Two glass fish in a glass bowl.

The Gallery in the Woods – Matzke Fine Art Gallery

Here’s a video postcard of the Matzke Fine Art Gallery.


An Outdoor Canvas

Some might call it a park, others a gallery.  Either way the outdoor sculpture display at Matzke Fine Art Gallery on Camano Island is an experience. As you walk the 10-acre site, you follow trails and emerge into small groves of art. The trails themselves are lined with artwork nestled among the Northwest foliage.

A shaft of sun though cedar trees might highlight a bronze sculpture, while a stone fish coolly languishes in the shade near a stream. One sculpture may serve as a portal for viewing other art, while yet another nestles serenely among springtime flowers.

“I look at this property as one big piece of art,” says owner Karla Matzke.  “This is like a big canvas to me.”

Matzke opened this gallery after running a more traditional indoor gallery elsewhere on the island. She holds true to those roots as well with a 3000 square foot indoor gallery featuring painting, small pieces of glass and stonework, and a few statures that would be comfortable inside any home or business.

The Matzke outdoor art gallery on Camano island featuring statues of many different types.

The Matzke outdoor sculpture garden features several acres of art in a park-like setting.

But, combining the traditional display with an expansive series of exterior displays and then putting it in the woods on an island is what makes the gallery unique.

People have asked her why she didn’t try something closer to Seattle. She has a number of reasons, but when it comes down to the main point, she says, “I’m not a suburban girl, I’m a country girl.”

Besides, with nearly three decades as a gallery owner, Matzke has a loyal following in Seattle and elsewhere, and clients are more than happy to make the drive to experience the gallery’s latest consignments.

A stone face appears to be sleeping, the head turned to one side

A marble sculpture outside is among several dozen works of art in this park-like setting

Approachable Art

If you’ve found yourself uncomfortable with the trappings of traditional galleries, then this place is for you. While walking through the park-like trails, the sun might highlight something in the distance, or you might turn a corner to find a delightful surprise piece staring back at you.

She designed and built the trails herself and confesses, “I always made trails, even as a kid . Deciding “what to clear, and what to leave was really a lot of fun,” she says.

She and the artists decide together where a piece should be. Indoors, she has the luxury of moving a painting an inch or two so that it fits perfectly into a spot. But outdoors, she says of the often several-ton sculptures, “I am not moving it. It’s there.”

Artists from all over the world have consigned their pieces to her gallery, and when a piece is sold, something new will eventually take its place.

A large somewhat abstract red metal sculpture of a person in an outdoor garden.

A sculpture by Alisa Looney displayed at Matzke Art Park.

The landscape is evolving as well. She’s concentrating upon putting more flowers in the gallery’s gardens and will try to move a tree during the winter.

So, when you come, be prepared for both an indoors and outdoors art experience, two ways of celebrating art in ways that best show off the individual works.

The gallery is open weekends and other days by appointment. To reach the gallery, take SR 532 to Camano Island. At Terry’s Corner, bear south to East Camano Drive. Follow it to Elger Bay Drive until it becomes South Camano Drive. Turn left on Blanch Way and follow the signs. You can find out more about the gallery at the gallery website.