While You’re In: Hear Nikki McClure, Visit Ghost Towns, Get ‘Closer’ to Black Artists’ Work

Friday, February 19, 2021

Article via The Olympian
By Molly Gilmore


Olympia papercut artist Nikki McClure is launching her latest picture book, “1-2-3 Salish Sea,” with an online reading at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21. The counting book, whose illustrations combine McClure’s signature papercuts with watercolor painting, aims to spark curiosity about the natural history of the Pacific Northwest. “It includes some of my favorite creatures that are my neighbors,” McClure told The Olympian. Among them are orcas, banana slugs and nudibranchs, colorful mollusks. “The Salish Sea is one of the largest inland seas in the world, yet many the books about the sea written for kids are based on the Atlantic,” she said. “This book shows the diversity, the wildness, that we live in and with.” Sponsored by Browsers Bookshop, the reading is free, with registration required. Get more information at https://www.browsersolympia.com. Want to know more about the Salish Sea and the people who’ve lived here for centuries? The city of Lacey is sponsoring a free talk by the Squaxin Island peoples of the southern Salish Sea at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22, on Zoom. Registration is required.


Tacoma’s Pretty Gritty Tours, which has been offering virtual tours during the pandemic, is exploring Washington’s ghost towns at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25. The tour, hosted by Pretty Gritty’s Chris Staudinger, is a quick, easy and free way to visit a handful of the state’s ghost towns with no driving required — particularly nice because most of the towns featured are in the eastern half of the state. The tour is available live on Facebook or on YouTube, where you can watch it later, too. Also coming up from Pretty Gritty is a virtual tour of Mima Mounds, set for 8 p.m. Feb. 27.


“Closer,” the latest exhibition at South Puget Sound Community College’s Leonor R. Fuller Gallery, offers an in-depth look at paintings by Sandra Bocas and Travis Johnson and paintings, photos and collages by Rene Westbrook. The three were among the group included in last year’s “Futures Rising,” which showcased the work of local Black artists. “The exhibit reveals celebrations of identity, challenges to societal norms and explorations of the magical and fantastic,” said gallery coordinator Sean Barnes. The artists chose the title as an invitation to the community to take a more focused look at their work. The title has taken on an additional layer of meaning, though. Due to website woes, Barnes hasn’t been able to post the images online, so you can see them only by visiting the gallery at 2011 Mottman Road SW, Olympia. It’s open by appointment only from noon to 6 p.m. weekdays.

If she’s going to do anything related to ghosts, freelance writer Molly Gilmore prefers to do it virtually. She discusses arts, entertainment and more with 95.3 KGY-FM’s Michael Stein on “Oly in a Can” from 3 to 4 p.m. Fridays.

Images of three paintings
"The exhibit reveals celebrations of identity, challenges to societal norms and explorations of the magical and fantastic,” said gallery coordinator Sean Barnes.