Local Art Chat groups bring artistic community together


Clark County’s artistic community events took a sharp decline after the COVID-19 pandemic. Art Chat, a show-and-tell gathering, provides the means for artists to connect and show their work once again.

Art Chat meets at 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month at the Ridgefield Community Library, 210 N. Main Ave., and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. the second Wednesday of every month at the Battle Ground Community Library, 1207 SE Eighth Way.

Art Chat began in Battle Ground in March last year and has since grown from nine members to over 40. Cheryl Herndon, a founding member of Art Chat, pushed to start the program because many local artists did not know where to show their art. The founding members chose Ridgefield and Battle Ground’s community libraries to provide a space free for entry.

“We found that a lot of artists were in their homes and did art while COVID was going on, but they quit showing their work and going out in public,” Herndon said.

Attendees showcase their current projects following a 20-minute presentation by an invited main speaker, who explains a unique project or art history. At Art Chat’s first June meeting in Ridgefield, Herndon showed her great-grandmother’s oil paintings, preserved from over a century ago. Her grandmother painted over a cardboard cereal box and framed it in the early 1920s.

Over 20 Art Chat members from across the county showed their work at the meeting. Pieces ranged from paintings, clay art and poetry. Kirt Minnich from Ridgefield showed his mountain-themed clay art piece, which took over a week to mold and dry. He provided the group with advice during his presentation, recommending that clay artists use ‘Loctite glue’ from Amazon to hold individual clay pieces together after they are dried.

Vickey Schell, one of Art Chat’s original members, displayed her basket weaved from beach wood and honeysuckle vines, by passing snacks to guests.

Schell is shy about her work but sees Art Chat as a way to help aspiring artists step into the spotlight.

“The [heart] of Art Chat is networking and getting [artists] out and not being shy about their artwork like me,” Schell said.

Art Chat welcomes new members, with no registration or fees required. Water and snacks are provided. Artists from all levels are welcome and encouraged to bring friends.