Arts and Entertainment

Olympic college gets art donation from Bremerton painter

Amy Burnett’s work “Cedar Run.” She plans to unveil something completely new this weekend. - Courtesy graphic
Amy Burnett’s work “Cedar Run.” She plans to unveil something completely new this weekend.
— image credit: Courtesy graphic

Local artist donates painting to OC library, unveils an exhibit of new work on First Friday.

Amy Burnett is at it again.

During yesterday’s First Friday Art Walk, she officially donated a piece of her work to the Olympic College Haselwood Library with a ceremony at her gallery in downtown Bremerton. Haselwood Library Dean Ruth Ross was there to accept. It was just part of a gallery-wide shindig that includes an exhibit of entirely new work from Burnett, a museum of Pyrex, new local artists on display and more.

Burnett said donating this art to the library is a way for her to say thank you for what they’ve done, both OC and the Haselwoods in particular.

“I really wanted to do this for Joanne (Haselwood)” she said, reflecting for a moment. “I just hope that it makes her smile.”

The piece is wonderfully titled for a library setting. It’s called “Blocked Communication.”

Think in spacial connotations.

It’s been decided that it will hang above the stairway in the library at OC. It’s been a donation long in the works, Burnett said, something she’s always wanted to do.

She’s an Olympic College double alumna, both as student and a teacher. She’s a fourth generation Bremertonian, a masters educated fine artist, community organizer and published writer. Her story is fairly well known.

A nationally shown, nationally known fine artist with work all over the country, she opened the Amy Burnett Gallery with the help of the community in 1991.

“This way I’ll be able to preserve the arts,” she said of the genesis of the gallery. “Always have a place for the arts in Bremerton.”

Unfortunately, that came at the cost of many prestigious showings around the country as she found how difficult it was to keep her art in good rotation in the gallery circuit while managing her own.

However, her gallery space, now on the corner of Fourth and Pacific, has indeed always been a harbor for arts, both for her own and other artists’ work, also in hosting dance troupes and providing storage space for the local puppet theater.

Recently, the Naval Museum —?the gallery’s former neighbor — moved to its new location, opening up more square feet in the gallery, which Burnett used in turn to rent out as studio space for an array of local artists.

“I had a lot of people who wanted to rent the space, but nothing that I thought really appropriate,” Burnett said.

That is until the thought of studio space arose. The basement of the place is perfect.

Painter Mary Doyle and jazzman/guitar teacher Bub Pratt share a checker-floored studio at the bottom of the stairs in between another artist studio on one side and a temporary exhibit — The Paper Bag Museum —?on another. Wicked mixed media artist Juan Rodriguez’s studio is at the far end. Upstairs, through Burnett’s space on the main floor of the gallery, there is the studio of Mozzelle.

“This whole building is kind of an installation,” Burnett said.

And it’s all going to be on display for big First Friday party, the biggest of the year some are saying. It’s the debut of a new exhibit of Burnett’s new work in the side gallery called Shapes of Nothing.

A subtly radical change with great potential either way, it’s Amy Burnett in complete aesthetic abstraction. Which is a bold exploration for an artist whose subject symbolism, imagery and character emotion have been so strong.

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