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Joy Jasinek | New art blooms on the Art on the Avenues map

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Provided photo “Spring Foxes” by Georgia Gerber, located in front of the YWCA on First Street, will be purchased by Art on the Avenues this year. The sculpture will join three other pieces by Gerber in the organization’s permanent collection.

While our community eagerly awaits the annual blossoming of the orchards, another springtime event is unfolding that adds vitality to our town.

Every two years, Art on the Avenues makes changes to its sculpture exhibit. This year, 10 new visiting sculptures will be added, and 20 of the sculptures for sale will remain for another two years. It’s gratifying that so many artists are comfortable leaving their works in the collection, and it shows that they feel our community offers a positive setting for their art.

The new pieces form an eclectic group — modern and traditional, metal and stone — and all of them reflect the high quality and artistic value we are accustomed to.

A few pieces will also be leaving the collection, among them, the iconic Welcome by Jim Johnson on the Loop Trail. It will be taken down and returned to Salem, Ore., on April 24. Take the time for one last look and say “Farewell” to this powerful piece.

The changes in the exhibit will be completed by April 24, and our colorful new brochure will be available during the first week of June to guide you on a tour of the complete collection.

Many of the pieces remaining on exhibit are part of the permanent collection — 24 have been purchased by Art on the Avenues for the community, and 25 belong to the City of Wenatchee. This year, AOTA’s annual purchase is Spring Foxes by Georgia Gerber. Of the five other sculptures by her in our exhibit, three are already part of the permanent collection. All six of her sculptures are cherished by the community because of the universal appeal of her lovable creatures. They touch our hearts with their whimsical attitudes, and invite us to touch their lifelike forms. “Spring Foxes” is in front of the YWCA on First Street. Be sure to visit them in their new home as another celebration of spring!

The Art on the Avenues’ impressive collection of 87 sculptures is sustained completely by volunteers. Through the sale of pedestals and sculptures, AOTA has the opportunity to give the community this vibrant exhibit of highly acclaimed artists who are nationally and internationally renowned. It has taken 20 years to establish this artistic presence in Wenatchee and together, as a community, we should take the responsibility to insure that it will thrive into the future. And there are steps to take now. On Friday at 3:30, volunteers are meeting at the fountain in front of the Performing Arts Center to tour the sculptures and help clean them. Students and teachers will be among those participating. Come join them for a close-up look at our remarkable collection — each piece unique, yet contributing to the whole artistic experience. Another opportunity to become involved will soon present itself.

“Big Nammu,” the popular bear sculpture on the Loop Trail, is now a visiting sculpture and should be part of our permanent collection. Art on the Avenues will be conducting a membership drive, and donated funds will go toward the purchase of “Big Nammu” for the community.

So participate however you can this spring — tour the exhibit, share it with your family and friends, clean the sculptures, donate to AOTA — and help maintain this priceless piece of Wenatchee charm for future generations.

For updates on the new exhibit and additional information: Like Art on the Avenues on Facebook, visit our website artontheavenues.org or follow us onTwitter@NCWArts.

Joy Jasinek is a board member of Art on the Avenues, an organization that encourages anyone to become involved as a volunteer or a board member. She can be reached at joyjazz@gmail.com

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