There’s something about islands that draws creative types and that’s certainly the case for Camano Island, in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. It has a vibrant community of artists, writers, musicians and performers who have been seduced by the island’s natural beauty, its community spirit and its solitude.
Located off the coast of Seattle in Washington state, Camano Island is connected to the U.S. mainland by a road bridge, but when Seattle writer Charles Banks founded the first artist colony on the island in 1910, the bridge didn’t exist and it was considerably more remote. That colony, known as Waupello after a character in one of Banks’s novels, spanned 200 acres and attracted artists, musicians, metalworkers and pottery makers. It no longer exists but its legacy lives on in the studios, galleries and creative spaces that flourish on the island.
One of the most beautiful galleries on the island is the Matzke Fine Art Gallery & Sculpture Park, which artist Karla Matzke opened in 2008. It features prominent and emerging American and international artists, whose work is exhibited in a spacious gallery and 10 surrounding acres of Northwest forest.
The park is a work of art in itself, with trees, walls, lawns and flowers coming together to form a brilliant frame for outdoor sculptures. New seasons and different times of day make it an ever-changing background.
Matzke Fine Art Gallery & Sculpture Park is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm, or on weekdays by appointment (see contact details below). It is also on the itinerary for the Camano Island Studio Tour, an incredibly popular event held over two weekends in May. The Studio Tour has been held for the past 20 years and in that time, hundreds of artists and galleries have opened their doors to the public to engage and delight visitors.
All of the photos here were taken at the Matzke Fine Art Gallery & Sculpture Park the day before this year’s Studio Tour got underway. It would be hard to think of a more beautiful setting in which to display these eye-catching pieces.
If you go:
Matzke Fine Art Gallery & Sculpture Park
2345 Blanche Way
Camano Island WA 98282
United States of America
Tel: +1 (360) 387 2759
With thanks to the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association for sponsoring my visit to Whidbey and Camano Islands. Many thanks also to Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism for hosting me on Camano Island.