Friday, August 10, 2007

Boys in the Band

Enumclaw, WA is a quaint little town nestled at the base of Mount Rainier, forty-five minutes South East of Seattle. It is a cow town with a smallish population of around eleven thousand tops. On Thursdays, they clean out the barns at the local dairies, hosing the manure water out through a system of drains. These drains lead to pipes that carry the water through a system of sprinklers out in the fields where it is sprayed through the air fertilizing the grass. Thursdays in my house was often called "Shit Day" as that is what all of Enumclaw smelled like on thursdays.

Enumclaw doesn't really like art, I do. Enumclaw likes sports. The EHS Hornets have been a strong football team for some time and the people of Enumclaw like it that way. Enumclaw for the most part is a set of flannel wearing, shit talkin', chaw spittin, bible thumpin', hard workin' hicks.

No kidding: Enumclaw in native american means "Land of the evil spirits." Sometimes it really lived up to that name.

Incidentally, I lived in Enumclaw, so typically this place mystified, terrified, and annoyed me.

Enumclaw has a small community of artists that live in and around the outskirts of the town, making their wares to sell at flea markets, or sell in small galleries. It also has an arts commission that is turning 25 years old this weekend.... This was news to me yesterday, as their presence when I was living there was little more than maybe a quilt show every two years. To commemorate their apparent 25 years of success, they chose to purchase a sculpture to place in front of city hall that expressed what Enumclaw was really about. They got a few bids from some local artists and instead of trying to make one of those designs happen, they bought a sculpture online that was a knock-off by a fake artist and sent from China. They got what they payed for..... a piece of crap and a Rockwell painting rip-off to boot....



What were they thinking ya ask? Well here's a quote from Gary LaTurner of the Enumclaw Art Commission: ["Our point was to buy something affordable that referenced the arts community in Enumclaw," said Gary LaTurner, Enumclaw's cultural-programs manager. "It's a very comfortable piece to look at. It's very user-friendly."] This quote alone was enough to earn an angry but constructive email to the Arts commission and the mayor of Enumclaw Washington.

I sent of an email expressing disappointment and concern at their choice of A. A piece of junk, and B. To not use a local artists work, who might better understand and express enumclaw in an artistic form. Last time I looked I don't remember that online sculpture catalog from China living in Enumclaw.

You'd think with a mission statement to: "...enrich the plateau area by coordinating and supporting literary, visual and performing artists and events, both amateur and professional." that they would have put more thought or effort into this. Whew it feels good to express anger constructively even though I am sure it fell on deaf ears over there. Like they care what the ex-token fag of the town thinks now that he lives in LA. I just hope that some day the artistic community there can grow and be supported by the so called "Enumclaw Arts Commission."

2 comments:

Mr. Mick Bright Kim said...
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Debra Rexroat said...

I, too wrote a letter . . .to the editor of the Seattle Times, regarding this piece of garbage. The purchase of counterfeit art with "public art" money, some of which comes from my county property taxes, still sticks in my craw . . .