I had a wonderful few days enjoying the talents of Renton artists! On a recent weekend, My daughter, Lynda and Grandson, Cole and I went for brunch at the Maplewood Golf Course restaurant. After I finished my eggs benedict and a mimosa, Cole and I walked out back so he could throw coins in the fountain and make a wish. The fountain is part of the public art collection. The plaque said it was donated by George Tsutakawa in 1960. I want to try to visit as many of these public art pieces as I can in the next few months.
The Arts Commission, along with the Mayor, annually reviews all capital improvement planned for the following two years to determine which projects should be included as works of art and to estimate the amount allocated for this purpose. Whenever a work of art is to be funded under the 1% for Art Ordinance, the Commission selects the appropriate work of art and recommends that artwork to the City Council.
Then, on Thursday evening, I attended the Renton Annual Art Show preview party at the Renton Community Center. The Annual Art Show was started as a commitment to promote art and encourage artists to share their talents with the community. The first Renton Annual Art Show was held in 1961, so this year was the 52nd annual event! Each year two pieces are purchased by the art show committee and donated to public entities such as the City,the School district or Renton Technical College. Now there are several public buildings in Renton with the work of local artists on display, including libraries, schools, and City Hall.
Many volunteers work hard each year to organize this event. On Sunday July 22nd, art was delivered to the community center. On Monday, judges reviewed the entries. On Tuesday, a floor plan was designed for the art display. On Wednesday, the pieces were hung. And then on Thursday evening, a preview party was held from 8-10 PM, where the winners were announced by Master of Ceremonies, Char Baker. Attended by many community art supporters and artists, Mayor Dennis Law was also present. It was a beautiful evening to be on the patio at the community center, enjoying the live music of Uptown Lowdown Jazz, as well as the fine wines and appetizers catered by The Red House Beer and Wine Shop. Artists of all ages enter their work in this show At the age of 88, Amy Nikaitani accepted an award for her entry of “Butoh Dancer”, while children received art supplies as awards for their contributions. There were multiple generations of artists participating. The display and sales continued through the weekend during Renton River Days.
Vickie Faull, who has chaired the Renton Annual Art Show for 15 years, said, “I believe that art in our community is very important. One reason I do this is because it’s such a beautiful event that brings people together. Art unifies people. Here we can enjoy something we all have in common – an appreciation for the arts.”