The Pacific Northwest is no doubt one of the most beautiful places to live, and is the home of many artists, writers, and other creative professionals. With the inspirational beauty of the rivers, ocean, mountains, valleys, and beaches, it is no wonder that the north coast of Oregon and Southern Washington are the home of so many creative people. These are just some of the reasons that three local artists have been drawn to make their homes here in Astoria. Artists, Heather Clement and Tammy von Payens, and writer and photographer, Dr. Catherine Al-Meten, the founders of the Northwest Creative Outreach, have begun this collaborative venture built on their shared vision and dreams to create a center to provide space and support for artists, writers, poets, sculptors, weavers, muscicians, and and other creative professionals.
Clement, von Payens, and Al-Meten, have formed The Northwest Creative Outreach, an umbrella organization to provide a network of community-based art collaborations. They are laying the groundwork to begin their first year in operation of its Astoria Center for the Arts. In addition to supporting other artists and writers, NWCO’s Astoria Center for the Arts is designed to be a community center for the arts and arts education. Offering classes, workshops, retreats, exhibits, outreach arts education, and other creative activities, the NWCO, Astoria Center for the Arts’ goal is to inspire the ongoing development and preservation of traditional arts, oral and living history, narratives and storytelling, and local identity.
Tammy von Payens and her family have lived in Astoria for a number of years. Tammy has been active in Astoria’s community, volunteering for the local hospice, managing the Coffee Girl Cafe, and supporting local art and artists. An artist and musician, Tammy is interested in using her background in social work and art therapy to create programs where children of all ages can explore and develop their creative imaginations and talents. Her zest for life and deep commitment to her life as an artist as well as her devotion to her family, make her perspective and commitment to the arts and the community, one of the foundational supports for the Northwest Creative Outreach’s Astoria Center for the Arts. Tammy says, “I am continually amazed at the number of artists/writers/musicians in our part of the Northwest. I myself have grown tremendously with the support and influence of local artisans, and also from the energy/history of this area. The support artists can give to one another, and extend into the community, is a powerful thing. Everyone benefits from coming together to share, learn and educate.”
Heather Clement, grew up here and graduated from Astoria High School. After being away from the area for a number of years, Heather has returned to Astoria, bringing with her a wealth of experience, expertise, and artitistic talent. During her time away, she studied Anthropology, Archaeology and Art before attending graduate school for Archaeology and Art Therapy. Museum Exhibition, Archival Research, Educational Outreach and Special Education teaching positions populate her resume. Most recently, she lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico where whe worked in the Georgia O’Keefe Art Museum. Heather wants too be able to make a difference in the lives of youth growing up in Astoria, as well as to support community cultural and artistic endeavors. She says, “I look forward to creating a space for artists and writers of all ages to convene,converse, and construct a vibrant and thriving center for the arts in Astoria.”
Dr. Catherine Al-Meten says that “I have been a freelance writer and photographer for over 10 years.Since starting my own artists and writers collaborative in Monterey, California, I have been working with artists, writers, photographers healers, and other creative professionals on a number of collaborative ventures, including participating in the Monterey County’s Open Studio Tours, First Friday events in Pacific Grove, Monterey, Salinas, and Carmel. It was while living in Monterey and commuting to San Francisco weekly, that I began to envision a collaborative connection among artists, writers, musicians, poets, and other professional artists. My roots here in the Pacific Northwest, and a number of projects related to the region, brought me home. I chose to make my home in Astoria in part because I have family here and in part because I can live and work on the river and near the sea which I love so much. The community is alive with creative excitement, Tammy, Heather and I have a shared vision of creating a space and community for creating a sustainable life for other artists and writers and providing much-needed arts education to people of all ages in our communities. We also seek to support the ongoing development and education of those in our community who have so much to teach, offer, and share with other.”
Our dream of a collaborative arts center, has become a reality, and we are seeking the ideas and support of those of you in the community who understand the importance of supporting our local artists, writers, and creative professionals as well as providing a vibrant and nourishing center for all the creative arts. We encourage you to visit our website, contact us with your ideas and suggestions, and keep watching to see how our new venture develops.
For more information or to share your ideas, you may contact Heather Clement, Tammy .von Payens, and Dr. Catherine Al-Meten at firstname.lastname@example.org.