County arts scene flourishing

Painters, sculptors, dance and music are thriving despite economyThe Arts




For more information on life in Clark County, visit

For more information on life in Clark County, visit

Galleries in Clark County have come and gone over the eight years that Elizabeth Steinbaugh has owned Aurora, the oldest art venue in downtown Vancouver, but the arts scene is stronger than ever, she said.

A poor economy has seen the number of galleries in downtown shrink from nine in 2010 to five in 2011. But those that remain have a host of prominent Southwest Washington artists to pick from.

“You really don’t know how many artists live in an area until you open a gallery,” Steinbaugh said. “I was shocked at how many we have. There are literally hundreds in Southwest Washington.”

Bev Jozwiak and Vicki Nelson, watercolor artists who grew up here and still live in the county, are probably the best know of the bunch. They have appeared in magazines and have gained national recognition for their work, Steinbaugh said.

Salmon Creek ceramic artist Michael Metz, a retired professional tennis player, is also gaining notoriety for his crystalline-glazed classical forms and organic sculptures.

“This area is becoming especially well known for our painters and potters,” Steinbaugh said.

Galleries are just the tip of the colorfully decorated iceberg when it comes to local arts, said Lee Rafferty, executive director of the Vancouver Downtown Association.

Dance has also grown increasingly prominent with the success of the Columbia Dance Studio and Riverside Performing Arts, she said.

“They’ve had great success with students going on and having careers as professional dancers,” Rafferty said.

Theater productions and symphony music are also very popular, with a variety of options to choose from.

And the Downtown Association and other groups have tried to bolster the scene with events such as the First Friday Art Walk — a free walking tour of galleries and other downtown art venues held the first Friday of each month.

“Art is one of the most important things that a community can do to make itself unique,” Rafferty said. “It beckons people on and tells them what we value as a community.”Arts organizations, businesses and events in Clark County run the gamut in size and focus.

Here’s a sampling of what the local arts scene has to offer:

Alcove Art Gallery:

Angst Gallery:

Archer Gallery at Clark College:

Art on the Boulevard:

Aurora Gallery:

Avalon Art Gallery and Studio:

Battle Ground Art Alliance:

Bravo! Vancouver:

Christian Youth Theater Vancouver/Portland:

Clark College Orchestra:

Clark College Theatre:

Columbia Dance:

Columbia Gorge International Film Festival (put on by ANGAELICA):

Firehouse Glass:

Gallery 360:

Junior Symphony of Vancouver:

Love Street Playhouse:

Magenta Theater:

Metropolitan Performing Arts Academy:

The New Blue Parrot Productions: or

Niche Wine & Art: or

North Bank Artists Gallery:

Northwest Classical Ballet:

Old Liberty Theater:

Ridgefield Art Association:

Riverside Performing Arts:

Second Story Gallery:

Southwest Washington Watercolor Society:

Southwest Washington Wind Symphony:

Vancouver Dance Theatre:

Vancouver School of Arts and Academics:

Vancouver Symphony:

Vancouver USA Singers:

Washburn Performing Arts Center: