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Cindy and Steve Sundberg – Patrons of Art

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.


Five Reasons to Buy Original Art From Living Artists

Here are ten reasons that you should buy original art from living artists.

1. A painting is a thing of beauty forever

You should buy a painting because it strikes you with beauty, evokes a deep longing, moves your heart to ache or smile, reminds you of a place, tells you a truth, etc. In other words, you should buy art that hits your heart like beauty can. In purchasing art, beauty is really in the eye of the beholder. What matters is that it has to be beautiful to you. Buying a painting is very different than eating a meal. You have to eat to live. But you don’t have to buy art, ever, to live. You can live your whole life without buying one artwork. It is always a free choice to buy an artwork. And usually because of the price of art, and because money doesn’t grow on trees, we have to think twice about buying it. That is actually good. Because just thinking about buying art forces you to ask the question of values. What do you value? What will you spend your money on? And why? Many people, like myself, have come to the conclusion that beauty matters. And that making the investment in bringing a beautiful painting into our home is a good investment. Not because we expect the painting to go up in value, although that is a good thing when it does, but because we value bringing beauty in our home.

2. A painting connects you to a place

The older I get the more I see how much place matters to people. The places where we grew up, the places where we live (or have lived) awaken and evoke powerful love and longing. Artists, for the most part, tend to be rooted in a place and their art tied to those places. T.C. Steele is known for his Indiana Landscapes, Heaton Cooper with his beautiful watercolors of the Lake District in England, Andrew Wyeth’s paintings come were inspired by two places, the Brandywine Valley around Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and the area near his home in Cushing, Maine. Many of us can’t live in the places we love, but we can buy art that evoke the feel, moods, smells, and glories of those places.

3. Artworks can become friends and travel with you through life.

There is very little in this world that you can take with you when you move to a new place. You can’t take your old house. You can’t bring your friends. Moving involves saying goodbye to your house and friends. But books and art can go with you. I experienced this when we moved from Indianapolis, IN to Redmond, WA. We said goodbye to a beautiful, 3,000+ square foot home in a historic district and moved into a small apartment. We said goodbye to friends that we had walked with, some for thirteen years. But we brought my books and our paintings with us. Many of the paintings we had bought while in Indy where the church I pastored shared space with art studios and galleries. Some had been given to us by artist friends as gifts. Each painting represented a person, a story, a place that mattered. I wrote about that here. The painting above is one of my friends. It was painted by Jan Zoya, and it reminds me of the water and sky at night and evokes deep emotions.

You should invest in collecting art, just like you invest in friendship. And maybe the tie between friendship and art is even stronger: many of us will purchase art from people with whom we are friends, or our purchase of artwork will bring us into a closer relationship with the artist.

4. Buying art supports artists. Period.

It is extremely hard to make a living as an artist. There is a reason for the “starving artist” term. My dad made it as a professional artist for ten years. Then to provide for our family he took a job at Boeing. I tell that story here: When you purchase art, you not only encourage the artist by valuing their creative work, but in a very practical way you support their livelihood and their family. There has always been a symbiotic relationship between artists and their friends, collectors and patrons. Artists create beauty and tell truth and even take their stand against the purely pragmatic and functional realities of life saying by their existence and work – creativity matters! Beauty matters! Art matters! Stories matter! Place matters! By purchasing their artwork, friends, collectors and patrons stand with them, support them, and create communities where artists and creativity can thrive, which is good for all of us. We need each other to thrive.

5. Art is an investment in your kids

Really. I mean this. Our kids had the advantage of growing up in a home with artwork on the walls. For thirteen years they roamed the church I pastored in Indianapolis that shares space with a cultural organization that ran four galleries, 35+ artist studios, and monthly art openings in the facility: My kids have watched, and helped, Jenny and I run Sunnyshore Studio which was built to showcase our family of artists. In a word, they have grown up around art and artists. That is a good thing. They have access to art. They know artists. They have learned to value it. Art, books, music, film can be important parts of the development of your children, just like sports and doing their chores are. Here’s one example of how.

My dad, Jack Dorsey, was drawn into being an artist by spending hours looking at the artwork of Grady Spurgeon. I tell this story in Jack Dorsey: Sketch of an Artist.

“Jack’s Uncle Norm and Aunt Marion were an important influence in his development as an artist. They lived above Northgate in Seattle, and Jack’s family visited their home often. Grady Spurgeon, who worked as an illustrator for a printing company and who was also a fine artist, was a family friend and many of his beautiful oil and watercolor paintings hung in their home… Jack still remembers ‘a striking painting of a rapids in the Cascades, another one of birches with reflections, and one of a night scene looking out over water with reflections.’”

Those paintings were engraved in my dad’s memory, they stirred in him a love for beauty and maybe even a desire to be an artist himself.

Why keep your walls bare? Why not invest in beauty for yourself, and your children after you?

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