Sunday, November 4, 2012

Guatemala-Born Artist Captures Essence of Small Pacific Northwest Community in 'This Town' Exhibition

Anita Aparicio captures the essence of Bellingham in
her 'Bellingham Gothic' series in This Town
at Allied Arts of Whatcom County

Bellingham, Washington has some interesting history and crazy stories. Many know the legend of the man who had too many black cats who made clothing out them because they were overtaking the town.  My personal favorite is the tale of the "Bellingham Curse," which explains why people always leave the sleepy Pacific Northwest town near the Canadian border and then come back. I have done it three times, so it must be true! 

Regardless of the stories, the people of Bellingham have a spirit all their own and a deep passion for keeping the traditional traditional. It is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else and generation after generation remain here to fulfill their legacies.
Artist Anita Aparicio with her original
work at Allied Arts of Whatcom County
Photo: Paul Niemi
What fascinates me about the new exhibit 2012 Juried Artist Series: This Town, which  just opened at Allied Arts of Whatcom County, is that one of its artists isn't from Bellingham at all, but Guatemala.  

A transplant to Bellingham, artist Anita Aparicio "became immediately enthralled by the old residences adorning Sehome and South Hill in Fairhaven as well as the old farmhouses and barns on the roads to Ferndale, Lynden and beyond."   For this show, the challenge for the charming artist, whom I spoke with in Spanish at length, was creating on a smaller scale.  Aparicio's mixed media series called "Bellingham Gothic" successfully fuses subjects found in Victorian-era photographs with her own take on local architecture.   Her work allows you to escape momentarily into the "subdued excitement" of the past.  You can almost smell vintage lace and hear the sounds of laughter and gossip as you walk past! 
Mixed media 'Bellingham Gothic' piece by
 Anita Aparicio at Allied Arts of Whatcom County

2012 Juried Artist Series: This Town opened on November 2 and runs through December 1.  Don't miss the work of painter David Ridgway and photographer Donald Simpson, who also give their unique perceptions of life in Bellingham as participating artists. The show will travel to the Hotel Bellwether for a month-long installation in their lobby, hallways, and Lighthouse Bar and Grill starting in early December. 

For more information on the exhibition visit


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