Category Archives: Art

The piano keys of Quincy Square


A cascade of oversized piano keys would run along the sidewalks of both sides of Fourth Street near Pacific Avenue, should plans for “Quincy Square” materialize.

As you may have read in my story in Sunday’s Kitsap Sun, a bunch of volunteers calling itself the “Fourth Street Action Group” has been meeting for about two years in an effort to revitalize a largely vacant section of the roadway between Washington and Pacific Avenues. I wanted you to have a chance to see for yourself the designs that have come out of those meetings, put together by Rice Fergus Miller Architects.

As you can see from above, the piano keys would serve to tell the story about how Jones, the icon, discovered his love of music after breaking into an armory one night in Bremerton about 70 years ago. There would be a square for concerts and other events and the roadway could be shut down to create a plaza around the square.

This project is by no means a slam dunk, however. The group, with the city as its advocate, will have to raise nearly $5 million to complete it.

And what about Quincy Jones himself? City officials have yet to talk with him about the plan and confirm he’d be willing to come to Bremerton for any kind of festivities surrounding the plaza project. Mayor Patty Lent has reached out to his staff, and has vowed to also contact federal judge Richard Jones, a half brother of the music icon based in Seattle.

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Behind the scenes at Bremerton’s symphony


After a flood had damaged Mary-Cathern Edwards’ Manchester home, an insurance agent came out and … checked out her cello.

The agent happened to be president of the Bremerton Symphony board, and they needed a cellist. Edwards accepted the challenge.

That was 42 years ago.

“I’ve been there close to the longest,” Edwards said. “There’s a great camaraderie, a great community musical effort. It’s such a cool thing to be able to share.”

On Friday night, 6:30 p.m., the venerable Bremerton Symphony, on the eve of its season opener, will throw open the doors for the Kitsap Sun’s latest story walk.

Some 60 musicians will be doing their seventh and final rehearsal of “Dvořák the Romantic,” at the Bremerton Performing Arts Center.

“We’re from all walks of life,” said William Ferman, a Bremerton physician who plays clarinet in the symphony. “It’s a real cross section of the community.” ‘

We’ll hear Friday from Conductor Alan Futterman and several musicians before they begin the rehearsal. I’m especially curious about what it takes, mechanically, to bring all the moving parts of a symphony together.

The result is beautiful music — and you’ll be able to watch the entire performance. I think this is a real treat, and I hope you’ll join us.

“To be able to join together and as a unit perform these great works — you can’t describe the joy it brings,” added Ferman.

To RSVP, click here, or just show up.

Here are links to our previous story walks:

Campus at a crossroads 

Is the Cove turning a corner? 

Storywalking history, the Roxy, and all things hoppy

Walking the new Westpark

The new Lower Wheaton Way

Washington Avenue, past and present

The meandering Madrona Forest

Redwood Rendezvous in West Bremerton

Fourth Street’s Economic Divide

Intersections of style: traffic cabinets getting artsy makeover

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“Salmon Woman” by Amy Burnett. Copyrighted image.

Traffic cabinets — those metal boxes that house the brains of an intersection signal — aren’t typically known for their style. But in Bremerton, they’re about to get some flash.

The city’s arts commission has selected the first two murals that will grace one traffic cabinet at 11th Street and High Avenue and another at Sixth Street and Washington Avenue. The cabinets, prone to graffiti and grit, will be beautified under a plan proposed by Mayor Patty Lent.

The first, seen above, is “Salmon Woman” by longtime Bremerton resident, proprietor and artist Amy Burnett. It will cover the cabinet at 6th and Washington.

The second, seen below, is by artist Joshua Fisher and is entitled “Pulchraphila — Beautiful Places.”

Both artists were honored at Wednesday night’s City Council meeting.

“If we want children to grow up and be involved in our cities, you have to have places worth caring for,” Fisher said of his piece.

The arts commission, which selected the art, was resurrected earlier this year by the mayor after a nearly four year hiatus due to lack of funding.

If you had a desire to design your own, fear not — there’s close to 40 traffic cabinets around the city. The commission welcomes submissions. Though their funding is limited the mayor hopes to continue the program and place designs over many cabinets in Bremerton. Cost per cabinet is about $1,800.

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“Pulchraphila — Beautiful Places” by Joshua Fisher.  Copyrighted image.

Manette’s new public art only visible in the rain

Photo by Mark Henson.

Wanna check out Bremerton’s newest public art? You’ll have to wait for some rain, or bring some water balloons along to reveal it.

That’s exactly what a group of Manette residents did on Saturday (not to mention it did actually briefly rain!). The neighborhood capped a community drive that brought a Seattle artist to Bremerton Saturday with a big reveal, on a sidewalk underneath the Manette Bridge.

The company behind the design is called Rainworks, and they’ve done around 50 of these pieces, according to artist and founder Peregrine Church. He and colleague Xach Fisher utilize a non-toxic and environmentally safe product that repels water, stenciling it onto the concrete below.

Cher and Church, of Rainworks. Mark Henson photo.

They came to Manette because the groundswell of support was great. About 130 people voted through a community contest to have Rainworks come here — more than the next four communities combined.

Church called it a “high energy, fun reveal.” (I regret I was not there due to other assignments.)

“It was pretty exciting,” he said. “They were pumped for it.”

A special thanks goes out to Mark Henson, one of our area’s great photographers, for taking photos.


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.

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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.

Pyrex for show, now Pyrex for sale

The museum's closed but the sign was repurposed.
The museum’s closed but the sign was repurposed.

Katrina Demmery may live in Florida, but that doesn’t mean she was going to miss out on the first day of sales at Amy Burnett’s new Pyrex-inspired store. 

Demmery, once stationed here in the U.S. Navy, sent a friend to the shop today to buy her up some of Burnett’s Amish Butterprint Pyrex models. I talked to her on her friend’s cell phone.


“I’m also looking for a lasagna pan,” Demmery said. “They’re pretty hot right now.”

Burnett’s store, which once boasted one of the world’s only — if not the only — museum devoted to the kitchenware, closed in December. She’s revamped the place into a store selling midcentury kitchen items, along with her art.

But mostly Pyrex.

On Thursday, the first day her new store opened, the place was pretty well full right at 11 a.m. But this was no liquidation, Burnett insisted.

“It’s a transition,” said Burnett, who is planning to sell her downtown building in the future. “Nothing has ever happened like this before.”

Burnett’s open on Fourth Street, near Pacific Avenue, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, if you’re looking to buy. Prices of most models are in the $20s and $30s.

Friday’s festivities in Bremerton

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Here comes Friday night. I’ve already mentioned many of the big festivities downtown tonight, as well as the appearance of chef-restauranteur Renee Erickson. But there’s much more going on, and here’s a running list to help you out. Did I forget something? Please let me know.

Fingers Duke Design Studio presents the artwork of Sean Dietrich (pictured), 523 Fourth Street. Bottom line: the ‘Industricide’ artist is ridiculously talented. Time: 6-9 p.m.

FROG Soap‘s grand opening and ribbon cutting, 530 Fifth Street. (Here’s a story the Kitsap Sun wrote about this environmentally conscious business.) Time: 4 p.m.

Admiral Theater Presents Livewire Theater, 515 Pacific Avenue. Tickets are $18 to $55 and a family pack is $40. Dinner’s 5:30 p.m. and show’s at 7 p.m.

Ish Vintage Clothing & Costume‘s Sixth Annual Art & Craft Show Local, handmade goods paired with live music and window models. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Mistarian Roses‘ Second Annual Student Art Show, 519 Fourth Street: first exhibitions by Stephen Voyles, Chloe O’Laughlin and Maggie Babb, students from Olympic College and NCAD. Live music to go with. Time: 5-8 p.m. 

Isella Salon & Spas Eighth Anniversary, 530 Fourth Street: Gift and service specials, live music, sample spa services and giveaways. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Viva Flow Yoga‘s Christmas Party, 515 Fourth Street: Complete with free Henna for guests. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Bremerton City Nursery’s Holiday Social, 912 Adele Avenue: Enjoy hors devours, Harvey’s Hot buttered rum and assorted desserts at the annual event. There’s also going to be a drawing for a $50 gift certificate. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Corner Coffee & Cafe’s Open Mic Night, 435 Pacific Avenue, plus the music of The Folkers. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Tami Sioux’s Open House, 658 Pleasant Avenue. Gathering at her home and studio. Time: 4-8 p.m.

The Kitsap Community Food Co-op at Toro Lounge, 315 Pacific Avenue: The co-op is hosting an art show this month, to include a piece it inspired. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Envisioning community


Twenty years ago, a group of local artists, who’d long met in the living rooms and public libraries of the county to discuss their craft, made a bold decision. They formed a co-op art gallery that has become a staple of downtown Bremerton.

Collective Visions, at the corner of Fourth Street and Pacific Avenue, survived what was arguably the downtown’s worst years in the mid-90s and has cultivated an arts community that has continued to churn out works of the best artists in Bremerton and around West Sound.

“We have persisted,” said artist Alan Newberg, one of four remaining original members. “And we’re proud of that fact.”

On Friday, the gallery will open its doors for the event that many would argue it started as one of the first in the state: the art walk. It is one of many ways — and perhaps the most prominent way — that the gallery has helped its surrounding community.

“We see ourselves as community builders,” Newberg said.

The gallery actually began as the Washington Avenue Art Gallery, on that street, a few blocks away, in 1994. But just two years later, the co-op moved into its current location after McBrides Hallmark packed up and left downtown. They couldn’t beat the initial $500 a month in rent there, Newberg recalled.

There was a lot to do to convert the building, constructed to be a bank, into an art gallery. The orange shag carpet had to go. And the 20-plus artists within the co-op weren’t told initially that there was even a downstairs to the building. It had been covered up, so the artists peeled back a makeshift floor to find a beautiful staircase.

 “It was a dark dungeon down there,” remembered Barbara Mills, another original artist in the gallery.

The gallery now includes some 3,400 square feet of space to showcase all its members, one of the bigger art galleries in the state. The room allows the cooperative to feature prominently one of its artists every month. (This month’s exhibit comes from Michelle Van Berkom (pictured), whose watercolor paintings take the viewer on a tour of some of North Mason’s most pastoral settings). They all pay dues to keep the gallery going but that allows for lower commissions on art sold there.

The gallery also takes center stage in the state art community each year during its annual CVG show. In its ninth year, Newberg said the even has served its purpose:  “create an event that would be on the cultural calendar of the county and beyond.” (Deadline for the 2015 show is Nov. 17, by the way.)

The gallery has played host to more than just art on its walls, though. They’ve had more than 100 concerts. Bremerton Mayoral Candidate Louis Mentor held his campaign kickoff there. They also started “Ars Poetica,” a show in which area poets would submit a poem to be paired with an artist, who would illustrate it.

But it all comes back to the art that has kept it going. The gallery has roughly as many artists now as it did when it started. Ages range from early-20s to mid-90s. They’ve seen many businesses and even art galleries come and go downtown. But they’ve maintained.

“The gallery has been a major success story,” said Ken Lundemo, another of the original artists. “I haven’t heard of an equal in my life that has stuck it out, have so much talent come and go. It’s going to go on.”

Mural comes home to Manette Saloon


If you’ve been in the Manette Saloon on East 11th lately, you know that one of its walls has recently been adorned with a fantastical mural, complete with soaring bald eagle, moss-covered tree and a Rainier-esque mountain. 

But those who’ve lived in the area awhile know the artifact is not new to the bar.

Rebecca Dove Taylor, the saloon’s owner, said the mural has come home, having been gone for more than a decade. Painted inside the bar sometime in the early ’90s, a former business partner took it with him when he left saloon management.

How it was painted — and who created it — is a great story in and of itself. His name is Jason Najarak, an artist and art conservator who once came to Bremerton to visit his brother.

Najarak, who has become renown for his “primal realism” style, is based in Minnesota. I tracked him down for a phone call a few weeks back.

A frequenter of the bar while here, Najarak, who tells stories of meeting Picasso on his web site, asked to paint the ambitious mural and created it right in the bar itself.

He used oil and egg tempura paint, a tradition that dates back to the middle ages, and took a few months to put it all together.

“Sometimes I’d go in there before they opened,” to work, he told me. “Sometimes, I would paint right there while they were partying behind me.”

He didn’t have a plan at first. In fact, that’s part of his signature style — he likes to work the canvas with some basic ideas, then go from there once he sees what he’s got. Often, he’ll paint over things he’s worked on for hours, even days, if he’s not feeling it.

“I like to paint my way out,” he said.

The best way to see this method is to watch him construct a similar mural over several weeks, thanks to the beauty of time-lapse photography.

Najarak said he’d love to return to Bremerton sometime, and get another look at the mural he created more than twenty years ago.

The old management partner that took the mural recently brought it back, Manette owner Dove Taylor told me.

She said the mural is now there to stay.

UPDATED: Downtown art show revisits what was ‘refused’


Friday night’s art walk is the debut of the “Salon des Refuses” art show in Bremerton, featuring pieces across downtown. The basic premise of the show is that the dozens of pieces in it weren’t accepted at a recent downtown art show, so the new displays, put on by Fourth Street glass experts Mistarian Roses, give them another chance for the spotlight.

“The show will feature some of the fantastic art that was not accepted into the 2014 Annual Art Show by Collective Visions Gallery,” said Mistarian Roses co-owner Julie Mistaria.

The “Salon des Refuses” tradition dates back to 1863 Paris.

Rather than just one location, the show will take place around town — at Mistarian Roses, Ish Vintage Clothing & Costume, the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce, the Kitsap Regional Library’s Fifth Street branch, Game Wizard and Blue Sky Hobbies, RockIt Roost and Timothy Stimac Salon & Spa.

Pictured above is a piece by Susan Blackburn called “Serenity and Obsession 3, to be displayed at Timothy Stimac Salon & Spa on Fourth Street.

Art walk begins at 5 p.m. downtown and in Manette.

UPDATES: Few more things to tell you about. Also in time for art walk, Hospice of Kitsap County will hold the soft opening of their new thrift shop (at the corner of Burwell Street and Pacific Avenue). And, take a look at this mural the Manette Saloon has just put back up. Old timers seasoned veterans of the area will recognize it and its history is quite the story (one I am planning to tell on this blog soon). Take a look: