written by Viki Eierdam
Located on pedestrian-friendly Front Street in Lynden, Jansen Art Center is 22,000 square feet, full of six creative art studios, a performance hall, two floors of exhibit space, a gallery shop and a cafe. Affectionately known as “The J,” it is an incubator for artists of all ages.
Since opening in 2012, The J’s reputation as a place for artists to create, share and engage has spread beyond Whatcom County to Anacortes, Gig Harbor, San Juan Island and Canada. Annual events such as the “Falling Out of the Box” campaign—where jewelry and metal artists can purchase a box of themed materials and mail in their completed work—even draw artists from places like Colorado and Pennsylvania.
Inside The J, visitors will find a rotating juried art exhibit as well as a textile studio with a large range of looms, ceramic studio with multiple wheels and jewelry studio that emphasizes metalwork and stone setting. Each art medium offers public classes, workshops and directive independent studies. At the center of it all on the main floor is Firehall Café—part wine bar, part eatery and part live music venue. A nod to the building’s past as City Hall and the town fire department, old fire station doors open up to sidewalk seating and the elevated back deck is the perfect perch for pastoral views.