Most of my early years, I spent trying to decide if I would be an artist or a writer when I grew up. When I was fifteen in a high school career class, we were to interview someone in the field we had chosen. I had decided on journalism. I set up an appointment at the local newspaper in Sunnyvale, California. The middle-aged reporter spoke gruffly to me, “Well little lady, the newspaper business is no place for a woman!”
Although I continued to write poetry and prose, I gave up any dreams about journalism. Concentrating on art, I studied graphic design and business management and spent many years working as an illustrator, designer, and then as a Marketing Communications Manager. My last position before retiring was as a Public Relations Manager. In these positions, I was able to combine my love of art and writing.
Three years ago, as a retired woman in her sixties, and after having lived in California since the 1950’s, I moved with my daughter and young grandson to Renton, Washington. I loved everything about the area – the beautiful trees and fresh air and lakes and food and friendly people. Without a social or business network in the area, I started reaching out to local arts organizations and found a wealth of satisfying volunteer work. When I moved to Renton three years ago, I didn’t know anyone in the area besides my family. Then I started volunteering for community arts organizations, and eventually became president of Allied Arts of Renton as well as a commissioner on the City of Renton’s Municipal Arts Commission. I have met the most inspiring people who are proud of their community and many creative artists and arts supporters who are working hard to make a difference. I think it’s time for Renton to start bragging. There is a rich, cultural environment here that is worth bragging about! I am starting this blog to get the word out.
I plan to use this forum in several ways. I am looking for local artists with inspirational stories to tell. What odds have you overcome? Share your talents with us. I also want everyone to know how many exciting events and exhibits that Renton has to offer – from musical performances, to art exhibits, to performing arts and film festivals.
Did you know that there is an Arts & Culture Master Plan with long-term goals for Renton? One of the groups formed out of this plan is the Galvanizing Arts Project. The team has been meeting for several months now to come up with a major galvanizing art project for Renton. After much brainstorming and review, the group settled on a lighting theme. The idea is to come up with a major artistic lighting project to brighten our city and show our creative side from the freeways. The group would like your feedback to help make this dream a reality. I wasn’t here at the time that Third Street businesses were lighted with neon – but it might be a good plan to bring it back. What do you think?
Come and sign up for the Chalk Art Contest at Renton River Days, sponsored by Allied Arts of Renton. And, on August 25th, over 100 artists will be at the 7th annual Art & Antique Walk downtown. Aug 1st is the deadline for artist applications. Also, Mark your calendar for the Renton Fall Arts Equinox, Sept. 20, 2012, 6 – 8 p.m. The theme is “Reflections,” and you’ll have a chance to find your experience reflected in the Renton arts scene. Sample local music, theater, film, visual arts, and dance, and make a video about the future of culture in Renton! Light refreshments will be served. The event will be held at Renton Technical College. For more information, contact Jennifer Davis Hayes at email@example.com or at 425.430.6589.
Pass the word around so more people will come experience Renton’s creative side. And I guess one should never give up on a dream, because here I am at the age of sixty seven, finally writing for a newspaper!