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Exhibit Overview Art Exhibit Program and Event Schedule Elwha Resources River Story Photos
Exhibit Overview Art Exhibit Program & Event Schedule Additional Elwha Project
Information and Resources
River Story Photos

River Story

Flowing from the heart of the Olympic Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca in just 45 short, but extraordinarily beautiful miles, the Elwha River drains more than 320 square miles of rugged mountain terrain.

During its long history the Elwha River has provided sustenance, shelter, transportation, power, recreation, education, spiritual identity, and inspiration to generations of people who dwell near the river, and to countless visitors from around the world.

In the early 1900s the Elwha was dammed in two locations, blocking the spawning migrations of five species of Pacific salmon. In September 2011 the dams began to come down, and a new, vital chapter in a very special river story began.

River Story is a unique collection of materials, information, art, education and performance, brought together for the first time through the collaborative efforts of numerous organizations, agencies, and individuals. The North Olympic Library System was delighted to make this remarkable exhibit available to the public throughout the summer of 2012.

River Story celebrates a beautiful river of ageless wonder, and tells the Elwha River’s remarkable tale of renewal, restoration, and transformation.

Exhibit Overview

Exhibit OverviewVisitors to the River Story exhibit could ‘swim’ along the stream of returning salmon to view exhibit stations scattered throughout the library. Along the way, they could pause to explore an interpretive diorama on loan from Olympic National Park and marvel at giant tools and other real life relics salvaged from the powerhouses of the Elwha dams before their removal. They heard the voices of the Elwha, speaking through poetry inspired by the river, and enjoyed photographs and art depicting the river, the dams, and the dam removal project.

River Story Art Exhibit

Art ExhibitAs part of the River Story exhibit, the Port Angeles Main Library displayed several pieces of art originally created for Celebrate Elwha!, the ceremony, which marked the beginning of the dam removal phase of the Elwha River Restoration project in September of 2011.

The Eternal Return is a 10’x 24’ photomural created by Jake Seniuk that served as the backdrop for the Elwha reclamation ceremony in September 2011. “As the dams fade into history, the body of a great fish acts as a window to the river’s source in the Olympic backcountry. With the region’s mythic legacy alive in a face inspired by aboriginal art, the montage crafted from more than a dozen photographs recalls tales of a time when the salmon were so dense that one could cross the fabled river stepping on their backs. Celebrating the epic life cycle of the salmon, The Eternal Return augers a time of cosmic renewal of all things as the gyre of nature turns.”

 The Eternal Return by Jake Seniuk

Twenty small banners displayed in the lobby and throughout the library were created by various local artists for the Celebrate Elwha! event. Click here for information about these artists and their banners.

A delightful array of paper salmon guided visitors through the River Story exhibit and were specially created for the River Story exhibit by students at the Clallam County YMCA After School Program, and by library visitors, volunteers, and staff.

Art in the Library Shows

During the summer of 2012 the Port Angeles Main Library hosted two special Art in the Library shows in conjunction with the River Story exhibit.

Art in the Library June 1 – July 30

Photography, painting, ceramics, and mixed media sculpture, created by local artists Harry von Stark, Peter Malarkey, Anna Wiancko Chasman, Ray Hammar, and Jennifer Bright, told the story of the Elwha River and the dam removal project.

Art in the Library August 3 – September 10

This second River Story art show was a juried exhibit featuring the work of local artists, Larry Eifert, Monica Gutierrez-Quarto, Tor Jakubcin, Mark Torres, Judy Tauscher, Anna Wiancko Chasman, Peter Malarkey, Ray Hammar, and Jake Seniuk. The art work depicted river settings and explored themes of renewal, restoration and transformation through river-based imagery.


Special thanks to the members of the River Story Planning Committee:

Anna Wiancko Chasman, Brenda Francis, Karen Hanan, Margaret Jakubcin, Barb Maynes,
Kate Reavey, Jake Seniuk, Kathy Steichen, Heather Stephens, Harry von Stark, Betsy Wharton.

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