From its beginnings, the city of Kenmore has built a close relationship with its skateboarding community and for the next month, they will be celebrating that relationship with an art installation at City Hall.
The Skater Park Street Art Exhibit will be on display from now through April 8, with four artists represented. The exhibit is a partnership with Arts of Kenmore (AOK), a nonprofit, and 4Culture, which is funded by King County.
Sara Solum Hayashi, AOK president and one of the featured artists, welcomed guests to the opening with a program and a cheat-sheet to help guests understand skate terminology. She said the program was meant to honor the Jack Crawford Skate Court, as well as highlight the local art community.
“When the city incorporated, the Arts of Kenmore incorporated…we came to the city and said, ‘When you build your City Hall, you can have your offices until 5 o’clock and then it’s our party house,’” Hayashi said as hip-hop played over the loud speakers.
Hayashi’s photos captured angles and curves in everyday life, often in a tight, close-up frame. She said the opportunity to display her work was a part of her joy with the event.
She wasn’t the only artist who worked with the city, William “Bill” Garza, a facility maintenance technician for Kenmore had two pieces displayed. Having lived in the Southwest prior to moving to Pacific Northwest, Garza’s first piece showcased his New Mexican roots, while the second piece utilized the Seattle skyline.
“Being Hispanic…my first impulse was to try and do something cultural, that’s why I made (Zapata) on my board,” Garza said. “I wanted to (also) do something that was Seattle-ish.”
He said the city brought comfort to him and other artists by welcoming individuality and uniqueness of its artists.
Deputy Mayor Nigel Herbig said that it was good for City Hall and the skate culture of Kenmore to interact with each other. He said he hoped for more programming and events in future. He also shared ideas that might broadly further skate culture in Kenmore.
“I’ve been bouncing around the idea, maybe we can find a place to have a graffiti wall in the city too — where people can come and do temporary, unauthorized ‘installations,’” Herbig said. “If you give people a place where they can actually do (street art)…then you don’t get it sprayed on the sides of buildings or schools. Plus it’s kind of cool, same thing with the gallery (at City Hall).”
Greg Pergament, whose work is also displayed in the exhibit, said this was a continuation of his relationship with AOK.
“Some of (my art) is actually skate related and the other of it encapsulates the mood and the feeling of skating,” Pergament said.
Pergament’s son Max Pergament has been skating for more than 10 years, and while Greg said he is not nearly as talented as his son, the two of them both enjoyed seeing the city welcome them in as skaters and artists.
Max’s former skate instructor Jason Singler had some of the most popular installations of the night. His pointillism on skate decks (the top of a skateboard) displayed portraits, cityscapes of Seattle and a view of Kenmore from the Jack Crawford Skate Court. Max said that the exhibit may even inspire him to try his hand at artistry.
The exhibit, is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Kenmore City Hall is located at 18120 68th Ave. NE.