EVERETT — They are artists, art lovers and lovers of each other.
On Thursday, that synergy set when Jeremy Calvo got down on one knee and asked Annette Flores to marry him in public view at the Schack Art Center in downtown Everett.
The elaborate surprise took weeks of planning and involved a painting, a clothespin and a double date — also the cooperation of people who still believe in love.
It all came off without a hitch. Flores, with tears of joy, a kiss and a hug, said yes.
“It was very surreal,” Flores said afterward. “You talk about it, but when the moment is actually happening it’s totally a surprise. Emotionally, there’s just no way to prepare for it.”
For Calvo, his joy was expressed on Facebook on Friday morning when he wrote: “I woke up this morning an engaged man!”
The young couple — she is 27 and he is 23 — started out like many do, meeting at the right place at the right time.
But the romance between these two sparked in a special way.
“You could say that we were drawn together by the arts,” Calvo said.
These two dwell in the arts. Their favorite dates, their anniversaries and birthdays have been spent going to art galleries, attending art forums or painting together.
Their first conversation, in fact, was about concepts in modern art, Calvo said.
The two met in late August 2010 when both were working as summer interns at Eastside Foursquare Church in Bothell.
Calvo had just moved back to the Pacific Northwest from Arizona after completing a technical audio degree. He was interning at the church’s audio department and Flores was interning in the children’s department after having finished her degree in California.
Flores was just going to stay for the summer. Then she met Calvo.
The two talked briefly one day in the church lobby. It was later, on a sunny weekday afternoon, that they actually noticed each other and had a conversation.
A coffee date followed. Then lunch.
Flores got a job in an elementary school and decided to stay in Washington.
“The rest is history,” Calvo said.
The couple had talked about marriage and Calvo had ordered a custom ring.
Then Calvo began scheming the proposal.
He knew he wanted to ask Flores in a way that fit them as individuals and as a couple. He also wanted something unique.
Calvo then consulted with his friend, Jessica Voelker, an artist employed with Snohomish County’s Economic Development Department.
Voelker suggested Calvo propose at the beautiful Schack Art Center. Though Schack has been the host of many events since it opened in 2011, Thursday’s marriage proposal was a first.
The plan was Calvo and Voelker would create a mixed-media painting that bore the words, “You Are My Heart,” and a picture of the couple along with the engagement ring, that would be attached to the piece with a clothespin.
The ruse was that Calvo and Flores would plan a double-date with Voelker and her husband after meeting first at Schack. Calvo would then lead Flores to the proposal painting and then he would pop the question.
That’s what happened.
When Flores got to the painting, she stood staring at it for a long time. She began wiping tears from her cheeks as Calvo released the ring from the clothespin, got on one knee and asked her to marry him.
The small group that had gathered cheered. Cork bottles popped.
“It’s just wonderful,” Flores said, holding a champagne flute. “Perfect.”
Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424; email@example.com.