My Weekend on Whidbey || They Love the ‘Dancing Rabbits’

Posted in Community, Feature, More Stories, Second Chance, Visual Art

BY DONNA D. HOOD
Whidbey Life Magazine Contributor
July 8, 2015

Soon after we moved to Whidbey Island, it seemed every relative we knew wanted to come for a visit. Eventually, I developed several tours of interest for every age, but my favorite tour for visitors with young children is what I call “The Dancing Rabbits Tour.”

This tour features the work of local sculptor Georgia Gerber. For those of you who may not know, Gerber is a Whidbey Island-based sculptor who creates primarily—although not exclusively—a variety of whimsical and smooth-to-the-touch animal sculptures. Children especially are drawn to her work.

10 Hip Hop and Georgia

Georgia Gerber joins a larger-than-life version of three of her “Hip Hop” bunnies. (photo courtesy of the artist)

My tour begins just after we pick our guests up at Sea-Tac Airport. We make a beeline for Pike’s Place Market where, after we watch the guys throw the fish, we purchase Dungeness crab, sourdough bread and a variety of salad vegetables for dinner. I place the kids astride the Pike Place Pig for a must-have photo. Everyone rubs the pig’s nose for good luck and then we head for home.

"Rachel" the pig, in a rare moment of solitude, at Pike Place Market (photo courtesy of the artist)

“Rachel” the pig, in a rare moment of peace and solitude, at Pike Place Market (photo courtesy of the artist)

Riding the ferry for the first time is definitely the highlight of the visit for all newcomers to the Northwest. For a small fee, you are King of the World on the upper deck where the views of mountains, islands and water are simply breathtaking.

That night, as we feast on crab, I tell my guests about Georgia Gerber and that the pig we saw at Pike’s Place Market was her work. We talk some about sculpture in general and different types—bronze, stone, clay—and then I tell them we’ll see other pieces she’s done as we move about the Island.

The next day, on our way to enjoy a hearty and healthy breakfast at the Braeburn Restaurant in Langley, I drive my guests by the library in Clinton, which is their introduction to the first of many Gerber-created sculptures we’ll see that day. The library staff often dresses the tiny rabbit and squirrels in seasonal garb—a so-Whidbey thing to do.

Clinton Library's critters have just learned our history of the 4th of July  (photo by Marsha Morgan)

Clinton Library’s squirrels have just learned all about the origins of our 4th of July celebrations from Rabbit-arian the Librarian.   (photo by Marsha Morgan)

With breakfast done, we pick up our Dancing Rabbits tour at the South Whidbey Historical Museum where we’re greeted by the teenager playing the harmonica, a sculpture meant to remind us of the men who lived in the building while making their living cutting cordwood for the steamboats of the Mosquito Fleet. We leave a coin in his bucket.

Boy playing the harmonica   (photo by Marsha Morgan)

Boy playing the harmonica (photo by Marsha Morgan)

We continue down the street to the Brackenwood Gallery. Outside is a sweet little bronze dog—a replica of Reggie, the beloved pet of Ron Childers and Richard Proctors, original owners of the gallery space 27 years ago. Reggie was known as the gallery greeter. Gerber sculpted the replica as a tribute to Ron and Richard’s dedication to the arts in Langley. The children (and some adults) pet Reggie before we go inside to see more of Georgia’s work. Her dancing rabbits are everyone’s favorite.

Next, we walk to the world-famous Inn at Langley and—by now—all are in tune with what a Georgia Gerber looks like. I tell the children if they can find another Georgia Gerber, I’ll take them to Sweet Mona’s for chocolate or gelato. It doesn’t take long for them to spot the penguins and the duck. Sweet Mona’s—here we come.

Sea Otters  (photo by Dvid Welton)

Sea Otters from Georgia’s garden. (The Langley library garden otters are related.)   (photo by David Welton)

Following our chocolate break, we head down Second Street where, just past the Langley Library, we all spot Gerber’s otters nestled in a secret garden. Then, as we round the corner onto First St., it’s time for what I call the “Gerber coup de gras— a photo of everyone standing beside Gerber’s iconic sculpture, The Boy and The Dog.

Boy & Dog Gerber 72

The Boy and The Dog (photo by Marsha Morgan)

Not counting the Pig at Pike’s Place Market, the Boy and the Dog may be the most-photographed Gerber sculpture in the world.

Donna Hood pets the Dog while her friends from Texas (l to r) Mickey, Toni, and Connie have a little fun with the Boy.   (photo by Maury Hood)

Donna Hood pets the Dog while her friends from Texas (l to r) Mickey, Toni, and Connie have a little fun with the Boy. (photo by Maury Hood)

Before my guests leave, we print out all our Georgia Gerber sculpture photos and place them in a WHIDBEY-cut photo mat. They always put their dancing rabbits in the middle.

Donna buys her "WHIDBEY" photo mats at Windjammer Gallery on First Street in Coupeville.

Donna buys her “WHIDBEY” photo mats at Windjammer Gallery on First Street in Coupeville.

See more of Georgia’s sculpture in the Whidbey Life Magazine Virtual Gallery. Read more about Georgia and her garden in this feature, “Spring in a Sculptors Garden.”

Editors note: Do you know where other public sculptures by Georgia Gerber are located? Tell us which ones Donna can add to her tour!

Donna Hood, a feature writer and Texas transplant, never ceases to be amazed at the creativity of the many talented artists on Whidbey Island.

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Comments

  1. Brilliant idea, Donna…and, of course, your friends, being yours, would be outrageous women from Texas! Warmly, Bev

  2. Donna–There’s a very fun Georgia in front of the Freeland Library too. And a lovely small otter on the shelf over Blake’s desk 😉

  3. Donna, great job of showcasing Georgia Gerber’s work with your wonderful commentary. I truly enjoyed the photos and commentary. It is always good to be reminded of the beautiful places you so often take for granted.

  4. Donna,
    This is a great idea of sculpture tours.
    We have many pieces in Langley that have been inventoried by Michelle LaRue at Big Sister that lend themselves to a Langley sculpture walking tour. It would be fun to have them geocoded for following and maybe recorded information on an I-Phone or Android Phone and then we could put them on the Chamber of Commerce or City website. Thanks for this article.
    Sincerely,
    Fred

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