November 9, 1998
Artists Michael Napper and Caroline Smetana at their new gallery in Duvall Plaza.
by Lisa Allen
Valley View Editor
DUVALL--When Harborview nurses Caroline Smetana and Michael Napper opened Riverside Avenue Arts in May, they hoped to create a venue for their own work and other regional artists, as well asgiving themselves a respite from their careers.
"I can't imagine not working at Harborview," said Smetana. "But it takes a lot out of you."
The two nurses had discovered they shared an interest in art and got the bug to open their own place after exhibiting at craft shows and weekend markets.
They started six months ago with just a few exhibits in a room off the hallway in Duvall Plaza. But news of the opening got out fast, especially at Harborview, and before long fellow healthcare professionals had their art on display.
"We were surprised at first to find so many artists there, but the work at the hospital is very stressful," said Smetana. "It appears that a lot of them have an artistic side and they use it as a sort of release."
Currently 50 percent of the exhibits in the growing gallery are from Harborview artists.
Everything in the store is on consignment, said Smetana, who does fabric design. A wide variety of media is on display, including photographs, oils and watercolors, functional fabric work, gemstone jewelry and a group of incredibly lifelike waterfowl carvings.
"We really wanted a place that was accessible and affordable to new and established artists," said Smetana.
Napper, who works with gemstones, says the store is a refuge.
"It's very therapeutic," he said. "It renews energy on a daily basis."
The gallery is located at 15705 Main St. and is open most weekdays 12-7 and every weekend with a variable schedule posted monthly. The schedule and other information are also available by calling 844-8669.