Over at the Adventure Guys blog, I’m writing about my Olympic Peninsula trip. I’ve lived in Washington for almost 35 years, but I’m a Peninsula noobie.
In a strange twist of fate, about two weeks before I left, Bob Stokes’ spokeswoman sent me a note about some of the things the Northern California artist is doing up in Port Angeles. Under optimal circumstances, I don’t think The News Tribune is delivered in that part of the state. But since I was about to trek around “the loop,” I decided to check out some of Bob’s artwork.
According to his spokeswoman, Bob is a multimedia artist whose client list includes the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, flimmaker George Lucas and Pope John Paul II. A few years back, Bob shut down his “thriving California design company” and set sail on his boat. In 2004, he visited his sister in Port Angeles and he hasn’t left yet. Instead, he’s been “shaking up the former logging town… with his artistic vision.”
In August, Bob unveiled his “Avenue of the People” project, 15 larger-than-life steel sculptures that are part of the Port Angeles Downtown Associations “Art About Town” initiative. Nearly two dozen other outdoor sculptures from other artists also are part of the collection.
Bob’s sculptures line Laurel Street, “formerly the city’s hot spot for gambling and drinking,” according to the spokeswoman. He modeled the pieces after Port Angeles residents.
Bob also is involved in a project he calls “Art Front.” He’s renovating a 1920s Moose Lodge to include working artists’ studios, a wine club and a permanent art gallery. His spokeswoman quotes him as saying, "We’re working to raise the profile of the artist community to a level that it becomes a draw for people outside the area, as well as for locals."
If you’re headed up to Port Angeles, take a stroll down Laurel Street.