Wuts’ ‘Heron’s View’ selected for CalPortland silos in Kenmore

“Heron’s View” by Joe Wuts has been selected to go up on the CalPortland concrete silos, which can be seen along Highway 522 in Kenmore.

The design was voted on by members of the public after Arts of Kenmore (AOK) held a juried art competition for design submissions. The 10 semifinalists were on display in an exhibit in the Kenmore City Hall Gallery from March 17 through May 11 and community members were able to vote on their favorite designs.

According to an AOK press release, the exhibit received more than 360 ballot votes, with “Heron’s View” receiving the most votes.

Wuts is is an award-winning artist throughout the Pacific Northwest, working primarily in wood sculpture, mixed media and humor, the release states. His 18-foot handcrafted wooden kayak was awarded the Kenmore Art Show’s Best of Show in 2014 and was put on display at Kenmore City Hall. In addition, Wuts’ art is on display at the Parklane Gallery in Kirkland and the Art of the Port gallery in Port Townsend. For more information on Wuts, visit www.fallenlimbs.com.

“Heron’s View,” which is currently 32 inches by 47 inches, will be enlarged and printed onto a 32-foot by 47-foot canvas by Lang Media Graphics and installed later this summer at the CalPortland facility.

The new piece of public art was made possible by a small group of diligent volunteers who formed the Hwy 522 Beautification Projects campaign, the release states.

According to the release, the Hwy 522 Beautification Projects group, whose motto is “Let’s Beautify This!” intends to continue creating public art projects along Bothell Way to support local artists and beautify the landscape.

“The public art scene was set in motion last summer with the Kenmore mural project at St. Vincent de Paul,” AOK curator Sara Solum Hayashi said in the release. “Adding the ‘Let’s Beautify This!’ project to our roster of outreach productions has been a positive partnership for AOK in our mission to support both active and passive art in our community.”

“Let’s Beautify This!” experienced tremendous outpouring of volunteers over the past two years and support by local businesses, individuals and organizations eager to participate in Kenmore’s artful landscape. According to the release, the most crucial partnership was with Kenmore CalPortland and Lang Media Graphics.

“CalPortland is pleased to continue our tradition of supporting the Kenmore community that began when this concrete plant was established back in 1948. We appreciate the effort of the citizens who made this project possible and look forward to cooperating by installing and displaying the artwork,” said plant superintendent Robert Burens Jr..

For those who would like to get involved with the Hwy 522 Beautification Projects or would like more information contact Andrea Hansen at letsbeautifythis@gmail.com. To donate to the projects visit www.gofundme.com/letsbeautifythis.

According to the release, the silo project came about after it was suggested to decorate the concrete plant. This turned into a citizens’ campaign to add color and character to Kenmore with public artwork along the Highway 522 corridor.

The concept, the release states, was sparked in April 2015 at the city’s “For the Love of Kenmore” workshop conducted by urban planner Peter Kageyama. The workshop rallied attendees to brainstorm ways to make the city “more interesting and fun.”

One group’s idea, voted as the best project, received a grant of $500 for seed funding toward production. Dennis Mendrey and Kent Sturgis took this to heart and began the Hwy 522 Beautification Projects campaign, according to the release. The group partnered with AOK as facilitator in 2016. Steve Hall and Andrea Hanson added momentum and “Let’s Beautify This!” quickly became the group’s motto when their giant banner was draped across concrete tanks along the Burke-Gilman Trail.

“Two-thousand fifteen’s ‘For the Love of Kenmore’ event brought out a lot energy and creative ideas. I was quite frankly surprised when ‘Let’s Beautify This!’ received more support than the other ideas that evening. The fact this project has legs and is moving forward is a testament to the can-do, out-of-the-box thinkers and doers we have here in Kenmore,” said Kenmore City Manager Rob Karlinsey.

The city hosted a second “For the Love of Kenmore” workshop in April and continues to buoy many citizen-led projects such as block parties with kid-friendly activities and live music, painted fire hydrants and secreted yarn-bomb decorations on the Heron bike racks, the release states.

Next up at the AOK Gallery is the Kenmore Art Show’s featured artist exhibit, “The Art of Irina Milton.” The 19th annual Kenmore Art Show (KAS) opens June 21 with a public reception from 5:30-8 p.m. at Bastyr University (14500 Juanita Dr. N.E. in Kenmore). KAS runs through June 25.

For more information about AOK, Kenmore Art Show, grants for schools, and volunteer opportunities, visit www.artsofkenmore.org or contact info@artsofkenmore.org.