Arts and Entertainment

Artists will defy gravity at second annual outdoor aerial fest

Lynelle Sjoberg and Leah Mann perform at last year’s Open Air event. - Jeff Dunnicliff Photo
Lynelle Sjoberg and Leah Mann perform at last year’s Open Air event.
— image credit: Jeff Dunnicliff Photo

Art and people will go flying through space this weekend at the Open Space for Arts & Community.

On Saturday, the venue will present its second annual edition of Open Air — an event organizers describe as a “light, bright outdoor aerial festival with a splash of circus.”

At the same time, audience members will be able to wander indoors to see an adventurous new site-specific sculpture installed in the Grand Hall of the Open Space building.

Open Air, scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Saturday, will take place in Open Space’s outdoor meadow, and if it is a clear day, audiences will get a majestic view of Mt. Rainier along with the afternoon’s entertainment.

Featured performers — veterans of Moisture Festival and Teatro Zinzanni — will include Kari Podgorski, who performs as the character Miss Sally Pepper. She’ll fly high above the crowd, performing on an trapeze apparatus called the cloud swing.

Cherie Carson, from San Francisco’s UpSwing Performance Company, will treat the audience to “Snowbirds,” a rope and harness piece featuring Elizabeth Milne-Kahn and Cara Zeisloft. The piece features stage magic including the illusion of real snow drifting down onto the stage.

Local aerialists Janet McAlpin, Lynelle Sjoberg, Lisa Elliot and David Godsey are also on the roster, along with students of all ages including Esther Edelman’s adult students and youth from the UMO School of Physical Arts.

Admission to the show is a suggested donation of $8 for adults and $3 for kids, but organizers said no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Attendees are encouraged to bring  blankets for seating, and picnic baskets are also welcome at the event.

On Sunday, guest artists Cherie Carson and Kari Podgorski will offer workshops for students age 12 an older, in rope and harness, and cloud swing for beginners, at Open Space.

The new site-specific sculpture, “No Conspiracy, It’s Reality,” will also be on view on Saturday, during “Open Air.”

The large-scale kinetic art sculpture, by artists Jon Carlson and Dave Olson, is inspired by Rube Goldberg. Open Space staffers promise thrills and chills for viewers as it descends from the space’s rafters, creating noise and excitement on a one-minute journey that features a zipline, bowling balls, chimes, a roller coast ramp, a teeter-totter, and an ascending planet Earth.

The artwork was commissioned by Open Space co-founded Janet McAlpin, and funded by a grant from King County’s 4Culture program for site-specific artworks.

“Performances” of the sculpture last approximately two minutes, after which time the sculpture will be reset for future performances.

Viewings will also take place on First Friday, Aug. 3.



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