This summer when I visited on Orcas Island, Washington, my sister took us to see a remarkable outdoor art gallery. The artist, Anthony Howe, works primarily in stainless steel, though he also uses copper and other mediums, some of which can be seen in his tiny indoor gallery. Many of Howe’s sculptures – I’m not certain that’s the correct word… “mobiles” perhaps, or “glorious wind chimes” might be better – hang from trees, and I had seen his work around town – my sister actually owns one – and been intrigued. I hadn’t realized, however, that he also has a fantastic outdoor Sculpture Garden with his non-hanging pieces and that people are free (literally, at no cost) to come and visit his fascinating works and experience all that his art has to offer.
Many – if not all – of his pieces have movable parts and his breezy location on the side of Double Hill with a fantastic view of Eastsound Bay is perfect to show off his art to the fullest. The movable parts are also “musical”, and it was never silent in the outdoor gallery due to the tinkling, spiraling, or blowing bits of metal on metal.
This kinetic gallery not only makes art physically accessible to people, but it also serves to introduce those who perhaps do not see themselves as art-lovers to a world where art and science collide. It pleases artists and engineers alike. It is impossible to see the moving, spinning, bouncing pieces without finding something to admire.
It was a fantastic hour of discovery for my kids. They learned to see themselves in new ways – through mirrored, movable mosaics, for example – and they saw how science and art can come together to give us magical and memorable moments.
If you are unable to visit Orcas Island and the Howe Art Gallery in person, never fear! His website is easily accessible and gives a full description of his works, history and philosophy. It also contains many photographs of his art and gives contact and ordering information. http://www.howeart.net