Along with the new street, the city of Arlington is also getting two new works of public art that will be dedicated with a special art reception at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 27.
Presented by the Arlington Arts Council, the event honors commissions paid for in part by the last two Fall into Art Auctions, another of which is coming up again, Oct. 20.
The commission from the 2006 auction is with Kirk McLean, an Arlington sculptor who spent the past months polishing the top of his Center of the Universe so shiny that viewers will be able to see their faces in the topography of Arlington that is carved into Columbia River basalt.
I like the high polish so that the viewer becomes an integral part of the art, McLean said. It brings the viewer and his or her physical home together through the art.
The 36-inch-by-36 inch-by-36-inch, approximately, block of basalt portrays the confluence of the north and south forks of the Stillaguamish River and the surrounding hills and mountains, including Ebey Hill and Wheeler and Frailey mountains, among others.
McLean has placed white dots to delineate the main Stillaguamish River as well as the north and south forks.
The intent of the dots, McLean explained, is to orient the viewer to the landscape and to provide a visual contrast to the otherwise unbroken flow of the polished surface.
The sculpture is similar to the piece McLean created for the first annual sculpture walk on the Centennial Trail in 2003. That piece was sold to Esther Van Der Berg who lives on the side of Wheeler Mountain, one of the hills portrayed in the sculpture.
The city of Arlington matched the arts councils contributions so that two works of art could be acquired for the citys art collection this year. The arts council also purchased James Madisons Grandfather, a metal sculpture in Native American style that Tulalip artist Madison designed especially for Arlington for last years sculpture walk.
McLean said that he enjoys showing viewers where in the topography he lives and have them respond in kind.
I hope people will do that so there is personal engagement with the work, McLean said, adding that is every artists dream.
A resident of Burn Road since 1988 after finding the property in the woods in 86 and spending two years building his house, McLean has a PhD in zoology from the University of Washington, but he has been working as a sculptor since he got his Bachelors of Fine Arts in sculpture from the UW in 1983.
McLean has completed commissioned work for a library in Bellevue, for the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, and for the Tukwila Bike Path through King County Arts Commission, among others. He has participated in many sculpture events, include the Westcott Bay Sculpture Park on San Juan Island annually, La Conner and Bellevue sculpture exhibits and many more.
McLean was president of the Northwest Stone Sculptor Association in 1998 and 99 and taught sculpture at the Pratt Fine Arts Center from 2002 to 2004.
I am very happy to have my name among the city of Arlingtons art collection, McLean said. Its nice to be recognized by ones hometown community.
Goffs ceramic fish
Marguerite Goff feels the same. She created another piece of art being dedicated this week her Council of Fish, was commissioned with proceeds from the 2005 Fall into Art Auction. While it took a bit longer than expected, Goff is very pleased to be able to contribute to Arlingtons public art collection.
After proposing a cluster of the ceramic fish that she had been making already for some years for the exterior of City Hall, Goff realized that her fish were way too small for the purpose.
They would have been dwarfed, Goff said.
So she designed seven new molds with chinook and coho salmon in a variety of different lively positions. She chose those types of salmon because they commonly swim in the Stillaguamish River.
I didnt do any humpies because they are just too ugly, Goff laughed.
A potter by trade with a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Massachusetts, Goffs dinnerware and vases have a sculptural quality to them, with tulips carved into the surface of clay for vases and plates and bowls. In recent years, she has expanded her repertoire to include sculptural wall pieces. Her first major commission was for a mural with Northwest critter paw prints for the Mount Baker ski lodge. Now, with the Arlington commission and another mural of fish tiles for TOP Foods in Snohomish, Goffs career may be launching in a new direction.
Ive just been approached to do another mural for another TOP Foods store, Goff said while preparing her large fish for delivery to the city. Along with creating with clay, Goff ran Pleasant Ridge Pottery and Art Gallery in Skagit County for nearly 20 years and now shows most of the same artists work at the Pleasant Ridge at the Rexville Grange twice a year, in April for the Tulip Festival, and in November for the holiday shopping season. She is an active member of the Arlington Arts Council and was founding president of Cascade Clay Artists. She won the Peoples Choice Award at this years CCA show in Anacortes for a portion of her newest mural.
Goff found her way to the Pacific Northwest with her husband who was accepted into graduate school in Vancouver B.C. They have been living in the Lakewood area for almost 20 years and her studio is located off Kackman Road.
I really believe that art is an important part of a community and benefits everyone, she said. Art makes life nicer. It makes paying bills and running errands much more pleasant. She added that she hopes the people in the community will attend the art dedication Thursday to see the impressive and growing collection of public art in Arlington.
I am glad I took the time to do this right. I would hate to have to walk by and think, oh darn, I should have made them bigger. Clay can be technically challenging, and this time it was especially so.
Bear on the trail
James Madisons Grandfather has been in place for more than a year on the Centennial Trail in downtown Arlington, but it has become a part of the citys collection thanks to last years successful auction.
After we raised almost $8,000 last year and the city agreed to match our contribution, then we decided to acquire James Grandfather too, said the treasurer of AAC, Jean Olson, who coordinated last years sculpture walk.
This sculpture was created in the memory of Frank Madison, my grandfather, said the artist, a resident of Tulalip who is a member of the Snohomish County Arts Commission as well as the Arts Council of Snohomish County Board of Directors.
My grandfathers spirit power was the bear. Within the bears torso is the head of a salmon, which represents wealth, Madison said. This sculpture represents my family.
Madison said that his grandfather played a large role in his life.
My grandfather was an artist and he passed it on to my father who in turn passed it on to me. Now Madison has two young sons and looks forward to teaching them art as well.
This sculpture is about a family lineage of artists who refuses to give up on their culture.
James Madison was born in 1973 to a family of Coast Salish and Tlingit heritage. His family is Tlingit from Alaska and Snoqualmie/Snohomish. From the age of eight Jim would carve alongside his grandfather, uncle and father at the kitchen table. They, along with the work of Haida master Bill Reid, have been his greatest artistic influences, he said. Madison received his BFA from the UW in the year 2000. He works with wood, paper and ink, metal and glass and has made traditional wood carvings, prints and jewelry. He said he enjoys interpreting the traditional Native designs for the contemporary world.
I believe the result is something uniquely mine, he said. A blending of cultures and artistic traditions.
Olson believes these new works of art are exactly right for this community.
I think the significance of these new works will not be lost on the citizens of our community, she said.
Council of Salmon, Center of the Universe and Grandfather, too, cant get much more down home, do you think? Olson pointed out that the pieces were selected with input from the community through the voting system at the auction.
To me this says the public has good taste and a keen appreciation of art, she said.
If we continue to get the support from the public, we will continued to deliver more art.
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