Captain Jacques Cousteau once said, “We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.”
And to help remind us, the Lincoln City Cultural Center will be hosting “Source2” on Friday, Aug. 9 — a unique event gushing with H2O-centered artistry including sculpture, paintings, stories, science, speakers, dance and more.
Organizers describe “Source2” as an inspirational call to action in understanding our relationship and responsibility to protect living water: clean streams, flowing rivers, vibrant lakes and vast oceans — like the one that is a major life source here on the coast, the mighty Pacific.
“What could be more important than the health of our water systems — in us, around us, through us, all the time?” said cultural center Executive Director Niki Price. “Water is like a goddess and a way of looking at the world, and I think that these speakers and performances will bring the audience together in a very special way.”
The free event is a collaboration between the cultural center and artists Liisa Rahkonen and Sandra Roumagoux. The pair worked together on a project through Oregon State University in 2017 called “Source,” which concentrated on the environment.
“Source2” begins with a 5 pm reception and exhibition of their work in the cultural center’s PJ Chessman Gallery, offering the chance to mingle with the artists and enjoy light appetizers and wine.
While Rahkonen’s seasoned career has primarily focused on painting, she’ll be showing a series of raw and emotive ceramic sculptures of birds, fish and animals dependent on clean water for survival at the “Source2” exhibit.
“A common denominator for all life on this planet is the need for clean water,” Rahkonen said. “And works of art often move people in unexplainable ways into action or at least activate new levels of awareness about how vulnerable we are on this Earth, at this moment. Perhaps ‘Source2’ is a mirror of our excesses.”
The exhibit will also include Rahkonen’s traveling and interactive installation, “BLame and EXcuse” or “BLEX.” The ceramic green bear cub in a nest of sticks and twigs was inspired during a meditation to promote healing and reflection.
“BLEX” participants are invited to write a blame, excuse or blessing on a piece of paper and secure it around a stick. The message stick is inserted back into the nest, where it will remain until the end of the show. When “Source2” ends in September, the sticks will be gathered and burned so the messages are released.
“I’ve been using this little bear for years,” Rahkonen said. “I’ve taken her to a friend who is dying… and he wrote six [messages] and released them, as well as the hospice nurses. People have the need to have these feelings and have these personal things that we want to release. So, this little bear has become very powerful.”
Roumagoux’s work on display will include powerful oil paintings with dark tones and implications. She is a regionalist painter, targeting environmental and social concerns.
“I focus on our culture’s abuse of the environment, our love affair with greed, our throwaway consumerism and our sanitizing of violence,” Roumagoux said.
Born in Yakima, Washington, and raised on a farm in the Willamette Valley, Roumagoux was a three-term mayor of Newport until January 2019. During her tenure, she spent time concentrating on water issues in the area regarding dams and reservoirs.
“I’ve been called political,” she said. “But, I don’t know how to separate politics from art. Both ask something of us, something that challenges us to a responsibility. Painter or politician, we come as candidates. We want our message to resonate with the body politic, with the voters. We make promises.”
Presentations, speakers and performances begin at 7 pm in the cultural center auditorium. The agenda includes:
• Duncan Berry — photographer, entrepreneur and leader in the Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve Conservancy
• Elizabeth Wilson — Board member and longtime instructor for Peace Village Global and an international instructor in Peace and Social Justice through Pacific University
• Jerri Bartholomew — Glass artist, professor and head of the Department of Microbiology at Oregon State University, who will speak on the health of rivers
• Dancers from the cultural center ballet program, led by Diane Christiansen, performing to “Time to Swim” by the Shook Twins
• A recorded interview with Agnes Baker Pilgrim, also known as “Grandma Aggie,” of the Takelma and Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.
The “Source2” live program is a one-time event. However, the art exhibit will be on display through Monday, Sept. 9. Most of the work displayed will be available for purchase.
The Lincoln City Cultural Center is located at 540 NE Hwy. 101. Gallery hours are 9 am to 5 pm Wednesday to Monday. For more information, call 541-994-9994.