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Portraits of ‘Founding Mothers’ to be unveiled Friday

Project honors women key to community

By , Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter
2 Photos
Hilarie Couture works on the "Founding Mothers: Portraits of Progress" project featuring 40 local women.
Hilarie Couture works on the "Founding Mothers: Portraits of Progress" project featuring 40 local women. (Natalie Behring/The Columbian files) Photo Gallery

Several women will have a chance Friday for face-to-face encounters with themselves.

Thirty-six paintings will be unveiled during downtown Vancouver’s First Friday event at Boomerang, 808 Main St.

Vancouver artist Hilarie Couture did the paintings for a project called “Founding Mothers: Portraits of Progress.”

Forty women are featured. Some, including Esther Short, Mother Joseph and Dr. Louisa Wright (whose faces share a canvas), are part of Clark County history. Other portrait subjects are still involved in the community.

The 36 paintings were done over the span of about 10 weeks, from the last week in January through the first week of April.

Each 16-inch-by-20-inch portrait amounted to about 90 minutes of brush work, Couture said.

“I basically call them portrait sketches,” said Couture, who is volunteering her talents. If someone hired her to paint a portrait, “It would take me longer. This is more of an essence.”

If You Go

 What: Unveiling of Hilarie Couture’s “Founding Mothers: Portraits of Progress.”

 When: 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, with 6 p.m. unveiling.

 Where: Boomerang, 808 Main St., Vancouver.

The 6 p.m. unveiling is a First Friday Downtown event sponsored by Vancouver’s Downtown Association.

Works by two more artists will be on display. Erika Bartlett, mixed-media artist, will exhibit a new “Pneuma Series (Selected)”, and Diane Hurst will exhibit new children’s illustrations.

The event — open to the public — will be more than an art-appreciation gathering, said Lee Rafferty, executive director of Vancouver’s Downtown Association. As the project’s title indicates, Couture’s paintings are portraits of progress. Their subjects all have played roles “in creating a successful community,” Rafferty said.

The unveiling “will be a wonderful chance to share some inspirational stories about people who provided this community with an awful lot,” Rafferty said.

Names of portrait candidates were forwarded by Vancouver’s Downtown Association and YWCA Clark County, another collaborator in Couture’s project.

The reception was scheduled so it would be part of Mother’s Day weekend.

The portraits will be on display at Boomerang through May.

In future months, the collection will be shown at Erik Runyan Jewelers, 900 Washington St. (June); LSW Architects, 610 Esther St. (July); Clark College Archer Gallery, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, in the Penguin Union Building (August); and Clark County Historical Museum, 1511 Main St. (September-December).

Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter