Approaching Storm by John Armstrong – an Inaugural Exhibit Winner

4Culture is opening up shop in Kent, with Hello 4Culture, and we thought it was a good time to check in with Ronda Billerbeck, the Cultural Programs Manager for the City of Kent and Director of the Kent Arts Commission, to see what she’s working on these days. We were excited to learn about one of their new programs, which includes an dynamic way to participate in the arts. We asked Ronda to share her news:

The Kent Arts Commission is proud to announce the launch of Kent Creates. This web platform for sharing art, culture, and creative endeavors is meant to be a community of imagination and inspiration for anyone who creates or seeks to be inspired by creativity.

Kent Creates is for artists, musicians, writers, crafters, illustrators, dancers, filmmakers, hobbyists, and other creatives to share their work and meet people with similar interests. Creative work of all kinds may be shared on KentCreates.com  – drawings, cartoons, recipes, do-it-yourself how-to videos, short films, and anything else creative minds can dream up.

The project started as a dream to involve and engage the public on a new level. Instead of commissioning an artist to make a piece of art to be passively experienced and enjoyed by the public, Kent Creates encourages Kent residents to be the artists.

We recognized a national trend – Individuals taking a more hands-on role in their participation of arts and culture, and often using technology to that end. Kent Creates is a response to these shifts in the way we generate and consume creative material.

The Kent Arts Commission believes strongly in the power of art to transform the lives of individuals and communities, and that creative pursuits are truly for everyone – not just professional artists. We know Kent – and the larger Puget Sound region – is home to a wealth of creativity including writers, musicians, singers, photographers, filmmakers, and others keeping traditional ethnic arts alive. We are pleased to implement Kent Creates to build connections through showcasing that creativity.

An Inaugural Exhibit was held in October and November of 2015 to launch and test Kent Creates; it garnered 48 submissions including photography, collage, painting, piano composition, poetry and more. The Kent Arts Commission voted on submissions and, in keeping with the Commission’s commitment to pay artists for their work, the top five pieces received $100 honorariums. The winners’ work also appears on the featured carousel on the Kent Creates homepage.

The five winners from the Inaugural Exhibit are: John Armstrong (photography), Mary Ann Cagley (encaustic photo transfer), Jamie Greene (watercolor), Arries McQuarter (piano composition), and Naoko Morisawa (mosaic collage).

The next exhibit for Kent Creates is open January 23 through March 31 and focuses on the theme of “Home.” The call for entries reads:

What does ‘home’ mean to you? In today’s world, many people move far away from the place they were born and raised, to distant cities, states, and countries. As a result, our communities are more diverse with people from varied ethnic, religious, socio-economic, and geographic backgrounds. Despite our differences, home is a common concept, one that elicits strong feelings, memories, and hopes. Is home where you currently live? Is it where you’re from? Is home a place or is it a feeling? Is it a group of people, a memory, or even a period of time? What is HOME?

Work may be submitted through March 31, 2017 – at which time the exhibit will close. The Kent Arts Commission will select the top five pieces, which will receive $100 honorariums and featured status on the site.

Kent Creates is free to use and anyone, anywhere can sign up; there is no requirement to live in Kent.