Washington State Arts Commission e-Newsletter
October 2012

Eliud Hernandez (seated center), deputy director of Illinois Arts Council, was among 350 lively participants at the Arts & Social Change Symposium.
Photo by Robert Wade.

Making Art, Making Change: Trends & transformations in uncertain times

The 2010 US Census provides compelling data about the changing demographics of our communities. Consider this:
  • Washington state's 2010 population was 73 percent white and 11percent Latino. Median age for whites is 42. Median age of
    Latinos is 24.
  • The suburbs are diversifying to mirror American demographics.
  • Seattle is expected to be "majority minority" in 2035 -- meaning nonwhites will then outnumber whites.

These findings came from Dr. Manuel Pastor, of the University of Southern California, keynote speaker at the 2-day symposium titled "Arts & Social Change," held October 12 and 13 at the Seattle Center. ArtsWA was one of the key sponsors and on the planning team for this event. The goal of the symposium was to address the role that diverse arts play in creating awareness, inspiring, understanding, and developing policies to address cultural equity and social change.


The symposium also offered opportunities to network with other leaders and activists in the arts, social services, public agencies, and philanthropy. In the words of Dr. Pastor: "It's more than policy: Arts are fundamentally about self-expression, community building, and democracy. We need to get past a strictly utilitarian notion of arts and see this as part of the way we understand, experience, and embrace the world."   


Dr. Pastor's presentation will soon be available on our website at www.arts.wa.gov. I hope you will watch it. 


Keep in touch.  






2012 Governor's Arts & Heritage Award recipients and reception hosts.
 Photo by Weldon Wilson.

Recipients of Governor's Arts & Heritage Awards honored at reception

This year's recipients of the Governor's Arts & Heritage Awards were honored at a reception at the Governor's Mansion on Oct. 15. The awards recognize individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the arts and cultural traditions of Washington state.


Receiving the Governor's Arts Award:

  • Book-It Repertory Theatre, Seattle, an artists' collective and touring theater company
  • Robert Maki, Kingston, sculptor and leading public art advocate
  • Lucia Perillo, Olympia, Pulitzer Prize finalist and MacArthur fellow in poetry

Receiving the Governor's Heritage Award:

  • Bailadores de Bronce, Seattle, a volunteer group that teaches and performs Mexican folkloric dances
  • Heritage University, Toppenish, supports a strong art and cultural education programs that serves multicultural populations that are geographically and educationally isolated
  • Johnny Moses, Tulalip, Native American traditional singer and storyteller who speaks eight Native languages and travels extensively to share his culture
  • Maurice Rouman, Everett, Egyptian oud player and composer, nominated for the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Award. (The oud is a stringed instrument resembling the lute.)  

ArtsWA facilitated the nomination and selection processes. "We received many outstanding nominations," said Kris Tucker, Executive Director of ArtsWA. "We are so fortunate to have such a diversity of creative, extremely talented individuals and organizations in Washington. I am very pleased that Governor Gregoire is honoring the arts and heritage of our state in this way."


The Awards were established in 1966. Since then, 150 individuals and organizations have received Arts Awards, and 51 individuals and organizations have been honored with a Heritage Award. In 2010, ArtsWA temporarily suspended the awards due to budget cuts.



Langston Ward, Poetry Out Loud state champion

State Poetry Out Loud champion, Langston Ward,

from Mead High School,

in Spokane.

Photo by Cortney Kelley.


Poetry recitation contest helps high school students and teachers love poetry

"Reading words is great, but they are also meant to be spoken. The way that you say things is so important, and with poetry, which is meant to convey emotions and tell stories, it's crucial. There are poems I didn't get AT ALL before Poetry Out Loud that I now love."  

--Participant at National Poetry Out Loud competition (http://www.poetryoutloud.org/praise 


High school students across our state and across the country are, like the student quoted above, engaged in a program that is enhancing skills in reading, text analysis, presenting, and listening. In the process, they are also enjoying learning about great poets and great poetry.  


Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation contest for students in grades 9 through 12. A school-based program, it uses a pyramid structure in which students advance from classroom competitions to school-wide, regional, and state competitions. One student from each state advances to the national finals.  


Any school in Washington State serving students in grades 9 through 12 may register to participate in the state program. The registration deadline is November 15, 2012. To learn more about the timeline, as well as to find out about professional development workshops for teachers (taking place in October and November) please visit our website for more information, or email poetry.out.loud@arts.wa.gov.


Teaching artist participate in training workshop, 2012. 

Teaching artists offer expertise in the classroom

We are pleased to welcome three new teaching artists to our roster of teaching artists: Jeff Bender, a writer based in Bellingham, and Seattle-based dancers Timothy Lynch and Abdoulaye Sylla. Check out their profiles, along with those of more than 30 other teaching artists working in dance, music, theater, visual arts, and literary arts. Teaching artists on our roster have gone through an extensive application and review process, ensuring that they have the skills and expertise to work as partners with K-12 teachers and schools. Visit the roster pages and learn more about the skills and expertise teaching artists can bring to the classroom.



Wahitis Elementary art reflects landscape, heritage
by Laura Becker, Art in Public Places

Susan Aurand, Wahitis Elementary, Othello

Susan Aurand, Wahitis: Viewing the World from a High Place (detail), 2012.

Photo by Laura Becker.  


As one approaches Othello, and especially for those who are visiting for the first time, the landscape is particularly interesting, with big skies, sharply carved ravines, and expansive, notched, cliff faces of basalt. There is a constant hum of wildlife. The town also stirs with energy and the people that call Othello home take great pride in where they live. They are welcoming to visitors, and it is obvious that it is a supportive, embracing and vibrant community.


Artist Susan Aurand recently installed her new addition to the State Art Collection at Wahitis Elementary School, in Othello. She, like me, was taken with the landscape and the way people made her feel when she visited. Through her artwork, she wanted to pay homage to the unique history and character of the landscape with a visual assemblage of sculptural panel
paintings that capture the area from past to present. The name of the school, Wahitis, is a Wanapum Indian word that roughly translates to "viewing the world from a high place," which resonated with Susan. As a lifelong educator, Susan connected to the nature of artwork in an elementary school and the potential it holds for students' learning and respect for place. She says that the phrase "from a high place" suggests a particular way of looking at the world, namely looking with deep clarity and awareness, an openness of vision.

Susan Aurand, Wahitis, petroglyphs
Susan Aurand, Wahitis: Viewing the World from a High Place (detail), 2012. Photo by Laura Becker.

As part of her artwork proposal, Susan asked students to draw petroglyphs of things that were important to them, so that she could incorporate them into the artwork. These petroglyphs can be seen, alongside traditional petroglyphs, on the high-fired ceramic elements of the artwork that represent the ubiquitous basalt columns seen so readily around this area.


The dedication of the artwork appropriately coincided with the grand opening of the new school. District Superintendent George Juarez, Assistant Superintendent Gina Bullis, Wahitis Principal Pete "Poppa Hawk" Perez, and the entire School Board were in attendance to celebrate this beautiful new school, a facility that is responding to the growing population of Othello. The crowd gathered in a sun-soaked entrance plaza and was ushered in by the Othello High School Drum-line, led by band director Jared Bailey.. Parents, students, community members -- all were obviously excited about their new school. Celebration attendees offered many compliments about Ms. Aurand's artwork. The beauty of Susan's creation also lies in its accessibility. In my conversations with attendees,  I heard people say how they could gaze at the art for hours. They also noted there was a little something for everyone in these artworks. Such comments offer a true testimony to the success of this project -- artwork that speaks to the people that interact with it on a daily basis.


Susan Aurand dedication, Wahitis
Othello High School Drum-line performing at the grand opening of Wahitis Elementary School and dedication of Susan Aurand's artwork.  
Photo by Laura Becker.


In This Issue
Seven receive Governor awards
Poetry Out Loud competition begins
Teaching artists offer expertise
Public art reflects community
Arts survey results available
Quick Links
Looking for a job, a grant, or an artist opportunity?  Visit these websites:
Artist Trust

Want to know the results of the Washington State 2012 arts survey? Our webinar slides are posted on our
WELCOME to Sen. Curtis King, our newest Board member. Sen. King serves the 14th Legislative District and lives in Yakima. Learn more about him at his website.


Artist Trust will present us with a Creative Catalyst award on Thursday, Nov. 1. You can be there to see it! Click here for tickets.