Local artists to be honored by Mayor’s Art Awards

EVERETT — The real name of the Wetmore Theater Plaza in downtown Everett is “Stardust.”

If you’ve seen the plaza at night as you’re headed to a play or a concert at the Everett Performing Arts Center or the Cope Gillette Theatre, you probably get it.

The person who gave the plaza its starry feel is Linda Beaumont. The Whidbey Island artist started the project in 2007 and finished it this year. It includes a fountain and a mosaic wall.

Beaumont and four other artists will be honored Dec. 1 with the 2015 Mayor’s Art Awards at the performing arts center. Also to be honored at “The Wendts” (think the Oscars) on Tuesday are the Richard Wendt Award of Excellence winners Carol and Buzz Rodland.

Beaumont is being recognized for her vision and dedication in creating the plaza, which is home to outdoor concerts and children’s play rehearsals in the summer, Everett’s annual Wintertide celebration (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3), weddings and picnics.

The 120-plus-foot mosaic wall is titled “Convergence Zone,” not just for the local weather pattern, but certainly for the plaza’s use as a community gathering place.

The concrete wall sparkles with shards of mirrored glass donated by B&B Glass near Tacoma, along with circles of marble. The great part, though, is that all sorts of people of all ages donated little pieces of beads, shells, pottery and other ceramic and metal elements to make circles or “pizzas” of memory, color and fun.

A few circle spaces remain on the wall for people who still want to participate, Beaumont said.

As Beaumont labored, covered in grout, to finish the wall on long summer days, people brought over a last flurry of items for the mosaic. One man left his mementos in her care.

“The guy came back and said, ‘How did you know where to put it all? It’s in just the right place.’ And that made me feel good,” Beaumont said. “Another man who stops by frequently said he likes the plaza because, ‘I come in here and I can’t be mad anymore,’ That makes it all worth it.”

The fountain, titled “The Cauldron,” features lights, a fog machine, a glass egg, a bronze weir waterfall, castings of animal skulls and other mysterious elements.

The Stardust plaza is a cross between a work by the painter Norman Rockwell and one by the cartoonist R. Crum, says Beaumont with a laugh.

The award makes the artist feel as if she is part of the community, “not a stagehand.”

“I am honored,” Beaumont said.

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

The Wendts

In recognition of Everett’s growing arts scene, the city’s Cultural Arts Commission created the Mayor’s Arts Awards to honor art educators, artists in the community, arts organizations and emerging artists who make a difference in the arts community. The Richard Wendt Award, established in 1992, is a lifetime achievement award for extraordinary commitment to the arts.

Everett natives Buzz and Carol Rodland, this year’s Wendt Award winners, are longtime supporters of the arts. She serves on the board of the Schack Art Center. He was named to the arts commission in 1975, shortly after the city established its ordinance setting aside 1 percent of capital funds for public art.

Buzz Rodland’s mother Betty was an artist who encouraged creativity. Carol Rodland said she was inspired by Maryalice Salget, an art director for the Everett School District.

“The Rodlands are enthusiastic volunteers who enjoy engaging our community in the arts,” said Judy Tuohy, the director of the Schack. “They have served on boards, mentored artists, volunteered, hosted and financially supported many art programs and organizations.”

Also involved with the Schack, art teacher Nancy Bell, is being honored as the educator of the year.

Bell has been the education director for the Schack since 1998, overseeing programs that offer training for teachers and parents, art competitions and exhibits for middle school and high school students, as well as field trips for elementary students.

Bell works with a board of teachers and others who are interested in the arts. Teen Nights at the Schack started as an experiment, but now it’s a popular monthly program. Likewise, Bell’s interest in scholastic art competitions are an important part of the year for the county’s high school artists.

“I do this because I believe in it,” Bell said.

Cafe Zippy, owned by Marilyn Rosenberg and named for her recently deceased, beloved dog Zippy, is the winner of the award for a business making a difference in the arts community.

Rosenberg opened the cafe after moving to Everett in the late 1990s. She wanted to encourage community and a place for artists to hang out.

Regular programs at the cafe include improvisational comedy, live music, open microphones for poets and musicians, and a rotating artwork display.

Jesse James Jeter is the city’s artist in the community award-winner.

“It’s nice to be appreciated and acknowledged,” he said.

Jeter grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, after college at Claflin University, which has a nice collection of his work, and then to New Orleans, Louisiana. He moved to Everett in 2000.

The painter/sculptor enjoys the city and its expanding arts scene. He is the artist who painted the mural of Carl Gipson at the senior center in Everett.

Jeter said he has enjoyed painting pianos and typewriters for the city’s Street Tunes and Word on the Street projects. He currently is working on a portrait of his wife, Wanda.

Matt Moses is the winner of the city’s emerging artist award.

With his friend Blake Paine, Moses owns the Elpis &Wood furniture shop in Everett.

Elpis is Greek for the word hope, and the business has a community focus, with the duo supporting organizations such as Cocoon House.

Matt’s dad and grandpa worked at the Scott Co. paper mill and he grew up in Marysville. Moses said his dad, an artist on the side, was his first inspiration. He studied art and design with Thom Lee at Everett Community College.

Moses and Paine make designer furniture from salvaged or reclaimed wood. They also participate in

“It’s functional art,” he said.

If you go

The recipients of the 2015 Richard Wendt Award of Excellence and the Mayor’s Arts Awards will be honored by Mayor Ray Stephanson during a public celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 1, at the Everett Performing Arts Center. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the program begins at 7 p.m. The evening features video presentations by Everett resident Deb Fox, who has produced videos for nationally televised awards ceremonies. For more information, contact Carol Thomas, city cultural arts manager, at cthomas@everettwa.gov, or visit everettwa.gov/mayorsarts.

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