Enjoy the articles and announcements about the arts in Renton
Much has been written about Covid and isolation this year. We question when will it be over and will “life” be the same as it was before? Electronic devices and social media have helped. Our Board met on many ZOOM meetings before feeling safe to meet in person.
The need for art in our community has not changed and although we all look forward to the time when we can sit in a live concert hall, or listen to an author or poet, we found other ways to promote the arts in our community by adding virtual art contests to our focus with the help of Renton Municipal Art Commission,
Last year it was the Creative Kids Contest for Renton’s teens, but we took the suggestions you sent us and made this year’s Community Virtual Art Contest for all ages. Winners received gift cards from local businesses, which we felt was a “win-win” for our community to help local business owners who have suffered from the pandemic. Winning entries can be seen in this newsletter and on our website. I would like to give a special “thank you” to our Board Vice President, Jaris English for taking the lead with the art contests and with her daughter, Lynda Barger for improving our website.
Our Board has some changes, we are sorry to see Melody Kroeger leave us and Deloris Dewing is looking forward to retiring soon. We are excited to add three talented people to the Board: Lyn McKay, Julie Horan, and Mike Simpson, who was previously on the Board. You can read about them in future newsletters. Of course the biggest “thank you” goes to you, the reader, for your continued support and suggestions.
There is no doubt about the creativity that flows in Renton, spanning all ages and mediums. This year’s Virtual Art Contest was such a pleasure to be a part of.
Last year, because of the pandemic, we developed our first virtual art contest. The purpose was to continue to support creativity in our community. The Creative Kids Contest was for Renton youth between ages 13-19. There were three categories - Visual Art, poetry, and creative writing. We received some amazing entries and showed published the winners for each category in last year’s Winter Newsletter.
This year, as the Covid virus continued and The Annual Art Show was still not possible, we again announced a virtual contest. However, this year, it was focused just on virtual art, but now for all ages. Winners were separated into four age groups with a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner in each group, and some honorable mention awards. We were also lucky to be able to include special awards by locally renowned artists and enthusiasts. To help support our local businesses who have suffered from this pandemic, we awarded a choice of gift cards to Renton stores and restaurants.
We were delighted to see entries from Renton artists from age 6 to more than 90 - and our judges had a tough time choosing winners! You will find these winning entries here in this issue, as well as on our website. It is plain to see that Renton’s artistic spirit survived the pandemic!
This will be the 2nd year of support from Allied Arts of Renton. The grant provided scholarships for 10 attendees in 2020 and will provide an opportunity for an additional group of scholarship recipients in 2021. After having emerged from a pandemic and totally virtual 2020 Seattle Film Summit, the event for 2021 promises to be the best yet with a new hybrid format incorporating both in-person and virtual sessions.
From Table reads and pitch panels, to an actor’s showcase, film screenings and a political roundtable discussion about the future of film in Washington, Seattle Film Summit 2021 has something for everyone. Launching the Summit on Sept. 3 will be an in-person event at a very special location, featuring a panel discussion on filming in Seattle with the production team from the upcoming Steven Soderbergh film, “KIMI.” Stay tuned for more details on the exciting news surrounding the location for this kick-off party. Virtual education sessions and panel discussions will follow during the week through Sept. 11 when the closing in-person event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Southport, Renton, WA. The event costs are broken out as follows: Virtual Only $50, In-Person only $100, Both: $140
The Seattle Film Summit’s mission is to help shape a dynamic and socially responsible film economy in the Seattle area by linking to A-list industry professionals and empowering regional artists with the information and tools necessary to hone their craft and bring their stories to light.
Trevon was ecstatic when he heard he won the Renton Allied Arts Scholarship this year. He was excited to purchase new materials to keep doing what he loves best… to keep drawing and improve his art skills. With the scholarship, he purchased a set of Copic markers with storage, pencils, and a sketchbook.
A school project, Change of Heart, was eventually presented to the Renton School Board meeting. Because schools pivoted to remote learning, due to the pandemic, Change of Heart was created out of a school assignment.
His personal goals have been to challenge himself in several ways. He first started drawing with a black marker and then transitioned into using watercolors to add dimension and texture to his drawings. He entered several art contests and took the initiative to collaborate with other designers on art projects, so he could learn from other artists.
Trevon said, “I want to continue to explore and be open to opportunities that come my way.” His school project would have an impact on his teachers, school, and his community. Now that he's more experienced and has seen how art has the potential to make an impact, he wants to continue to create art, not only for enjoyment, but art that will inspire others to make a change in their lives, in their community and in the world.
There is something about the sound of a band that raises the spirits, increases adrenalin, and brings back all those wonderful childhood memories of a hometown parade. Under the experienced leadership of Mike Simpson, with support of the Renton Community Services Department and interface with the Renton School District, The Renton City Concert Band has been an important part of Renton’s community culture for many years.
In 2014, I wrote a column for the Renton Reporter about Mike Simpson and the band. At that time, Mike told me, “Community band is my passion. I want to support the idea of a life-long pursuit of music that starts with music teachers causing kids to get excited by playing an instrument in the fifth or sixth grade.” Mike is now retired from teaching music at both Renton and Lindbergh high schools, but his work with the band continues as well as teaching his own music students. Mike’s favorite instrument is the French horn which he fell in love with in the sixth grade. He went on to receive his master’s in music education at the University of Washington. Mike remembers the early days of the city band marching through Renton in the Renton Western Days parade, all decked out in cowboy outfits. This was before the start of Renton River Days. Mike also said, “I see the same goofy stuff in my 88-year-old students as in the young ones. People want to have fun, and music is fun.”
As with all of Renton’s community activities, the band concerts stopped due to the pandemic, but Mike found creative ways to keep music alive in the community. His jazz group, Bugles Across America have played Taps for military funerals with strict masking requirements. They even tried a specially designed mask for horn players. With Zoom, he continues to teach music. He mentioned that one positive side is that some students who were too far away to come to his studio, can now take lessons this way. Mask and distancing requirements have of course evolved for in-person musical events and rehearsals. The music rehearsal studio is small, and distancing reduces the number of musicians who can attend.
Now that there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel, they have set dates and reserved locations for future concerts in December, January, and February. All depends of course on State and Federal guidelines as well as school district requirements. Either way, Mike will be sure to keep making music happen here in Renton.
Among other losses to the pandemic has been the Fall Family Concert at the IKEA Performing Arts Center in Renton. Allied Arts has been sponsoring this event for many years, and Deloris Dewing has been the project manager since shortly after moving to the area in 2002. “I picked up a flier advertising this concert and it sounded amazing, but I told my husband, it couldn’t be very good at such a low price. Boy, were we surprised! It was wonderful!” Then she met Char Baker. Char found out Deloris had been a music teacher with a degree in music and asked her to join the Allied Arts Board. Next thing she knew, she was Concert Chairman and put in charge of the concert!
“I had no idea about anything, and I was new to the area. But I eventually found my way around town and ended up meeting a lot of amazing people!” We have relied on her impressive leadership in ensuring that the concert is always an amazing success every year. Deloris said, “I found it so fulfilling to work with all those people to make it happen. I learned to delegate, and it takes a lot of people working together. I got to know the orchestra members and Conductor, Adam Stern.“
We are certainly looking forward to 2022 when we finally make plans again for the Fall Family Concert. We are hoping to find someone who can possibly step into Deloris’s shoes and help us to have another successful concert year.
Earlier this year, the Renton Municipal Arts Commission was approached by art instructors from the Renton School district with a problem. With COVID restrictions still in place, the opportunity for students to exhibit their work and share their creativity in a public space was limited. The students were denied the ability share their art and their creative voice with the world outside their virtual classroom.
Leaning on the generosity of the downtown business owners, the Arts Commission arranged for a storefront gallery show from mid-June through the end of July. The students were provided real estate in the windows of five businesses to participate in the collective exhibit.
The exhibit included art from students at Dimmitt, McKnight, Nelsen and Risdon middle schools and Lindbergh and Renton high schools. The students were given the task of identifying an important issue in their local or global community that they felt needed addressing, then finding a way to speak to their community using a poster.
They used a variety of tools including traditional art materials such as drawing and painting, as well as digital drawing and graphic design software. The students’ art distilled their thoughts and feelings into few words and images to let the world know what matters most to them -- our adolescent community members and future leaders.
When You Can’t Go Home: Portraits of Refugees in the Pacific Northwest is the life work of Karisa Keasey, local artist, author, and advocate. With the help of World Relief, a globally celebrated refugee resettlement organization, Keasey spent hours with each refugee featured in this exhibit and helps viewers feel as if they have too. She has a passion for enabling some of the most marginalized people in the world to be seen and heard. When You Can’t Go Home couples inspiring stories with the hard-hitting facts surrounding the current global refugee crisis. Hours: Mon-Wed 10-4.