Arts and Entertainment

Mural offers outlet to at-risk youth

Arlington Arts Council President Sarah Arney asks the City Council to approve a youth art project in the city
Arlington Arts Council President Sarah Arney asks the City Council to approve a youth art project in the city's downtown.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Although the City Council won't vote until Monday, Aug. 4, to approve an art project, the council members informally gave the go-ahead July 28 for project organizers to schedule a work party the day after the council's official decision.

Snohomish County Superior Court Probation Program Manager Mike Irons explained how the mural on the public works-vacated water treatment facility, on West Avenue bordering the Centennial Trail, could tell the city's history while enriching the lives of young people at risk.

"It would connect those youths with positive pro-social adults," Irons said.

"It gives them a positive alternative and lets them know they've made a difference," added Henri Wilson, program coordinator for the Denney Juvenile Justice Center's Promising Artists In Recovery.

Arlington Arts Council President Sarah Arney explained that the arts council aims to raise $2,000 to add to the two community donations of $1,000 each toward the project. City Public Works Director Jim Kelly's staff already has applied primer to the surfaces.

"The city purchased that building in 1939, and it's fully paid for," Kelly said, drawing laughter from workshop attendees.

Kelly added that the mural would receive the same treatment as the retaining wall along the newly refurbished section of 67th Avenue, which allows graffiti to wash right off.

Indeed, Arney cited a public meeting earlier this year between Arlington police and downtown business owners, to prevent graffiti and other vandalism, as the inspiration for this project.

The county's juvenile court system ran PAIR as a pilot program in 2011. Wilson and Arney already had talked about potential art projects for young people in Arlington, and local artist Jillian Mattison sketched out a mural, which summed up the city's history through portraits of its people's activities over the past few centuries.

Among the sketched subjects were an Indian woman paddling a riverboat, farmers digging potatoes, an Indian village and trading center, log trucks and tractors, a milk truck making deliveries, a railroad engine, utility workers in bucket trucks, a pilot in an airplane, skate boarders and fishers in the river.

Work parties are being slated daily to accommodate variable schedules.

For more information, call Arney at 360-435-3778 or Wilson at 425-314-2251.

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