Sammamish River

Portraits of a River

North King County, Washington

The Sammamish River, now and throughout history, is a symbol of interconnectedness among the cities through which it flows. The course of the river, and its properties have changed over many years, as have the ways in which people view it. From being a source of nourishment for the land surrounding, and the Native Americans with what used to be an abundance of salmon, and a highway for the settlers to transport, along with the changes of its course by man and nature, the river has been many things to many people. This work visually expresses Gaul’s research of this history and how it relates to the present state of the river and the natural environments that surround it.

A Gaul Culley’s “Portraits of a River” Exhibition opened on August 15 and ran through October 1, 2014 with an opening reception which was held on August 15th from 4-6PM to coincide with the opening of the Redmond Arts Festival.

During 2014-2015 Gaul was been awarded grants through King County Arts Organization 4Culture. The grants are part of 4Culture’s Historic Sites project. Gaul has been working with the historical societies of Redmond, Woodinville, Bothell and Kenmore to understand and create artworks significant about the role the Sammamish River has played in establishing these cities. Gaul has inventively used layered newspaper and cardboard as canvasses for her paintings; playing on the idea that newspapers are documents of current events that become history through time. “Water is the essence of life,” notes Gaul. “Rivers throughout history are the origin of where communities were formed. The Sammamish River is no exception.  It was the only “road” into richly dense forests that now are home to many people of many cultures.”

Gaul continues, “These artworks are half of the work I’ve been creating. I’ve collaborated with local artists/poets Megan Tanner, Laura Lee Bennett and Redmond Poet Laureate Michael Dylan Welch in creating a FREE community event at the Redmond Library on September 13th from 1-4PM where members of the community can come and paint their very own portrait of the Sammamish River to take home with them. There will also be a free haiku workshop where participants can learn how to write a haiku poem that expresses aspects of where they live.”

To view more about the opening on the 4Culture Project website click on this link www.sitespecificarts.org/project/portraits-of-a-river/.

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