Arts & Entertainment

Urban Sketchers exhibit features local landmarks

The 509 Urban Sketchers and Painters group is holding its first art exhibition this month at Cheese Louise deli, 619 The Parkway in Richland.

What's unique about this show is that the scenes the sketchers will feature are all Tri-City landmarks.

"We are not a fine art group, thought some of the members are fine art artists," said member Jim Bumgarner. "We are simply a group of people who head out a couple times a month to record the people, places, events and things of the Tri-Cities and surrounding areas, in primarily sketch format."

He adds that another thing the group wants to achieve is to demonstrate that art can be "relaxing, joyful, social and something where one's skill levels are not of primary concern."

Bumgarner says local artists in the Tri-Cities share a similar plight as the 19th century French artists, who tried unsuccessfully to get their work shown in Paris galleries.

"They eventually branched out on their own and became what we know today as the Impressionists," he said. "My point is simply that there is more art in the Tri-Cities than what one finds on the walls at the Allied Arts Gallery.

"And there is an art movement afoot throughout the world today called the urban sketcher."

Bumgarner first heard about the global sketching phenomenon a few years ago when California artist Enrico Casarose came up with the idea of sketch crawling after an evening of pub crawling with his friends.

"He'd been out pub crawling with friends and woke up the next morning thinking how much fun it might be to get some of his artist friends to go out on marathon sketch crawls," Bumgarner said.

Instead of arming themselves with pints of beer, the artists would be carrying paint, brushes and canvases.

The exhibition continues through October.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;