Carver and Artist

Adam McIsaac, carver and artist for the new Gathering Place at Washuxwal, will be the featured speaker at the Camas-Washougal Historical Society presentation on Saturday, February 23, 2 pm at the Camas Police Station Community Room.  The community is welcome.

The Gathering Place is an outdoor pavilion being constructed at the Two Rivers Heritage Museum by the CWHS to help bring history to life through storytelling and serve as a unique backdrop to host educational and community programs.

The structure will be constructed with traditionally used cedar logs and be reminiscent of the Columbia River Native American plank house.  The carved art by McIsaac will adorn the ridgepoles, telling stories of the rich history found along the shores of the Columbia River.

“The Gathering Place is currently in Phase I of the project, the construction stage,” said Jim Cobb, CWHS President. “In order for us to get started nearly $180,000 was raised thanks to many generous CWHS members, community friends, in kind donations and grants.  Cedar logs are waiting to go up!” The project is entering Phase II, focused on the artistic and storytelling development to adorn the structure.

McIsaac will bring samples and renderings of the artistic work he is doing for the Gathering Place to his presentation which is open to members and the community.  An update will be given by the Gathering Place Committee and there will be an opportunity to support this exciting new phase of the project.

The museum is set to reopen from its winter break on Friday, March 1.  Regular hours are Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through the end of October.  An Open House will be held on Saturday, March 2, from 11am to 3pm with half price admission and free for members.  A Re-opening ceremony will start at 1 p.m. offering updates on what’s new at the Museum and the new Gathering Place.

Museum admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $2 for students and free for children under 5 and all Camas/ Washougal Historical Society members. Call 360-835-8742 for more information or to schedule group tours any day of the week.

Adam McIsaac

Adam McIsaac bio:

From an early age, Adam McIsaac he has been rooted in the ways of the Pacific Northwest.  The son of a fisheries biologist, he spent his formative years walking the forests and riverbanks of the Pacific Northwest absorbing the environmental riches abundant in this area.  As Adam grew older, his connection to the Northwest manifested itself in a keen interest in the ways of northwest aboriginal cultures.  Adam spent years studying and learning aboriginal life skills, passing this knowledge on as a teacher at well-known survival and aboriginal life classes throughout the Northwest.  It is from this background that Adam’s passion for Northwest Coast Indian Art emerged.

Determined to refine his skills as an artist, Adam sought the guidance of world-renowned Northwest Coast artist, Duane Pasco.  In an intensive understudy with Pasco, Adam’s artwork flourished, Adam gained considerable expertise in the art and culture of the Pacific Northwest and learned to make his own traditional tools that he used to create the centerpiece of his studies.  Above all, Adam began what has proven to be a lifelong quest to understand and bring recognition to this unique form of art.

Over the last 12 years, Adam’s current focus has been on the art and culture of the Chinookan speaking peoples of the Columbia River valley, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the Dalles, Oregon.  Inspired by their local artistry, Adam has incorporated Columbia River designs into traditional panels displayed at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA and customary house posts standing at Blue Lake State Park in Oregon.  Adam also played a large part in the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial for his ambitious role as head carver at the Cathlapotle Plank house in Ridgefield, WA. Through his goal in educating the people of this area in this indigenous art form Adam erected a ten-foot tall power figure as a mascot, The Navigator, at Columbia Valley Elementary School and carved panels for Portland State University. His love for the environment led to his contribution to the architectural splendor at the newly completed Port of Portland building that was named among the world’s greenest buildings.

Adam has also found much fulfillment in working with and learning from the local Natives.  This is just yet another outlet where he can continue his goal in helping to revitalize the art of the Columbia River peoples.  Adam’s artwork is respected worldwide and has become known as an iatrical part of local communities.

Adam’s true passion is to recreate accurately the artwork of the Northwest Coast as a means of bringing recognition to their culture and elaborate art form.  All of Adam’s artwork adheres to the strict tribal standards seen in historical Northwest Coast art and reflects its overall sophistication.  Through this diligence, Adam brings the beauty and refinement of Northwest Coast art to all that seek it.

See more about Phase II at The Gathering Place


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