Richard Sears, a bronze sculptor with Primary Elements Gallery, and his 9-year-old daughter, Madelynn Sears make a good team.
During the Stormy Weather Arts Festival earlier this month, the two Happy Valley residents spent much of the festival in the gallery selling their respective pieces.
Although 12 artists demonstrated their work, Madelynn Sears turned out to be the gallery’s best-selling artist that weekend.
While keeping her dad company, Madelynn sat in a foyer chair and nimbly wove multicolored rubber band bracelets with her loom kit, selling them for $1 each.
“Instead of sitting there watching her dad work, she took the initiative in selling her own,” gallery owner Stephanie Ansley said.
For the 27th annual arts festival, held Nov. 7 through 9, more than a dozen Cannon Beach galleries introduced locals and visitors to the work of Pacific Northwest artists, the well-established and the rising talents.
To Madelynn’s left was a basket of finished bracelets, each one representing about an hour and half of work. An orange-and-black bracelet symbolizing Halloween lay in the small pile next to a green-and-red Christmas bracelet. Yet another was red, white and blue. Crazy color combinations abounded.
On the second day, a woman entered Primary Elements, scanned the wall-to-wall profusion of artwork and came close to leaving with nothing. Then she spotted a bracelet Madelynn had fashioned out of green and yellow bands and immediately thought of her two children who had graduated from the University of Oregon — just as the young artist intended, Richard Sears said.
The mother bought the bracelet on the spot to give to one of her UO graduates.
“You could tell it was a very important thing to her (the mother),” Richard Sears said. “Her exact words, verbatim, were, “This is my first Christmas present of the year.’”
Madelynn, a shy girl of few words, ended up selling 37 bracelets that day and seven more on Sunday. The enterprising child upstaged the demonstrating artists, Ansley said.
Making bracelets is “fun to do in my spare time,” she said, adding that when she sells a bracelet, “it makes me happy.”
During the weekend, her dad sold a bronze falcon sculpture for $1,500. Depicting a sleek bird of prey perched on a rocky base, the piece — about 12 inches tall, 5 inches wide and 11 inches from beak to tail — went to a couple from Olympia, Wash., while father and daughter were having lunch together.
“What a great weekend it was. I had such fun with her,” Richard Sears said. “It was one of those weekends that neither of us will ever forget.”
Sometimes children younger and less well-behaved than Madelynn Sears cannot be taken into galleries, where expensive yet breakable objects and free wine present perfect opportunities for mischief.
“Kids and art galleries maybe don’t go together,” said Elaine Murdy-Trucke, executive director of the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum.
For the last two Stormy Weathers, Murdy-Trucke has put on an event that parents could bring their kids to: a trivia scavenger hunt through the museum.
Participants pick up a sheet of 10 trivia questions and roam through the museum finding the answers. They cannot use their cell phones or the Internet, or ask museum staff for answers.
“It’s designed specifically to encourage people to really look at the exhibits and, hopefully, take something away from it and learn a little something that they didn’t know,” she said.
The question sheets range from easy to hard; Murdy-Trucke tends to hand out the easier questionnaires to visitors, the more difficult sheets to long-time locals. Questions include: When did Lewis and Clark come upon Cannon Beach (1806)? What does the native Alaskan word “Tolovana” mean (“Two sticks”)? When did an Alaskan tsunami hit Cannon Beach (1964)?
Sometimes Murdy-Trucke throws in questions purely for entertainment, like: What year was duct tape invented (1942)? “It’s just a random date, but I just love that it’s in the museum,” she said.
Correctly answering all 10 questions on a single sheet results in a prize: either a bag of candy donated from Bruce’s Candy Kitchen, a soy candle from Cannon Beach Wicks or a museum shirt.
The trivia scavenger hunt was more challenging than Mary Leonard and Don Marshall, from Auburn, Wash., thought it would be. “It makes it interactive,” Marshall said.
“When I come to a museum, I want to immerse myself in what they have to share,” Leonard said.
Liz Johnson, the museum archivist, tallied 84 participants during the weekend.
“This is the most fun I’ve ever had working here,” she said. “People are happy, and they learn so much about Cannon Beach.”
Though the final numbers are still forthcoming, the Stormy Weather Arts Festival 2014 raised approximately $9,500 total for the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce, said Jim Paino, the administrative assistant.
More than 130 people attended the Nov. 7 Art in Action event at the Surfsand Resort Ballroom. Six artists did demos and sold their work; half of the proceeds went to the chamber. Coupled with the silent auction, the event brought in almost $6,500.
The Saturday night concert at the Coaster Theatre, featuring Cooper and the Jam, had about 160 attendees and netted about $1,800, said Courtland Carrier, the chamber’s executive director. Additional money came from paintings sold by David Jonathan Marshall, an artist with Modern Villa Gallery.
The arts festival took in less money than last year, which saw about $11,000 in profit. The money is reinvested into planning and promoting future chamber functions, Paino said.