How many people can say that they’ve lived next door to jazz legend Duke Ellington? Or that they were crowned Miss Denmark at the 1961 Danish trade delegation to the U.S.? Or that they created the First Friday Art Walk on Bainbridge Island? Lone Hansen can.
Without her and Sharon Kane, every first Friday evening between 6-8 p.m. would be ordinary. The idea came to Hansen in 1989 as she watched the crowds at the First Thursday Seattle Art Walk from her Pioneer Square contemporary craft gallery, Made in the USA. A year later, she opened the Lone Wolf Gallery on Bainbridge Island. It was now time for her and Kane to bring this art appreciation tradition to the island.
“I had gone to the gallery walk
in Seattle and thought, well, why shouldn’t we do that here?” she said.
The first Bainbridge Island Art Walk debuted in 1991. It was comprised of at least 10 galleries, including Bainbridge Arts & Crafts, a drugstore that “had a gallery in the back,” Roby King, Lone Wolf and businesses that opened their stores as venues to display art.
The plan was simple. They
drew a gallery map, then advertised through Arts News magazine and postcards to
“I was pleased with the
turnout,” she said. “It was good, it worked.”
in its 28th year and including close to 30 venues, the First Friday Art Walk is
a staple of island life.
enriching as this contribution is to our vibrant arts scene, Hansen’s life
experience is far broader. In a sentence,
it’s a Matisse brought to life.
Henri Matisse’s work exudes bright, pure color, expressive form and composition. Hansen’s life, art and experience are no different.
“I am most influenced by
color,” said Hansen.
For Hansen, that color is red. According to creative studio Bourn Creative, red is assertive, daring, determined, energetic, powerful, enthusiastic, impulsive, exciting and aggressive. It symbolizes action, confidence and courage. As a young girl growing up in Denmark, Hansen channeled these attributes into art.
“I have been an artist for 74
years,” she said. “Growing up in Denmark when winters could be dark, I would
sit on the dining table and paint or draw.”
After leaving Denmark to follow her mother — renowned artist Grethe Herlin — to the U.S., Hansen discovered a passion for showcasing other people’s visual art. She owned several retail art businesses in San Francisco before moving to Bainbridge Island through her association with artist Richard Stine. In addition to her first two galleries in Seattle and Bainbridge, Hansen opened a third gallery, ART Soup, in 2002. ART Soup was located in the same space now occupied by Mora. She also contributed her talent to Bainbridge in Bloom, serving as art coordinator from 1991 to around 2005.
Being a gallery owner was
very satisfying, but at her core, Hansen is an artist. She said the single most
important ingredient to be an artist is courage.
“It’s scary to look at a
blank canvas,” she said. “If you have an idea, go for it and don’t worry about
it. You can always paint over it and do
Hansen followed her own advice and, alongside her mother, showcased her work at the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn, Iowa. Their exhibition, which ran from January to July 2009, was entitled “Danish-American Artist Series Presents: Grethe Herlin and Lone Hansen.”
In the decade following this exhibit, Hansen hasn’t slowed down. Her art was the featured cover illustration of the “North Kitsap Fishline Community Cookbook” published in 2016. Now a Poulsbo resident, she’s also actively engaged in the Poulsbo Arts League. There, artists paint, collaborate and inspire each other.
Now 78-years-young, this grandmother and mother of three recently collaborated with fellow artists to win the 2018 Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort’s Annual Fat Tuesday Parade of Service. Their winning concept? A hippie Viking ship!
As the final First Friday for 2019 comes around, Hansen has simple advice for artists.
“Get out there,” she said. “Involve yourself, talk to people, go to galleries and see if you fit in. Your work has to appeal to someone.”
INEZ MAUBANE JONES – Staff Writer for Currents and member of Currents Editorial Board