Small-town friendliness mingles with international acclaim in the art scenes on Puget Sound's Whidbey and Camano islands.
“People don’t live here by accident. Artists choose this as the place they want to be, often after they’ve traveled all over the world,” says Sue Taves, director of Whidbey Life Magazine, an online arts and culture guide.
On Whidbey, Langley boasts more than a dozen galleries. Search for everything from contemporary paintings to handcrafted jewelry to joyous blown-glass creations at Museo, Brackenwood, Whidbey Art Gallery and Callahan’s Firehouse. Greenbank Farm—once covered by loganberries—now houses three excellent galleries, or check out exquisite block prints at Penn Cove Gallery in Coupeville and playful pottery pieces at Garry Oak Gallery in Oak Harbor.
Dozens of artists work out of studios that are hidden away on beaches or tucked in the woods. Head out on a personalized tour with a Whidbey Art Trail map for details about locales and visiting hours.
On Camano, the art scene merges into the scenery at the 10-acre Matzke Fine Art Gallery & Sculpture Park, where firs and big-leaf maples shelter works by 40 mostly Northwest artists. Every February, the Great Northwest Glass Quest offers hand-blown glass art as the gorgeous treasure in the Stanwood-Camano scavenger hunt. And every December, Camano Island Coffee Roasters turns into a holiday gift shop with goods crafted by local artisans.