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Artist leaps from canvas to radio
At more than six feet tall, Gloria towers over the woman adjusting her coat. She is metallic and striking, a maiden bearing words of peace in hundreds of languages on her sleeves, on her chest plate, in her hand.
At five feet tall, Catherine Foster gestures to the white feathers in Gloria's copper helmet. She is an artist, sending Gloria and other blazing messages of peace into the world. She weaves, she paints, she sculpts and works with sound.
And now, she's on the radio.
Foster broadcasts in her home office from beneath a dark fortress of blankets, strung to reduce echo. She is promoting creativity and educating others on how to make a living as an artist on "Art and Soul Radio," alongside co-host Sheryl Allen. The show features interviews and Q&A sessions with artists and art experts. Now in its third month, it remains directed at professionals, hobbyists and beginners alike.
"People are not quite aware of what artists give to the world," contended Foster. "Being creative and honoring our creativity is important."
Foster is a woman of experiments. She is petite, wearing a wickedly fun grin and sweater colorfully smudged by art projects past. She stands near a canvas taller and wider than she, and gives an off-hand remark on its creation: "This was a piece I did with a toothbrush." It depicts a stream flowing between rocks, grand, textured and speckled.
"Being an artist to me is constant exploration. Exploration of the world, who you are, relationships, even politics. The way that things come together," Foster explained.
She said the radio show was never in her plans, until she felt commissioned to remind people of the creativity inside them.
"I want to see something change in our society," she said.
She wants to help artists find a way to make a living with their work.
On a recent show, she and Allen talked with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based gallery owner J. Jason Horejs on how artists can approach galleries.
"It's not always easy but it is possible. It's the ones that are persistent and keep hanging their art," Foster said. "It's a matter of hanging in there."
Foster knows the drill well. Her art can be found in more than 20 galleries, from Washington to California, Texas to Florida. She has recently debuted in galleries in New York and LA. (See her work locally at Potlatch Gallery in Poulsbo.)
She is also shown in the book "Art for Obama," and was a finalist in the contest of the same name. Recently, she was given a grant from the Cultural Arts Foundation NW for her Peace Prevails project she created and showed in a Seattle gallery. Gloria is part of that project, as are several peace robes. (Find more examples at www.catherinefoster.com.)
She'd like to see schools put a bigger emphasis on art — normally a program prone to budget cuts early — as the mindset it encourages can be seen in almost any type of career, from architect to scientist to chef. Foster serves on the advisory board at Northwest College of the Arts.
She and Allen have also created the Red Nose Society, an organization to spread fun and laughter and support young artists. Listen live at 4 p.m. Mondays at www.artandsoulsite.com. Find out more on the Red Nose Society at www.rednosesociety.org.