
“The two artists and mentors who recommended me to the Jansens are Barbara Sternberger and Cynthia Camlin. My teacher mentors in the BFA program at WWU were Pierre Gour and Cynthia Camlin.