“We’re just trying to get more art out there,” said Carol Hook, a local professional photographer and a founding board member of the Woodinville Arts Alliance, a newly formed group of artists and art aficionados dedicated to expanding the arts in Woodinville.
One of the organization’s first projects was a juried art show, which took place on Saturday at the Celebrate Woodinville Festival. The show featured 21 local artists who presented works in oil, watercolor, photography, computer art, and other mixed media.
Aaron Hazel won first place with his painting “Chief Anotklosh.” Lisa Kaplan’s “Wild Thing” took second and Jean Burnett’s “Sleeping Beauty” placed third.
“Based on our quick timeline, I was very pleased with the amount and quality of applications we had for this show,” said Ken Stodola, a Woodinville Arts Alliance board member and the owner of Tsuga Fine Art in Bothell.
The Woodinville Arts Alliance officially started just a few months ago. The group recently received Washington nonprofit status and is working on its 501(c) designation now.
Torrey Edwards, the Arts Alliance treasurer, said that festival goers on Saturday were enthusiastic about the display.
“My favorite moments would be the times children stopped by,” she said. “I’m so excited to promote a love of art in our future generations.”
The Woodinville Arts Alliance currently has 35 members, 18 of whom are on the board. Hook and two other local artists, Keith Megay (also a professional photographer) and Sean Carlton (an artist and sculptor who works mostly with wood and metal), first got together to talk about starting the organization last December.
“We wanted to get something going as far as art in Woodinville,” Hook said. “Both in just promoting artists and celebrating artists, but also in having some input and say in the art that gets put around Woodinville.”
According to Hook, the City of Woodinville did at one point have a plan to start an arts program. But with budget and staff cuts and the recession, the program was discontinued, she said.
“You look at these other places like Kenmore and Edmonds and they do all these wonderful art festivals,” Hook said. “You look at the fish sculpture on Woodinville Duvall Road and you look at how much people appreciate that.”
Aside from the juried art show, the Woodinville Arts Alliance is working to implement a variety of other projects as well, including the Celebrate Woodinville art poster contest, a studio tour, and a program through which wineries can connect with local artists.
“We revived the art poster contest because that had kind of fallen through the cracks,” Hook said. The first contest concluded last month.
The studio tour, at which guests will be able to visit the workspaces of local artists, will occur next spring.
The program connecting wineries to artists will launch soon. Wineries will be able to sign up for a subscription, view local artists and their work online, and then choose to display certain pieces on their walls for periods of three months.
Not only will businesses be able to support Woodinville-area artists, but Woodinville-area residents and tourists will be able to enjoy the art as well.
The motto of the Woodinville Arts Alliance is “to promote artists, art events and more physical art installations around the city of Woodinville.”
“Everybody’s craving for it,” Hook said.
Right now the organization is accepting donations through its GoFundMe page, which can be found on its website (woodinvilleartsalliance.com) and on its Facebook page. Sponsorship packages will also be available shortly, Hook said.
The group is looking for additional members, both artists and anyone who wants to become an advocate for the arts. Anyone wishing to connect in person with the Arts Alliance can visit the Woodinville Farmers Market on September 2, where Hook and others will have a booth.
“Art is important in every aspect of our lives,” Hook said. “I think it helps bring our community together. I think it helps give the city character.”