Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Art Moves Redmond

Art Moves

Here in small-town Redmond people are prone to expressing themselves in all sorts of ways.  Most of the adult flag-waving and social media posting creates conflict, while teens feel free to passively flaunt their creativity through clothes and hair. There are plenty of bumper stickers and signs that point the way to political opinion or social change.  It's a confusing time.  The City of Redmond has managed to take on the mammoth challenge of self-expression with an Art Council that actually inspires art.  

The Dry Canyon is a four mile stretch of mixed use areas including ball fields, playgrounds and bike trails.  Where the paved trail runs under Highland Avenue (Highway 126) there is a very special art installation.

Moth and Octopus

This pedestrian tunnel used to boast some of the worst graffiti in town.  After years of beautiful mural paintings being desecrated, then painted over, then tagged again, the Art Council finally decided to let the public have their way with it.  They painted the entire tunnel gray and put this message in a small space near one of the entrances: 
Authorized area for original street art
All are welcome to paint.
Only paint on interior tunnel walls/ceiling.
Please dispose of trash.
No profanity, tags, advertisements or political artwork.
Keep it clean - this area to be enjoyed by all.

Elephant Tusk

At first there was a lot of gang tagging, inappropriate language and sloppy spray painting, but slowly over time the most thoughtful creations are left alone and seem to multiply.  Some are anonymous and some are signed.  Professional artistry mixes with young effort and creative explosion. Of course there is still occasional graffiti or inappropriate art, but anything that goes against the guidelines is quickly covered with gray paint by city employee fairies with paintbrushes who seemingly come in the night and create space for new art in its stead.  We've seen some beautiful work, of which these are only a few.  The beauty of the art installation lies in it's fragility.  You never know day to day what will appear.  Someday, I'm hoping (or planning?) someone will paint the ceiling black and starry or maybe with a Michaelangelo-type mural. Have I painted in the tunnel, you ask?  Have you?  


Saturday, April 11, 2020

U of W students hunker down abroad as Italy endures COVID-19 ...
America is at home.  Our streets and monuments and downtown shops are empty.  Our schools and universities and libraries are deserted.  Sure it's all happening online- and behind those cameras (always focused on the prettiest wall in the house) people are getting a little crazy.  I saw one lady this week do a fashion show with her cat.  I saw a sportscaster do a play by play of his dogs sharing a beloved toy.  Jimmy Fallon is letting his kids write his jokes. How long can we go on like this?

Our backyard is like Lord of the Flies.  I pushed the kids out and shut the door the other day, letting them run wild with tarps and hoses and recyclables and whatever else they could find.  I went out there to check on them hours later and they had set up a post-apocalyptic trading post where one kid with a suspicious eye patch was trading cups full of dirt for empty cereal boxes with the other kid who was sitting, with the dog, in a wading pool full of water.  Peering into the "trading tent" I found a tray of my poor plant starts and was able to rescue them from certain death. There was a lot of mud.  Did I mention these girls are 13 and 9?  Seriously.  Unfortunately they've now figured out if they stay off screens and play nice I won't ask them to do any chores or extra schoolwork.

The flurry of well-meaning home-based activities is dying down.  The storm of cute chalk pictures and window paintings has waned.  I think the next phase will be much less outwardly demonstrative.  I suppose the children will figure out, like mine, that it's kind of ok to be bored in the backyard and parents will learn that it's ok to not talk to another adult for a whole day and that somehow we're all going to make it.  Yes, I'm checking on my extroverted friends to make sure they're ok.  Yes we're getting out for walks and sunshine.  Yes we're going to be ok.  As long as that pirate in the yard doesn't try to sell any more of my plants.  We might need to eat those in a few months.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Winter Words

Breakfast burritos
and hot coffee.
Sleepy-eyed princesses
poured into tights and turtlenecks
gripping smoothies
blearily eyeing the rising sun.

Arrival moment-
circus-fest of bags
claim a table
beckoning snow
pros waiting for skis
remember when
they were small girls
gripping my knees?
wait, wait, wait

Up, up, up and away
the chairlift circles
Girls' wide-eyes
see snowy trees
blue skies
fierce and full
of TRY.