Need a pre-Christmas getaway to rest up after a big Thanksgiving family gathering? The San Juan Islands have a full slate of holiday events, with an added cultural bonus: opening of a shiny new art museum in Friday Harbor next week.
Friday, Dec. 5, the dramatically renovated new San Juan Islands Museum of Art opens its doors for a 7-week “soft opening” exhibition titled Unveiling: the Best of IMA Artists’ Registry, an annual showcase of island artists’ work in all media including painting, sculpture, wood, glass, jewelry, pottery, photography and textiles.
The building at 540 Spring St., formerly an emergency medical services center, has undergone a $3.25 million makeover, adding a soaring glass atrium and featuring three galleries and an artist workshop.
The opening comes the same day that Friday Harbor kicks off its Island Lights Festival, throwing the switch on 21,000 new lights wrapping limbs of the 60-foot elm trees planted in Memorial Park 92 years ago to commemorate fallen WWI veterans. Click here to find a full roundup of holiday events throughout the San Juans.
One captivating little event: the Dec. 11 Dance of the Elders, in which members of the local Latino community, dressed in colorful, ribbon-bedecked folk costumes, reenact a pre-Columbian ritual of their culture. Participants dance at the Port of Friday Harbor parking lot and then parade up Friday Harbor’s Spring Street carrying a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe to the Catholic Church on Price Street.