After Dark At The Art Lounge
ART: Earlier this month while perusing events and comments about local happenings,when I happened upon a post about internationally-acclaimed musicians headlining in La Conner. While La Conner has earned a reputation as a summertime getaway brimming with galleries, restaurants, and art shows, you are less likely to see many folks out and about past the dinner hour during the off-season. That is, until discovering Que Sera Art Lounge.
So, the very next Friday I set out for Que Sera Gallery, a fine arts, music, and wine bar, known to locals as the Art Lounge. Appropriately tucked in between the Museum of Northwest Art and Nell Thorn Restaurant, proprietor Dave Cassera has reinvented his premiere gallery into a hip, artsy, living room-vibe salon space.
The theme in Dave’s eclectic gallery is Modernist with a strong influence of Pacific Northwest art history. You immediately get a sense of the overlying international representation from Oceania, Americas, Asia, SE Asia, and Africa, paired with a mix of contemporary and modern art. Local work is represented by well-known and respected artists such as Janet Laurel, Greg Walsh, Roger Small, Barbara Summers, Alex Kargopoltsev, and Jack Gunter, to name a few. I would be remise if I failed to mention the other prominent artists whose names appear in the space including, Guy Anderson (considered the Picasso of the Northwest), Kenneth Callahan (muralist, writer), Mark George Tobey (Abstract Expressionist painter), Morris Graves (American Transcendentalist painter), and Richard Gilkey (American (of Skagit Valley) painter), all of whom have a connection to the inspiration found in First Nations and Asian Art.
MUSIC: Later that evening musician, composer, and poet Andre Feriante was to be surrounded by an enthusiastic crowd at the Art Lounge. Dave says the relationship came into being when he ran into Andre at The Conway Muse. They started chatting about their shared interests and in the next moment Andre was scheduled to play in La Conner. “Andre is really good at what he does, he fits in with the finer things in this gallery,” Dave proudly noted.
Andre, a Segovia-trained guitarist who performed his first concert in Rome in 1979, has an enviable command of inspiring arrangements presented through the intentional vibrations of exceptional stringed instruments. Performing to huge crowds in spaces like Benaroya Hall, Frye Art Museum, the Paramount, and Key Arena, you get some idea of just how fortunate we all were to experience this internationally acclaimed musician and feel his passion and innate musicality pulsating through Spanish and Italian guitar, ukulele, banjo, song, and spoken word.
But there’s this whole other side of Andre that should not be overlooked. A modern-day man, he has shared the stage with bands like Alice In Chains, Northwest Symphony, and Heart. Releasing over 14 albums, Andre is the director of the Guitar Euphoria Fest in Leavenworth, and is frequently heard on-air as the host of La Guitarra (King FM Arts Channel).
Andre suggested the Day of Love Concert be performed at the Art Lounge on Valentine’s Day. (This is the same series performed by Andre 18 years running at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall.) An evening of flamenco guitar, poetry, and art will be paired with dinner from neighboring Nell Thorn, wine, and of course… with a whole lot of love! I strongly suggest making your reservation right away.
You get the sense by now that Cassera, a bicoastal art collector, gallery owner, and music insider, is well connected in “the biz”. While he says he has always hosted musicians in his space (reminiscing of days when Lane Fernando, Ben. Starner, and Geoffrey Castle would drop in), he is “happy to be back to it” with the things he likes to do – pay musicians who enjoy playing in a very groovy space. Check out Dave’s site for more information about his gallery and follow him on Facebook for the latest on his upcoming events.
Sandra Benton is the founder and publisher of Skagit Art Music – The SAM Project. As an inspired artist, writer, and fledgling ukulele player, Sandra combines her background in business development and marketing with her life-long appreciation for the arts to shine a light on the amazing portal of creativity flowing throughout the Skagit region. To connect with Sandra, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.