Every summer, artists across mediums and across the country gather to show and sell their work to the residents and guests of Gig Harbor, offering everything from soap to jewelry, paintings to pottery.
These artists gather every year for the Gig Harbor Summer Art Festival, now in its 32nd year, hosted by the Peninsula Art League (PAL) and set for Saturday (July 16) and Sunday (July 17).
Through the festival, the PAL also offers the chance for young artists to participate in this Gig Harbor tradition through an art contest that features the winner’s work on the festival’s posters and promotional materials.
Lindsey Shaw, 17, a Gig Harbor High School student, is this year’s festival contest winner with her pen and watercolor creation, “Harbor Leisure,” which can be seen on festival posters throughout the city.
“I wanted to avoid drawing boats, so I wanted to focus on the town itself and include the buildings,” Shaw said. “I just kind of drew the ones that stood out to me as quintessential to Gig Harbor.”
Shaw heard about the contest from her high school art teacher and decided to enter, later finding out she’d won the contest from other students at school.
“It felt weird, I didn’t really expect it at all,” she said. “I was happy about it for sure, but it was unexpected. It’s weird to see my art around town.”
Growing up in a family focused on art, Shaw said she’s been drawing her whole life and is planning on attending an art school after graduating high school next year.
Shaw was one of five high school finalists from the Gig Harbor area, said Jeni Woock, PAL member and committee chair of the festival.
“(Shaw) did a fantastic job. We really love that she had the businesses in there,” Woock said. “It just really made it a community thing with all of the businesses included.”
(Shaw) did a fantastic job. We really love that she had the businesses in there. It just really made it a community thing with all of the businesses included.
Partnership with local businesses is important to PAL, since the festival takes over Judson Street with an atmosphere similar to a street fair, closing the road to vehicle traffic. Though the street may be shut down, the festival does help to bring customers and more people into Gig Harbor, with 10,000 to 15,000 people anticipated to visit the festival over the weekend, Woock said.
“We do contribute to the local economy,” Woock said. “Our goal is to bring folks to Gig Harbor and let them see our wonderful artists and to see our town.”
Festival guests typically wander from the event toward the downtown waterfront area, where they often frequent the small businesses and restaurants, she said.
Another draw for Gig Harbor visitors and festival guests this Saturday (July 16) is the annual Chalk the Harbor event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Skansie Brother’s Park.
The festival itself will feature 120 artists — many local to Gig Harbor — who will be selling and sharing their work.
I think that art is really food for the soul...It’s important to have art. It’s an important statement for a city to bring art into the community.
“We try to have a good mix of artists,” Woock said. “We always try to find something that’s unique.”
A kids area, featuring a face painter and ice cream, will provide entertainment for the festival’s youngest attendees, while live music and food trucks by 7 Seas Brewing will provide food and refreshments for all ages. Since Judson Street will be closed and parking is limited in the downtown area, a complimentary shuttle will be available to transport festival guests from the Kimball Medical Pavilion to the festival.
“It’s going to be a great two days. Its a wonderful thing for our community,” Woock said. “I think that art is really food for the soul ... It’s important to have art. It’s an important statement for a city to bring art into the community.”
Gig Harbor Summer Art Festival
The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday (July 16) and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday (July 17) at Judson Street in Gig Harbor.