News Roundup -- Park parties clean up ivy/Kids museum seeks parents/Art Soup starved out/Downtown forum slated

Park parties clean up ivy

Barely an hour after the City Council accepted the Waterfront Park Master Plan update Wednesday, project lead Tami Allen and Eagle Harbor resident Dave Ullin had put a call out for volunteers to help with park improvements.

With loppers, shears and even old sailing blocks, they showed up to clear ivy, holly and other invasive brambles blocking the waterfront view.

“I’m always inspired to do this kind of work,” Ullin said as he rigged an ancient block and tackle set to rip holly trees from the ground. “Any ‘real’ work is my idea of living.”

An email from Allen, who also serves as the city harbormaster, spurred resident Barbara Wood into action.

“I’m a member of the Queen City Yacht Club, so I thought helping was the least I could do,” she said as she hacked at blackberry vines. “This stuff is not fun to be around. It’s stickery and invasive and takes over everything. Hopefully the Oregon grape and huckleberry will be able to flourish.”

Other near-term projects at the park include the construction of a new bathroom and protective wraps for pilings. Allen and Ullin plan to work away at the park’s invasive plants with volunteers every Friday, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., until the project’s done.

“We call it our weekly nibble,” Allen said. “We hope more people will join us.”

– Tristan Baurick

Kids museum seeks parents

In preparation for its April opening for little people, the Kids Discovery Museum on Bainbridge Island is hosting an event for big people.

Big people only.

Those interested in a “sneak preview” of “KiDiMu,” located at 305 Madison, are invited to explore the space March 14-16 at 6 p.m., with no kids attached.

The event will feature wine and hors d’oeuvres, and a chance to check out the award-winning “Zany Rain Forest” and other exhibits that will be on display when Kitsap County’s first children’s museum opens April 19.

The adventurous can learn how to make their very own binoculars from recycled objects.

Proceeds from the event will help the Kids Discovery Museum complete its capital fundraising campaign. Rotary gave the museum a major boost this week with a $30,000 gift.

“Their stamp of approval opened doors for us,” said the museum’s founder, Molly Hogger. “We were able to secure sought-after grants and individual donations because of the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island.”

Rotary Club president Joanne Croghan said the club was pleased to take part “in this extraordinary addition to our community.”

The Kids Discovery Museum will feature science and nature experiments, creative “make and take” projects that combine art, culture and history, and a theater for dress-up and kids plays. The museum also has a birthday room for parties.

With artists, dancers, musicians, and theater groups contributing their expertise, “We really expect that it will become a community center,” Executive Director Cheryl Dale said. “We can’t wait for it to open.”

– Rhonda Parks Manville

Art Soup starved out

It’s your last chance to get a helping of Art Soup.

The three-year-old art gallery on Madrone Lane is going out of business this weekend, with a blowout sale and fond farewells.

“It was great to be here and to be in touch with everyone,” said owner Lone Hansen. “But helping starving artists has made me into a starving art gallery owner. So, now I’m out of here.”

Tucked behind the businesses that line Winslow Way, Art Soup wasn’t in the public eye as much as other art sellers, Hansen said.

“People always tell me they’ve walked by before, and that they mean to come in some day,” she said. “But that doesn’t pay the bills.”

The Denmark native said she will continue to operate her card manufacturing business from home and looks forward to doing some of her own paintings. She’ll also continue to serve on the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council board and volunteer as the Bainbridge In Bloom art coordinator.

Hansen said she’s enjoyed promoting many of the island’s new and lesser-known artists, but selling an average of one original painting a week wasn’t enough to get by.

Last year was particularly hard for the gallery after the national economy sagged.

“When the economy’s bad, art is not on the priority list of what you buy,” she said.

Despite economic blight, Hansen says Bainbridge arts are in full bloom.

“I’m very passionate about new art and I love to discover new artists,” she said. “My feeling is that this island is full of incredible artists and there’s not enough galleries to show it all.”

Art Soup will be open today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Call 842-1315 for more information.

– Tristan Baurick

Downtown forum slated

Next week, Winslow Tomorrow hosts a special two-day public workshop presenting the work by the Community Congress to date and getting public input on the next phase of the project.

Public feedback on the work is invited at the workshop, which will include informative exhibits; replays of presentations from expert speakers; one-hour discussion forums at 2 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday, asking questions about the direction of the downtown as the city grows and changes.

The events run 1-4 p.m. March 18 and 9 a.m. to noon March 19 at City Hall, with a presentation of results on April 9.

For more information, contact Cathie Currie in the mayor’s office at 780-8632, or

Blakely event raises $40k

Blakely Elementary School will get a rock climbing wall in the spring, thanks to the proceeds from the school’s 40th Birthday Bash and auction last weekend.

The auction raised more than $40,000 for the school, with items made by the school’s children – including furniture, paintings, and decorative mirrors, tiles and textile wall hangings – garnering final bids ranging from $150 to $1,600.

Parents and local merchants donated more than 225 goods and services for the silent auction, which drew parents, grandparents and alumni.

“We had been hearing that the community was tapped out, but we found them very supportive. We really had no rejections and the merchants were very supportive,” said Melanie Edenholm, a Blakely parent and one of the auction’s organizers.

The birthday party was held at Woodward school, and included dinner, treats, face painting, games and bounce houses.

Items that brought in thousands during the live auction included a paella dinner, a trip to Provence, France, a cruise, a week at a lakeside cabin, and Sonics and Seahawks tickets.

Edenholm said it was gratifying to see so many parents contribute to the cause. When the climbing wall goes in in late April, she hopes for a similar response from parent volunteers to get it installed.

– Rhonda Parks Manville

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