With my brother Jed Dorsey’s upcoming show “Radiant Landscapes” opening next Saturday, October 5th, and the Camano Art Association’s first annual group show and launch of our new Patron’s Program the first weekend of November, I’m thinking these days about the importance of friends, collectors and patrons of art.

Steve and Cindy

I interviewed Cindy Sundberg to get her perspective on being an art patron. Cindy’s mom Vicki was a classmate with my mom (Stanwood High School class of 1964) and Cindy was a SHS classmate of my sister April. Cindy and her husband Steve have bought paintings of Jed and my mom at Sunnyshore. They are the first to sign up as part of CAA’s Patron’s Program.

Jason: Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Cindy: Steve and I were born and raised in the Stanwood/Camano community and both graduated from Stanwood High School. Our families have been a part of the S/C area for several generations. We moved to the Tri Cities in 1998 when Steve accepted a management position at the (then) newly-built Twin City Foods processing facility in Pasco. I had the good fortune of landing a position at Sigma Financial Group in Kennewick and have enjoyed 21 years with the company.  While I continue to work, Steve retired last year and stays busier than ever at home with a seemingly-endless “honey do” list and now our six-month old Saint Bernard, Knut. We still refer to Stanwood/Camano as “home” and return often to see family and friends.

Jason: What started you buying art, especially the art of local artists?

Cindy: Steve and I began buying more meaningful art, not necessarily local art, when we started traveling a little.  I think our first real painting was purchased in San José del Cabo shortly after we were married. Rather than haul home a bunch of trinkets to mark the trip, Steve suggested we buy one piece of art for our house that we could enjoy for years to come and remember our travels. (I think I still hauled home trinkets, but Steve was right!)  On a local level, our eyes were opened to all the amazing artists in the Stanwood/Camano area when we came home one weekend and stopped in at “Art By the Bay” up at the fairgrounds. Walking around looking at all the incredible artwork created locally sort of “clicked” for us and reinforced our desire to decorate our home with artwork that has meaning.

A wall of art in the Sundberg home

Jason: What is meaningful in having a connection to the artists/and/or the places they paint?

Cindy: There’s something comforting and joyful about knowing the story behind a particular painting or having a connection to the artist.  Paintings purchased while traveling are fun reminders of adventures, while pieces created by Stanwood/Camano artists can bring comfort and beautiful reminders of where we both grew up. Southeastern Washington is not devoid of art either and we’ve found some neat things here as well.  We don’t get that sort of “back story” or emotional attachment from ready-to-go art from box stores.

Steve and Cindy purchased an Ann Dorsey original at the May 2016 Studio Tour while Sunnyshore Studio was still being finished!

Jason: Why did you sign up for the CAA Patron’s Program?

Cindy: The Dorsey family and their mission to give back to the local art community is inspiring.  The Patron’s Program is a great way for non-artists to show support for the wonderful things happening on the Island and around Stanwood. And with several levels of support to choose from, the Patron’s Program is affordable for any art admirer.

Jason: What would you share with other “emerging patron’s” about the value of collecting art and supporting CAA’s colony of artists?

Cindy: Don’t hesitate to get started. If you’re unsure how to begin, start with simply catching an art tour or following social media to familiarize yourself with artists and their styles. The studio tours in May and “Art By the Bay” are incredible opportunities to see what’s happening in the area. The CAA talent is unbelievable and it costs nothing to appreciate it.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, talk to the artists, and just look around. It’s an ongoing learning experience. At some point, you’ll find “the one” and be ready to make that first purchase and you won’t regret it (you will regret the painting you didn’t buy when you return for it and it’s sold!).  

It’s a lot of fun to have someone ask about a painting in our home and we can give them a quick story about the artist or the location. For example, we have a really lovely painting in our dining room by Ann Cory.  How cool is it that I (Cindy) can say that Ann Cory Dodgson/Dorsey went to school with my Mom, I went to grade school with her daughter April, and the family has an incredible studio where we grew up?  Or that the couple John Ebner pieces in our living room are from this amazing guy who has a spectacular studio/gardens on Camano and you can see his studio and more each May when the island comes alive for the art tour?   It’s a real source of pride and a positive identity for the S/C community. Who wouldn’t want to support it?

Interested in joining the Camano Arts Association (CAA) Patron’s Program. Contact Jason Dorsey (317.209.6768). Join us for the launch of the Patron’s Program on Friday, November 1st. Ticket required.

Want to purchase local art? Shop at Jed Dorsey’s “Radiant Landscape” show at Sunnyshore Studio’s bricks and mortar or online gallery (October 5th-12). And at the Camano Art Association’s Premier Collection Show featuring 40+ local artists November 1-2 at the Camano Center.


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