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Artist Statement: ON BEING ALIVE! Francie Allen

Allen sculpts wire figures in dynamic movement and uses dancers, acrobats, musicians, magicians, and lovers as her subject matter – expressing the joy of being embodied, of being alive in a human form.

Francie Allen


I sculpt wire figures in dynamic movement and use dancers, acrobats, musicians, magicians, and lovers as my subject matter – expressing the joy of being embodied, of being alive in a human form.

Space is also a critical element in my work since at the atomic level most of the human body is composed of space. We are porous like my sculptures: space and air move in us and through us.

Fluid transparent bodies – visceral and sculptural – cast their shifting shadows in my invented public spaces. My undulating figures are fashioned of wire netting and other lacey materials, a perfect foil for special lighting effects to create environments of shadows.

Many years as both dancer and sculptor have led me to these multi-sensory installations where I choreograph events that invite further manipulation and creative action by performing artists, musicians, videographers, and the viewing public – all adding their part to the community experience.


Francie Allen grew up in Gilford, a picturesque New Hampshire village that – after WWII – drew visionary people to live their ideals. Their pioneering spirit and vibrant sense of community deeply shaped her values.

With a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, Allen moved to Seattle in 1971. Later, as an MFA candidate in sculpture at the University of Washington School of Art, she unexpectedly found her greatest inspiration working with Dance Department head, Joan Skinner.

Francie is a versatile educator – from college teaching to designing school programs in visual thinking to environmental and social practice. During the 1980s and 90’s she honed her entrepreneurial skills with a production studio for cast concrete garden sculpture. Her figurative water bowls, fountains, and pedestals can be found in gardens throughout the Pacific Northwest.

While living on the San Francisco Peninsula for a number of years, Allen taught design and sculpture in the local community colleges, as well as becoming one of the artists-in-residence for the city of Palo Alto. She also served as an artist-ambassador to Sakai, Japan, sister city to Berkeley.

In 2006 Francie began her current figurative work in wire. In 2009 she returned to her beloved Pacific Northwest, this time to Bellingham. She currently creates installations using life-size figures of wire, drawings, lights and shadows –enjoying collaborating with college students, dancers, musicians, and videographers to fashion multi-dimensional environments.

Nick Tipp


Wherever I am – an opera hall with an orchestra, a living room with a band, in L.A. Union Station with an avant garde group –I’m trying to make recordings and mixes that are not just rich and detailed, but also daring and non-traditional. I try to use pop and rock engineering techniques to make acoustic instruments sound familiar and modern at the same time. The final product should be gripping: I want the players to sound very close to the listener, and I want their playing to sound complex and emotional. My favorite challenge is setting up microphones in an unusual space and capturing a captivating performance. Whatever the style is, wherever the performance is, I want to create a sonic experience that the listener will never forget.


In the last 10 years, Nick has become the go-to engineer for live recordings and broadcast mixes in Los Angeles and around the world, with clients ranging from the country’s most critically and commercially acclaimed classical ensembles to the hottest alternative rock bands around.

In 2006, he started recording concerts for Spaceland Productions and has made live records of Cults, Andrew Bird, Ozomatli, and many, many more bands at the vanguard of alternative music. Nick’s 2010 live concert recording of The Decemberists was packaged with the band’s Capitol Records album “The King Is Dead.”

In 2007, Nick became house engineer for the L.A. Opera. It was there he recorded and edited the opera’s performance of Kurt Weill’s “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.” The recording won two Grammy awards, for Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording.

Nick has recorded and mixed in every imaginable place: pop-up venues, houses, concert halls, music festivals, and the best studios in the world. Anywhere music is made, Nick has set up microphones. He’s recorded Mumford & Sons at a festival; broadcast Little Dragon from a museum; sent out a live mix of The National to 71,000 streaming listeners. His live recording of chamber orchestra, Wild Up, playing Shostakovich in a photography studio was acclaimed as one of the year’s best classical releases by the Los Angeles Times.

Nick grew up studying classical piano and violin and has played in orchestras, rock bands, and jazz groups. He holds his B.S. in Music Recording from USC’s Thornton School of Music.

  • 2013: Pulitzer Prize in Music Nominee: “Invisible Cities” (by Chris Cerrone) (recording engineer, editor, mixing, mastering & produced by Nick Tipp)

  • 015 New Yorker & NYT “Best Classical Album” (“The Source” by Ted Hearne) (editor, mixing, mastering & produced by)

  • 2018 Grammy & Pulitzer Prize in Music nominee: “Sound From The Bench” (The Crossing, by Ted Hearne) (recording engineer, editor, mixing, mastering & produced by Nick Tipp)

  • 2019 Double Grammy nominee: “The Pieces That Fall To Earth” (Wild Up, by Chris Cerrone) (recording engineer, editor, mixing, mastering & produced by Nick Tipp)

  • 2020 Double Grammy Nominee: “PLACE” (The Place Orchestra, by Ted Hearne) (recording engineer, editor, mixing, mastering & produced by Nick Tipp


ON BEING ALIVE is on view now through December 6 in the Atrium.

Sponsored by The Honeywell Charitable Trust, Town of Friday Harbor, National Endowment for the Arts, Washington State Arts Commission, San Juan Island Community Foundation, Orcas Island Community Foundation, Printonyx, Harbor Rentals and Browne’s Home Center.

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