Arts commission restarts Thursday

Cover me with art!
The traffic cabinet at 11th and High. 

For the first time in nearly four years, Bremerton’s seven-member arts commission will meet Thursday afternoon.  Mayor Patty Lent declared earlier this year that the commission, which seeks out and recommends public artwork for installation in the city, would reconvene following a hiatus due to lack of funds.

Their finances will be limited. The arts commission was supported by dedicating one percent of funding from capital projects in the city. There are no such projects on the table right now. Their budget has about $50,000 left but that’s likely to be left for ongoing maintenance of current pieces, according to Cynthia Engelgau, the arts commission’s staff member from the city’s parks department.

So what can they do? Plenty, Engelgau says.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 6.33.31 PM
An art-covered utility box I found in Vancouver, B.C.


For starters, Lent has directed the commission to help decorate the city’s traffic cabinets. You know, those rather rectangular metal cases you see at every intersection with a traffic light (pictured). They’re frequent targets of taggers. For $1,800, the city can have a cover for the cabinet custom made, with any artwork of its choosing.

And if a cabinet with an artsy cover is tagged? Public works crews can easily wash it off. The covers will be paid for out of the city’s street fund, Engelgau said.

One to two will be funded each year. The first two will be the cabinet at Sixth Street and Washington Avenue and the one at 11th Street and High Avenue. The latter of which will likely be designed by students at Bremerton High School. But the arts commission will get to have that discussion.

Engelgau said the commission is also hoping that “art advisory panels” from different arts disciplines (like, say poetry) will form in the city and can offer input to the commission.

She’s also created an ideas journal she’s calling the “Possibilities Book.” Any idea that comes into the city for art will be included. Know that old concrete wall where the Maple Leaf Tavern used to be on Lower Wheaton Way? Manette resident Robin Henderson may have the distinction of being the first in the “possibilities book” for his idea to decorate that wall.

Thursday’s meeting is open to the public. It starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Sheridan Community Center on Lebo Boulevard.

The members of the commission are: Emily Russell, Sheridan Mosher, Joanie Pearson, Angela Perryman, Blair Schuetz, Jacquelyn Speare and Deborah Woolston.

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