Letters to the Editor

Winslow Way project should have local artist | Letters | March 18

We’d like to thank Sarah Wen (formerly of Kennedy and Kate) and Michael Read (www.winslowstreetsmarts) for all they are doing to help the downtown during the stress of the Winslow Way project.

However, we feel the team missed the mark when it came to commissioning the recent downtown art posters/postcards by Seattle artist Tyler Grobowsky.

Sarah explained why: a Seattle artist was chosen over a Bainbridge Island artist because the project was on a fast track. The team used Craigslist to find someone.

Craigslist? For our community art project? Such an odd, impersonal way to find an artist to create art for our island. Wouldn’t a letter in the Review or a few phone calls to local resources have been a better idea?

As former art gallery owners for six years on Winslow Way and hosts for two years before that as part of the Christmas in the Country tour, we think there are better ways to find an artist – a Bainbridge Island artist. A quick email or visit to any one of Kennedy and Kate’s former business neighbors on Winslow Way might have offered a few ideas about which local artists would’ve been perfect for this community art assignment.

BAC, BIAHC, Roby King Galleries, Island Gallery, Oil and Water are all wonderful resources for artists who live and work on our island. Bainbridge schools also have very talented young artists with a lot of offer – BAC just hosted its annual “Mixed Nuts” show featuring our younger artists’ work.

The communication budget for the Winslow Way reconstruction is $40,000, according to a recent Bainbridge Review article. I do not know how much was paid to Grobowsky. However, with the economy the way it is and the recent cuts in arts support on the island, a commission of this type would have been a marvelous gift to a Bainbridge Island artist. Not only the money, but the very public celebration of the art and also the opportunity for that artist to further his or her career.

The slogan from streetsmarts.com website “Shop Local First” (“when you buy local, you nuture community”) seems to have very sadly gotten lost here.

Jeff and Kathe Fraga

Bainbridge Island

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