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Diamond in the rough 

& & by Sheri Boggs & &

Although the name of the new show at the SFCC Art Gallery is "JEWEL," there's not a single sapphire, garnet or peridot in sight. There are no earrings, bracelets or rings and only one necklace. There are a few tiaras, but they're not the kind of thing you'd expect to see perched on the heads of prom royalty any time soon. Instead, "Jewel" is an exhibit of diverse works in metal by a selection of artists with at least one thing in common.

"A lot of these artists come from a jewelry background, but they're not necessarily doing jewelry anymore," says Tom O'Day, director of the SFCC Art Gallery. "We had requests from the faculty to do a jewelry show, but it was interesting how, when the slides and pieces started coming in, a lot of these artists weren't really doing jewelry with their work anymore."

The show's one necklace is Spokane artist Maury Cain's "Firewood Necklace," a circular constellation of tiny beautiful cross sections of firewood. Although most of the pieces are about the size of a pinky fingernail, Cain still captures every split, every fiber, every uneven surface of his humble subject.

Another Spokane artist, Jody Sahlin makes delicate structures of wood and metal that could be miniature sculptures as easily as they could be thoroughly modern brooches. Sahlin and Cain are the only two artists from the Spokane area to be included in the show.

The other artists hail from around the Pacific Northwest, and of them, several incorporate a narrative quality in their work. Northern California artist Marilyn Da Silva uses metal as a small element in her mostly wood, gesso and paint constructions. In "The Lesson" and "The Emperor's Nightingale," carved wooden birds, metal elements and the play of shadow and light are the stuff of childhood fairy tales.

Some of the most abstract pieces in the show are Portland artist Christine Clark's amorphous wire forms. Using the same techniques as woven wire basketry, Clark's figures only slightly resemble human or animal shapes and are made even more mysterious by what she does with the space inside. Several partially encase bone-like forms of concrete, encaustic wax and paint, others, like the catlike "Bound and Destined," hold dried, dark purple seaweed.

The pieces that will most likely generate the most buzz are Seattle artist Nancy Worden's unconventional tiaras. Her "Good Manners" series incorporates copper, silver and found objects. While "Hospitality" is adorned with copper asparagus and crab shells, "Charity" has for the points of its crown a row of elegant gold arms, each holding a dime. "Politically Correct" is festooned with vices, or warnings against such. Fur, dice, bones and other items of ill repute make this a particularly fetching tiara.

"These are fun pieces," says O'Day. "The series is owned by the Seattle Arts Commission, and the artist decided to interpret some of the things Seattle has become famous for."

"Jewel" continues at the SFCC Art Gallery

through March 16. Artist reception: Friday, March 9,

from 5:30-7:30 pm. Call: 533-3710.

No Time Like the Present

The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture is within reach of finishing its $28 million expansion project in Browne's Addition, but it still needs the help of the community to cross the finish line. At stake is a $300,000 CHALLENGE GRANT from the Kresge Foundation.

"When the Kresge Foundation gives a grant, it's always issued on a challenge basis," says Ann Price, capital campaign director for the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. "In our case, we need to complete our fund-raising efforts to receive the grant."

The Kresge Foundation is an independent, private foundation, which gives capital gifts nationwide that are instrumental in the finishing stages of major projects.

"Their donations are almost always contingent on helping organizations finish their fund-raising efforts," says Price. "And the second part of that is in doing so, they help organizations broaden their fund-raising base."

Price points out that now is the time for the community to become involved, if they haven't already done so. The museum will need to generate a little more than $300,000 to match the grant.

"This is really the public's museum; any gift in any amount helps," says Price. "We want the public to know that with every donation made, they're literally buying pieces of the new museum."

Donations can be mailed to the temporary offices of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture at 1020 W. Riverside, Spokane, Wash., 99201. Call: 456-3931.

Going to a Garden Party

The SPRING AUCTION at the Spokane Art School has always been a highly anticipated event, but in years past has often gone to the birds. For the past few years, the auction has revolved around a birdhouse theme, but this year, that's set to change.

"We decided that, generally, birds have pretty good homes around here and that it's time to branch out a little," says Sue Ellen Heflin, director of the Spokane Art School.

Highlights of this year's event include a necklace of handmade beads fashioned by the Spokane Jeweler's Guild, a garden tool holder by Ken Spiering, and a six-foot-tall seed packet, which actually includes dinner for four, a garden tour and a garden slide show.

& & & lt;i & The Garden Party Auction is at the Spokane Art School on Saturday, March 3, at 6 pm. Tickets: $30; $25 members. Call: 328-0900. & lt;/i & & lt;/center &

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