She’s the woman behind Sorticulture, Music at the Marina and some of the most beloved statues in downtown Everett.
For those reasons — and more — Wendy Poischbeg was recognized at the 27th annual Wendt and Mayor’s Arts Awards ceremony Feb. 13 at the Everett Performing Arts Center.
Poischbeg, of Everett, received a Catalyst for Artists award “for advancing the cultural vitality of Everett by supporting, empowering and promoting local artists.”
Poischbeg was cultural manager for the city when she started an annual concert series at Port Gardner Landing in 1997 and annual garden arts festival in 1998. Today, Music at the Marina and Sorticulture are still local favorites; each year Sorticulture draws about 18,000 people.
She also began the city’s outdoor sculpture program, which allowed sculptures such as “Hide and Seek” by Wu Hai Ying and “Along Colby” by Georgia Gerber to become permanent art in downtown Everett, and spotlights local artists through her website, Eat Stay Love SNOCO.
“I feel like my fingerprint has been on the cultural economy of the area for a long a time,” said Poischbeg, who is now economic development and communications manager for the city of Snohomish. “It’s such a great feeling to be honored. I know how big of a deal it is.”
The recipients of the Mayor’s Arts Awards were honored at the ceremony, as well as the Richard Wendt Award of Excellence winners Steve and Carol Klein. The awards were created by the Everett Cultural Arts Commission to honor people and organizations who make a difference in the arts.
The Kleins, of Everett, are avid supporters of the Schack Art Center, Imagine Children’s Museum and the Village Theatre’s Mainstage and Kidstage programs. The award recognizes their lifetime commitment to Everett’s arts community.
“It’s just an honor and we were so shocked,” said Carol Klein, a retired Mukilteo School District administrator. “The arts bring people together, which creates community. It allows people to stay close to home and brings a great joy to life.”
The Kleins led the $5 million capital campaign for Imagine Children’s Museum in 2008, which resulted in a permanent location on Wall Street. More than 242,000 people visited the museum and participated in outreach programming in 2016.
In addition to supporting Schack Art Center and Village Theatre through donations, the Kleins also are patrons of the arts: They have season tickets to the Mainstage and Kidstage programs.
“We have grandkids who take classes down at the Kidstage,” Carol Klein said. “We really feel solid about wanting to support the arts from every angle that we can.”
Richard Porter received the Author and Storyteller award for writing lesser-known tales about city’s history and and many unsung heroes. The Monroe native and Everett resident’s 2018 book “Smokestackers!” includes civic leader Carl Gipson and dance teacher Betty Spooner, who exemplify the city’s grit.
“A lot of people here have tenacity,” he said. “Maybe that comes from a city being built, so to speak, by mill workers. I feel like that’s something I’ve seen a lot and tried to celebrate.”
Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens, and its many volunteers, was the winner of the Creative Placemaking award. The arboretum and gardens, established about 60 years ago, offers the chance to escape city life and enjoy nature with 3.5 acres of themed gardens, sculptures and pathways in Legion Memorial Park.
Every year, around 150 volunteers lead tours, gardening classes and organize a plant sale, which raises funds to keep the space free and open to the community, said Renee Greenleaf, marketing coordinator.
The Everett Civic Music Association received the Organization Making an Impact award. Founded 89 years ago, it’s a volunteer organization dedicated to bringing quality concerts and entertainment to the community at an affordable price. Past performers have included Scotland’s Maxwell Quartet, soul singer Alice Tan Ridley and guitarist Pavlo Simtikidis.
Carie Collver was the winner of the Legacy of Honor award for nearly 30 years as gallery director of the Schack Art Center, formerly known as the Arts Council of Snohomish County. In her first year, she more than doubled the money raised at the annual auction, H’Arts, by including more artists from north Snohomish County.
“I wanted to marry the north end and south end so we were a bigger driving force,” she said.
Since the 19,000-square-foot Schack Art Center was built in 2011, Collver has curated more than 200 exhibitions. The multipurpose art center features established and emerging artists from all over Snohomish County, including glassblowers, crafters, painters, photographers and woodcarvers.
“It’s been like watching a little sprout in your garden grow into a tree,” she said. “It’s so dear to my heart.”
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.