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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

Peninsula Art League + Summer Art Festival

Bringing community to the artist and art to the community

By Lisa Sweo Eul


For over three decades, the Peninsula Art League (PAL) has supported and nurtured the area’s diverse artistic community. Today, PAL’s membership includes nearly 200 artists who work in every imaginable medium—painters, sculptors, photographers, potters, jewelry designers, calligraphers, glass and fiber artists, and writers. Many are professionals. For others, art is a soul-satisfying hobby.

PAL’s mission is to bring community to the artist and art to the community. PAL brings community to Pierce and Kitsap County artists through meetings where we share ideas and explore new techniques, workshops, art exhibitions and education. PAL brings art to the community through the Summer Art Festival, art exhibits, learning experiences and the funding of adult and high school senior scholarships to promote the study of art.

“Through art, we help bind people to the community and to each other,” says Colette Smith, president of Peninsula Art League. “PAL has created and is committed to a strategic plan emphasizing community and partnerships in bringing art and people together to share and promote creativity. In bringing our 37th Summer Art Festival to beautiful downtown Gig Harbor, we are thrilled to again partner with the City of Gig Harbor and Timberland Bank, our long-standing platinum supporters, and welcome and thank our new supporting sponsor, Red Lion Inn & Suites of Port Orchard. We are also proud to announce that PAL is a recipient of a Community Accelerator Grant funded by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and awarded by ArtsFund! This gift will accelerate PAL’s efforts as an arts and cultural organization in the Puget Sound area.”

One of the biggest ways PAL brings art to the community is by sponsoring the Summer Art Festival. Now in its 37th year, this annual juried festival is held on Judson Street in beautiful historic downtown Gig Harbor, just a block from the waterfront. It is an opportunity to see art, make art and buy art—packed with an amazing lineup of 120 artists from around the Pacific Northwest and around the country producing handmade and original artwork. Immerse your family in fun art activities, a literary corner for authors and illustrators, listen to local bands while enjoying food from local food vendors, enjoy the kid’s corner and a local art show by PAL members.

Expanded music at this year’s Summer Art Festival includes seven bands at the main stage playing throughout the festival. The wonderful selection of food vendors will be right at hand so that you can eat while you are listening to the lineup. Barbeque, pizza, hot dogs, kettle corn, smoothies, cannoli, and waffles on a stick round out the food choices. In addition, there will be a number of local artists demonstrating their process. Local artist Steve Hammond will be demonstrating scratchboard art—where a scraper tool is used to craft a beautiful picture. With a handful of highlights, Steve can create a work that draws you in and keeps you looking. All of these experiences make the Summer Art Festival one of the most anticipated festivals of the year in Gig Harbor.

Proceeds from the Summer Art Festival are used to fund $12,000 in scholarships to art students from Gig Harbor, Peninsula, Henderson Bay and South Kitsap County high schools, to fund scholarships to PAL members continuing their artistic learning, and to fund art shows, workshops and other educational programs for Gig Harbor and surrounding areas.

PAL holds a contest every year for local high school art students to design the Summer Festival poster. PAL members select the winning drawing, collage or painting that best conveys the idea of Gig Harbor as an artsy, creative place. PAL is pleased to announce its 2023 winner is Jack Sanford from Henderson Bay High School with his painting, “Cosmic Fish.”

PAL also sponsors an Open Juried Show in the fall. PAL’s 21st Open Juried Show will be held at the Harbor History Museum, October 6 through December 1, 2023. Mark your calendars for this beautiful show.

To keep up with all Peninsula Art League activities and other art activities in the area, be sure to subscribe to PAL’s monthly digital newsletter online through their website,

We hope to see you July 15 and 16 at the Gig Harbor Summer Art Festival!

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