Take note of first instrument in Arlington Sound Garden

ARLINGTON — The Swanson family moved to Arlington two years ago, but they already are making their mark, especially along the Centennial Trail in the downtown area.

Last summer Tanner Swanson, 16, put up informational kiosks on the trail as part of his Eagle Scout project. This week, his brother Trey, 14, is installing a xylophone in the city’s new Sound Garden just off the trail near Legion Park.

“I feel good about this project,” said Trey, who has only a few more merit badges to go before earning the Eagle rank in Boy Scouts. “It’s going to be great when I ride my bike through town and see people using the outdoor musical instruments.”

The Swanson boys have been helped on their projects by their parents, Heather and Jeff Swanson.

“Scouting is central to our lives right now,” Heather Swanson said. “And we just love doing projects for the city.”

With the help of the Arlington Arts Council, the city of Arlington can boast about its outdoor sculpture collection. During the past 10 years, the arts council has helped the city acquire more than 30 pieces of art, much of which is outdoors.

The Sound Garden is an idea the arts council has been talking about for years, said member Virginia Hatch.

“It is so nice to have an interactive piece of art, especially along the trail,” Hatch said. “I envision families on bikes enjoying a stop in Arlington and playing in the Sound Garden.”

The $6,000 xylophone that the Swanson family has installed is the first of four instruments the arts council hopes to place in the garden, Hatch said. The Arlington Arts Council raised the money for the xylophone at its annual auction in October.

As a backdrop to the Sound Garden, the city also asked the Swanson family also to build a plywood frame for a reproduction mural of a painting of a bluegrass band by the late Jim Walker, an arts council member.

Jeff Swanson, who works for Burlington Northern Santa Fe, got the rail company to donate the materials for the mural, said Sarah Lopez, parks manager for the city.

Now the Arlington Rotary Club has announced that it will match $2,500 in donations to buy the next instrument for the Sound Garden, Lopez said. Drums, bells and pipes are on the wish list of future instruments.

“These are sturdy, durable, fine-tuned musical instruments,” Lopez said. “Along with sounding good, they also have an attractive sculptural presence.”

To donate to the Sound Garden, call Hatch at 360-403-1011 or go to www.arlingtonartscouncil.net.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

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