Camas, WA — At Thursday’s Camas-Washougal Rotary Club meeting, member Tina Simmons announced she would be having a book signing for her book, “Zandreal.”

Wait, what?

Simmons, who works for a wine labeling company, and whose pen name is Tee Griffen, spent a year writing and editing “Zandreal,” and got it published in 2016.

“It’s really not a new book,” said Griffen. “But because of life issues, I had to delay its marketing, so we’re doing that now.”

“Zandreal” is young adult fantasy fiction about a young girl named Andrea and she finds out she’s not quite human. So, she must figure out why she’s here, and she ends up doing a lot of external travel,” said Griffen. “The book is about our responsibility to share our gifts with the world, taking care of the Earth, and working together.”

Griffen’s no stranger to writing, as she previously was the ghost writer for two books — the first was “Tracks: Memoirs of a Vietnam Veteran” by Clyde Hoch. The second one was a book called “Turbo Charge Your Life,” by Troy Spring. Those were written in 2011 and 2012.

“I’ve always liked to write, but being an author wasn’t my goal in life,” said Griffen. “I went to school for Graphic Design at Cazenovia College in upstate New York. ”I wrote this as part of self-exploration. I’m an observer, a healer, a worrier, a wanderer, and a seeker. All the elements were there. I couldn’t write it fast enough. Once those five parts came to me, they formed the characters and the storyline came together.”

Initially, she worked with a publisher, but it didn’t move fast enough for her, so Griffen chose the self-publishing route.

“It was hard to self-publish,” said Griffen. “I felt more out there on my own, because with the publishing house I felt I would have had more support. The Kickstarter campaign was set in 2016 and I raised $4,000. It wasn’t hard to get, but it took a lot of marketing. They told you to find champions ahead of time. They also supported me. I had a community. It was an emotional roller coaster because it feels like baring my soul to the world.”

Sunday’s book signing at Caffe Piccolo in Downtown Camas is the only book signing she has scheduled for now. She’s been talking to the school districts about getting into the classrooms.

“I think it’s time to get the book out there,” said Griffen. “I feel like our country is very polarized, and I think we could use a little bit of unity.”

The book is available at www.Amazon.com and you can learn more at www.teegriffen.com

 

Camas, WA — Imagination, determination, and overcoming adversity were the main topics addressed by 2008 Camas High School graduate, and new book author, LK Walsh, while addressing Liberty Middle School students Friday afternoon.

Her book, “The Lavender Soul,” released in April through PelianWords Publishing House, is a fantasy novel about a young girl born with lavender eyes, portending she will be the annihilation of evil, or the impetus of world-consuming darkness. It is an adventure through a fantastical world with reimagining of classical characters, such as fairies and dragons, along with new beasts crafted from Walsh’s imagination. It’s about the main character, Vera, who is seeking out her purpose.

Now living in Lompoc, CA, Walsh is in town for the Portland Book Festival, and was invited to spent time in her hometown.

“I’m here to talk about dreams and how you can help them come true,” said Walsh. “I was a senior, and had my life plan right on track, and I had already applied to several universities. I was set. I was ready to go to Chapman to study Music Therapy. Chapman said they were ending the program, and that affected my scholarship. I was high and dry, and my mother had to call and begged to get to other schools. I had worked for years to become a music therapist, so I decided to become a Humanities major and went to Concordia in Southern California.”

 

She appreciated the experience, and was able to explore many things.

“I went into journalism, but that wasn’t for me,” said Walsh. “Then I worked for an art newsletter. That wasn’t for me. So, I decided to get into publishing.”

After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities Creative Writing from Concordia in 2011, she spent 18 months writing “The Lavender Soul” after spending eight years imagining it. Once completed, she went through the agony of finding a publisher, and after 38 rejection letters, she found a home with PelianWords Publishing House.

“I am fully able to admit that I felt like a failure because it really hurts when people say no,” said Walsh. “But failure isn’t real. You can fail because you didn’t pass a test. If you choose not to learn from the failure, then it’s a real failure. You have to learn from it.”

She said there’s “one key to success in any field and that is imagination, which is key to making all of your dreams come true.”

She encouraged the middle schoolers to always have imagination.

Walsh

LK Walsh addresses students at LIberty Middle School in Camas.

“Logic, science and math are not separate from imaginations,” she said. “Sometimes people give up on their dreams because of money. Authors don’t make money. My dream is to create worlds. My dream is to spread imagination. Dreams have such great value because it takes courage to dream. Every time you have a thought it creates a physical pathway in your brain. The easiest thoughts are negative ones. It takes imagination to be positive. Imagination gives you the courage to dream. Dreams don’t always have to be those huge paychecks. They don’t even have to make sense.”

Walsh has spent the last several weeks traveling to promote her book, and is working on a prequel, which has been approved by her publishing house.

Cat Rushing, Walsh’s mother, created the cover illustration, based on vision provided by Walsh.

To learn more, or to purchase her book, visit www.lkwalshauthor.com

Washougal, WA — Second grade art students of Columbia River Gorge Elementary are already getting into the holiday spirit by created ornaments for Washington Governor, Jay Inslee’s Christmas Tree.

CRGE art teacher, Joanna Sickels, saw the opportunity and applied to have CRGE participate in the project. “It is important for students to share their work and have it seen by a wide audience,” she said.  “Projects that bring works out into the public like this help kids to invest in their art. This is also such a great opportunity to highlight our new art elementary program and let the state know that Washougal School District offers art instruction to all K-5 students.”

Since 2013, the Governor’s Mansion has requested ornaments made by students from around the state to decorate the mansion’s Christmas Tree.  The mansion receives a high number of visitors during the holiday season and guests greatly enjoy seeing the work of K-12 students from Washington State that decorates the tree.

“I’m delighted that Columbia River Gorge Elementary applied to participate and was selected,” said Anne Banks, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Learning and Teaching Program Supervisor.  “This year the theme is “Sea Creatures” and we are all looking forward to seeing the ornaments they are creating!”

Once Sickels learned the school was selected and the ornament theme, she emailed the staff to find out who was teaching about the ocean.  “That is a second-grade subject so second graders were selected to create fish, integrating the two subjects,” she said.  “I tell students that science and art are best friends, and math and art are best friend.  Integrating arts in classroom subjects can show students how art is connected in so many ways to what they are learning.”

For their project, Sickels chose traditional Japanese paper-folding to create an origami fish.  After folding the fish, students used decorative papers to collage and create attractive designs. “Origami is a beautiful medium,” she said. “The project allows them to use their personal creativity to make it their own unique fish ornament.”

According to Banks, the response this year was huge from classrooms across the state who wanted to participate, however, just twenty-two classrooms could be a part of the project. They were selected based on their art descriptions, ESD region, and whether they were an elementary, middle, or high school so that all regions and grade bands were represented in the statewide opportunity.

VANCOUVER, WA —   The Clark College Music Department is hosting the 5th Annual Fall Choral Festival on Friday, November 9, 2018 in Gaiser Student Center on the campus of Clark College.  Over 15 area middle and high school chamber and concert choirs will sing in this non-competitive festival which runs from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Tickets are $5/person for the day.

“We’re very happy the festival is returning this year,” says Festival Director Dr. Jacob Funk, who is also is the Director of Choirs at Clark College. “Participating choirs get the chance to work with some highly skilled clinicians and receive written feedback on their performance. Each choir will also get to have a mini-clinic onstage, allowing for the other schools to see how a different choir learns new ways to succeed. Two of the Clark College Choirs will perform for all the participating choirs in the middle of the festival. It will be a wonderful time of music making, learning, and supporting each other in song.”

Laser

For complete information about all the Clark College Music Department concerts including the orchestra, concert band, jazz ensemble, and choirs, please see http://www.clark.edu/campus-life/arts-events/music/

Vancouver, WA — Journey Theater Arts Group presents Disney’s “The Lion King Jr,” which will run for two weekends, November 16-25 at Fort Vancouver High School.

A lively stage adaptation of the Academy Award-winning 1994 Disney animated film, “The Lion King Jr.” is the story of a young lion prince living in the flourishing African Pride Lands. Born into the royal family, precocious cub Simba spends his days exploring the sprawling savanna grasslands and idolizing his kingly father, Mufasa, while youthfully shirking the responsibility his position in life requires. When an unthinkable tragedy, orchestrated by Simba’s wicked uncle, Scar, takes his father’s life, Simba flees the Pride Lands, leaving his loss and the life he knew behind. Eventually companioned by two hilarious and unlikely friends, Simba starts anew. But when weight of responsibility and a desperate plea from the now ravaged Pride Lands come to find the adult prince, Simba must take on a formidable enemy, and fulfill his destiny to be king. With music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, additional music and lyrics by Lebo M., Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, and Hans Zimmer, and book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, Julie Taymor’s vision has been brought to life for audiences all over the world.

Performances are November 16-25, 2018 at Fort Vancouver High School, 5700 E 18th St, Vancouver, WA 98661.   Tickets are on sale now at journeytheater.org or by calling 360.750.8550.  Pre-sale adult tickets are $12.  Youth and senior tickets are $10. Tickets for all performances will be $4 more at the door.  Saturday November 17 is family day with all tickets at $10.

Public Performances

Friday, November 16th – 7:00 pm

Saturday, November 17th – 7:00 pm

Sunday, November 18th – 2:00 pm

Friday, November 23rd – 7:00 pm

Saturday, November 24th – 2:00 pm

Sunday, November 25th – 2:00 pm

About Journey Theater Arts Group

Our mission: “Growing youth in character, confidence and creativity, in a Christ centered community.”  Throughout the Portland/Vancouver area, Journey offers dozens of classes for ages 6-18, in drama, dance, voice and more.   In addition, we produce 12 Broadway style shows in four locations during the school year, improv competitions, multiple summer camps and professional-level community theater musicals for all ages in summer.  Journey is a nonprofit educational organization, with offices located at 1400 NE 136th Ave, Suite 201, Vancouver WA, 98684.  Contact at 360.750.8550 or www.journeytheater.org.

San Juan, Puerto Rico — Camas mural artist, Allan Jeffs, has just completed a monthlong series of major projects in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. He was hired to create six murals at multiple locations, and is now back in Mill Town taking some off to rejuvenate.

He painted three murals at an Old San Juan restaurant, called El Punto Café, which represented various aspects and history of the island, and Valparaiso, this article’s featured image, is a landscape mural of Chile.

Following that project he traveled to Aibonito, and painted two murals — one at a mountain top Italian restaurant, called Fiore — and the other at a private home owned by Peter Matina. At Fiore, he painted a large 15-foot wide pheasant, which symbolizes elegance to Fiore’s owner.

He the left the mountains, and returned to Old San Juan to paint one mural, and a little painting at the residence of Dr. German Ramirez.

“I love it when the clients are pleased with my work,” said Jeffs. “That’s the most important thing.”

His days were long, often spending 10-14 hours creating the murals while on his feet.

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“I’m really tired,” said Jeffs. “My body hurts. I’ve been home for five days now, and my hands still hurt. I was on my feet all day long, and one day I walked 18,000 steps in the same wall. I’m satisfied with the work.

The clients knew what they wanted, but Jeffs had creative license to create each masterpiece using his talent and imagination. He spent time designing each mural, and each result is almost identical to the original specifications.

He said even though Puerto Rico was severely damaged by last year’s hurricane, he sees many signs of recovery.

“After the hurricane, they are starting to recover,” said Jeffs. “It was horrible there for many months, but nature is coming back, and people are rebuilding their community, and they are preparing for the next hurricane by improving the electrical grid, and using alternative sources of energy, such as solar. They’re getting prepared.

“I saw a lot of progress. There are a lot of people creating art and fashion. The restaurants are getting better and better. Electricity is there full-time in most of the country, but there are still some areas struggling with electrical problems. Puerto Rico has a lot of problems, but they are starting to become better than before. It’s something that you feel. Schools are in session. I think it’s better than what you hear in the news, but they do have a lot of problems with government. I was surprised because everything is getting better, and there are a lot of possibilities there.”

He said the rain forest was severely harmed, and many areas have been closed, and are now starting to open up.

“It’s a great place again for tourism,” said Jeffs. “The prices are very low for airfare to San Juan. It’s hot, it’s a Caribbean island, but it’s a great time to travel there.”

To learn more, go www.AllanJeffs.com

Photo Gallery

 

Washougal, WA — The 2018 Arts Ambassador Scholarship recipients were honored at the recent Enspire Arts Celebration Gala, which was held Saturday at the Black Pearl. The Arts Ambassador Scholarship Program is a newly established program offering $500 scholarships towards instruction in any art form and available for students in grades 6-12 throughout Clark County.

Each recipient of a scholarship will provide an arts based community gift to serve the residents of Clark County. Enspire Arts sought students dedicated to their craft, having a strong desire to keep learning and a motivation to enrich the lives of others. Some students have already had several years of study and some are just beginning their formal instruction. Yet, in all of them there is potential to make a positive and meaningful contribution to the community of Clark County.

Aaron Greene is a senior at Union High School and his community gift will be creating a Peer to Peer String Instruction Program to support the school’s orchestra, as well as provide free lessons to those that may otherwise not have access.  In its first year, the program will have 4 tutors, serving 10 students.

Zoe Hill is an 8th grade student at Jemtegaard Middle School and her community gift will be Reaching Others Through Art.  Zoe will be creating a series of comic drawings highlighting the mental dialogue associated with certain mental conditions. This artwork has the potential to open the doors for discussion with local youth and the challenges they are facing.

Zayah Shore is a 7th grade student at Liberty Middle School and her community gift will be Sharing the Love of Music.  Zayah is zealous to encourage young students to give music a try. She plans to visit elementary classrooms to share what it’s like to learn a new instrument and to encourage kids not to be a afraid of a challenge.  

Zachary Lipinski is a junior at Heritage High School and his community gift will be Connecting with Others Through Music.  Zachary’s love of music has drawn him to want to become an orchestra teacher. Zachary will be providing free public music performances around Clark County.

Cassidy Watson is a junior at Camas High School and her community gift will be The Joy of Dance.  Cassidy is a talented young dancer and is excited at the opportunity to share her joy of dance with others.  Cassidy will be offering three contemporary dance workshops to youth around Clark County.

For more information regarding Enspire Arts, their programs, ways to get involved and making a donation, please see www.enspirearts.org

The 2019 Arts Ambassador Scholarship application period will open March 2019.

Ambassado

From left: Aaron Greene, Zayah Shore, Cassidy Watson, Zoe Hill, and Zachary Lipinski.

Meet Joshua W. Turner. Singer. Songwriter. Musician. Producer. Entrepreneur.

The Tacoma, WA artist is a busy man who’s actively promoting his new debut EP album, “BE OK,” which has catchy hooks, heartfelt lyrics, and colorful, diverse songwriting imagery.

“It’s an enticing story of love, hope, and the longing desire to get up and change,” says Turner. “It was written, recorded and produced by myself over a year span and features guest vocals from both my sister-in-law, Savannah Turner, and my beautiful wife, Erin Turner.”

This specific album is a collection of songs Turner wrote more than a decade ago, and a few written within the last year.

“It’s a compilation of doing music for 13 years, and picking songs that represent me as a solo artist,” said Turner. “This is my first solo album I’ve put out.”

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A fiercely independent man, Turner has chosen Bandcamp.com to his release “Be OK” because it gives him more autonomy.

“Bandcamp is a platform to release an album on your own terms, you can determine pricing and do it more your way,” Turner said. “It’s not as popular but it’s a good starting point to have an album presented in its entirety.”

“Be OK” can be streamed and/or downloaded through this link:
http://joshuawturner.bandcamp.com/album/be-ok

Getting the word out to Music Supervisors is key as he’s chosen the sync licensing route to generate income. It’s not easy, but it works for Turner, and other artists like him. Sync licensing enlists Music Supervisors to set moods for various media productions, and it requires extensive research to know how to do it right.

Turner said his genre is singer-songwriter, which has the feel of one man with a guitar speaking his heart. The music really sets a tone, a mood.

“It has country aspects woven into it, and part of it is my style, and part of it is to make the songs more diverse for sync licensing opportunities,” he said. “I put all my history into one album. “This was a test for me because I needed to figure out how to produce music. The album was released August 30, and it’s gotten some interest. It’s been sent to music supervisors and it’s gaining traction.”

Background

“I got started in my bedroom,” he said. “I grew up on Whidbey Island and I just decided I wanted to sing, and was taught I could develop my voice and going to voice lessons. So, for two years I learned on my own, and then went to Berkeley College of Music in Boston, and I got in and I just started learning how to sing, and while I was there, I was awarded the Berkeley Achievement Scholarship.”

“Then, after Berkeley I went to Musicians Institute in Hollywood to study guitar. I was doing rock music then, and I was in the genre of Smashing Pumpkins meets Gun’s and Roses. I caught up with people who were developing a rock band. We went to red carpets featuring Richie Sambora.”

As time passed, Turner became disheartened and walked away from Los Angeles — and walked away from music. In time, he met his wife and got a normal preschool job teaching music.

“Then I started realizing I wanted to keep making music,” Turner said. “What I had to do was take on the responsibility of being the sole provider, which led me back to music. I opened a music coaching school, where I train singers to be confident about themselves. Confidence issues hold people back in music. I recognize that I have to do several streams of income to support my family. You have to be creative.”

As he prepares for his starring role in the upcoming Camas Theatre production of “Macbeth,” which opens November 8, Camas, WA actor Clayton Lukens reflects on his summer theatrical experience at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Lukens was accepted into the Southeastern Summer Theatre Institute, which is a four-week summer program full show intensive for young actors. This summer, they produced “Tuck Everlasting.”

“You do a full production,” said Lukens. “Some other camps are about workshops, and this is about doing a full-scale production. We arrived and the first day we all go find our houses and the boys are housed in the colored cottages. They placed all the girls in a mansion. The first day we all walked to the beach together and we start in a circle to talk about our goals and what we are able to bring to the team.”

Each summer session has 25 students, plus the crew program with about eight youth, the institute staff and the director, Joe Barros, who has worked on Broadway several times.

“He’s [Barros] is always doing big, big projects,” said Lukens. “He always likes to switch things up.”

Being accepted into the program was a dream come true for Lukens, who found out in March he was accepted into the $6,000 camp — but he’d already been saving his money for about a year.

During application time, he filled out the basics and sent a video audition of him singing and dancing.

“And, so I brought out a friend who choreographed a dance for me,” Lukens said. “Her name is Grace Thompson. I signed my application, and was just doing Little Shop rehearsals and I was waiting. We found out March 16, which was opening day for Little Shop. The whole day I had my Chromebook open in the corner and kept refreshing. I got the email that said I was accepted. I’d been wanting to do this for over a year, and then they placed us all in a Facebook Group. We all got to know each other before we went. It was a virtual audtion process.”

The summer institute had much to do about chemistry with other people, and he was called back for two characters: Jesse Tuck, and Man in Yellow Suit. The whole plot is this family drinks the water and now will never die.

“They learn lessons that life is valuable, and some point you have to get off the wheel so others can experience it,” said Lukens. “I ended up playing Man in Yellow Suit. He wants to monopolize on the water. I was double cast, and then I played ensemble second weekend. That was hard. You have to learn two roles.”

He said the first challenge was having to memorize everything off-book before arrival, which was rough for the “in-the-moment” learner that Lukens is.

Theatre

On the set of “Tuck Everlasting.”

The institute program is pretty tough, with 9-13 hour rehearsal days, every day.

“We spend our time choreographing every scene, learning the music, learning the harmonies,” he said. “We do that for the first two weeks, and it’s very exhausting. We did this seven days a week with only two days off. On those days off, we went to Savannah, and then went to the beach on Hilton Head.”

By the time they got to opening day, he said the team felt very prepared and that they all became really good friends.

The teens did six performances in total, with each lasting 1 hour and 40 minutes — which is a short time for a musical.

“Joe completely reinvented the show,” Lukens said. “It’s very different from what appeared on Broadway. The play flopped on Broadway, so Joe fixed the dents. He incorporated 126 umbrellas into the whole show. It was amazing!”

Breaking umbrellas was a real problem.

So, what did Lukens learn the most from this?

“I think I learned that the biggest part is interpretation,” said Lukens. “It can be funny, and wild and weird, but deep down you have to be a person that the audience can relate to. They taught me how to get deeper into the character. A lot of people can fake it on stage, but making it an actual character so that he feels like a person.”

“Kris Saucedo played Tuck. He went to the program last summer, so I found him on Instagram and he’d been to the institute previously, and he had been helping promote the program. We became really great friends. The set design was amazing. It was the best set I’ve ever stepped on to. They had these umbrellas in the sky, and we had lots of trap doors on the stage. One time I sat in the trap door for four hours while reading a book. It was totally fine to listen.”

“It took us that whole year to save up for it. It was the best experience I’ve ever had with theatre. You’re just in a group of people that all want to do the same things you do. There are some days when you’re with someone for 13 hours, and you want to snap — you get so exhausted. For sure, we had our different groups, but it was just a crazy community to be around. Time moves differently there. It’s its own little world.”

Theatre

Man in Yellow Suit, played by Clayton Lukens.

To be considered for the program, you have to be in high school —as a rising freshman up to a recently graduated senior.

Ben Wolfe started the program, which has flourished through the years. He contributes so much, said Lukens, and he gives everything to that company.

One of the original producers came to the show, and the original Jessie Tuck came and did a Master Class. His name is Andrew Keenan-Bolger. He’s a big broadway celebrity.

“Clayton is an outstanding young man filled with a joy and energy that makes every room he enters a little bit brighter,” said Wolfe. “We loved working with him this summer.”
`
Go to www.summertheatreinstitute.com to learn more.

Photo Gallery

Photos by Southeastern Summer Theatre Institute.

Camas, WA — For this month’s First Friday reception, the Attic Gallery, which is located in Downtown Camas, is featuring new abstract paintings by Earl Hamilton.

The opening reception begins at 5 pm Friday, October 5.

Hamilton was born in Japan, and spent most of his childhood in a small cabin in the Rodgers Mountain Area outside the town of Scio, Oregon in the Willamette Valley, with his parents Satsuko and George. The family lived an independent lifestyle on their secluded homestead, painting together in their cabin’s living room, which set the stage for a life in the art world.

Hill

http://tvc.org/meet-jen

Living a frugal lifestyle, hauling water, milking goats, collecting eggs from their chickens, and without television and radio, Earl was encouraged to read and discuss all forms of art. He learned self-sufficiency and a desire to follow his own artistic instincts.

He now lives with his wife, Michelle, in Lebanon, which is another small Oregon town.

Hamilton does not have a website, but you can learn more about his work at www.AtticGallery.com

Visitors to the Attic Gallery reception this Friday will be treated to wine, refreshments, and music by Paul Chasman. The Attic Gallery has been operating for 45 years, and got its start in Portland.

Hamilton

Earl Hamilton abstract paintings.