2015 AMOCAT Arts Award winners announced

14 Sep

The Tacoma Arts Commission has announced this year’s AMOCAT Arts Award winners: University of Washington Tacoma (Arts Patron), Tacoma Public Library (Community Outreach by an Organization), and Connie K. Walle (Community Outreach by an Individual). The AMOCAT Arts Awards honor those who provide distinctive contributions to the arts in Tacoma.

Arts Patron – University of Washington Tacoma

"Maru" by Gerard Tsutakawa on the University of Washington Tacoma campus. Photos courtesy of UW Tacoma.

“Maru” by Gerard Tsutakawa on the University of Washington Tacoma campus. Photos courtesy of UW Tacoma.

This award goes to University of Washington Tacoma for its ongoing commitment to serving and partnering with the greater Tacoma community. UW Tacoma’s contributions to the arts in Tacoma began 25 years ago at the campus’ founding, when 15 faculty members were hired to create an interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum. Since then, the university’s impact on the community can be measured by the work of its faculty, students and alumni; a dense network of partnerships and collaborations; and a growing public art collection.

UW Tacoma’s connections to the Tacoma arts community include glass art classes hosted at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma School of the Arts classes held on campus, and a partnership with Spaceworks Tacoma to support creative entrepreneurs. Recent collaborations include an innovative community-based theater production by UW Tacoma faculty and Toy Boat Theatre, and the hosting of a portion of the City of Tacoma and Tacoma Art Museum’s Pop-Up Art Putt! golf course.

UW Tacoma’s investment in developing the campus and Prairie Line Trail, with a commitment to aesthetic design and adaptive re-use, has encouraged a more walkable and beautiful community. The campus proudly displays a diverse art collection including works by Pablo Picasso, Dale Chihuly, Gerard Tsutakawa, Dawoud Bey, Buster Simpson and many others.

Community Outreach by an Organization – Tacoma Public Library

William Kamkwamba, author of The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, at Tacoma Public Library. Photo courtesy of TPL.

William Kamkwamba, author of The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, at Tacoma Public Library. Photo courtesy of TPL.

This award goes to Tacoma Public Library for its deep and ongoing commitment to creating opportunities for interactive and dynamic lifelong learning through the lens of arts and culture.

Tacoma’s public libraries are hubs of community activity where citizens can gather together to tell and create stories, listen to and create music, experience art, play chess, access the internet, and escape with a great film. The libraries bring readers and writers together to share a love of stories through book talks and signings, discussion groups, and the community-wide reading program: Tacoma Reads Together.

The Handforth Gallery at the Main Library provides an opportunity to experience visual art created by local, regional, national and international artists, as well as to hear artists talk about their work and learn more about the art forms through demonstrations.

The Tacoma Public Library provides free performing arts opportunities for the public including music concerts, puppet shows, magic acts, silent movies, jugglers, clowns, and acrobats. The Main Library’s StoryLab encourages students to expand their digital creativity through workshops in sound production, voice-over, film production and editing, beat-making, digital drawing, and song writing.

Community Outreach by an Individual – Connie K. Walle

Connie K. Walle.

Connie K. Walle reads from her poetry.

This award goes to Connie K. Walle for her commitment to elevating the literary arts in Tacoma and the South Sound. Walle is a poet, the founder and president of Puget Sound Poetry Connection (PSPC), and facilitator for the Distinguished Writer Series, which has been a staple of Tacoma’s literary arts community for 25 years and counting.

The Distinguished Writer Series provides a platform where poets of national regard share their work with the South Sound community, and where local writers of all levels and backgrounds can share their work in a constructive and supportive environment.

Under Walle’s leadership, PSPC has spearheaded multiple projects including literary publications, a teen writing contest and poetry workshops. She also hosts poetry critiques and produces a weekly e-newsletter promoting poetry-related opportunities throughout the region. PSPC, along with collaborating partners, are producing the first ever Tacoma Poetry Festival on October 16 and 17, 2015.

“What do I get out of this? Great poetry. Good friends. Good teachers,” said Walle. “Our group is the most generous and friendly reading in the state. No matter what the level of writing or reading, our people always make newbies feel welcome and encourage them to return. I set pretty high standards for our group and somehow they find a way to exceed it.”

The Distinguished Writer Series meets at 7 p.m. on the second Friday of every month at King’s Bookstore (218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma). The event is free and open to the public. All ages and levels of writing are welcome.


Awards Celebration

Awardees will be honored at the annual Tacoma Arts Month Opening Party on Oct. 1, from 6 – 9 p.m., at the historic Tacoma Armory (715 S. 11th St.). Mayor Marilyn Strickland will present the awards starting at 7:45 p.m.

In addition, there will be live entertainment at this event that includes music by Ken Jacobsen, contemporary dance by the BareFoot Collective, Samoan Village Dance by Asia Pacific Cultural Center, poetry by Tacoma Poet Laureate Cathy Nguyen, and more. Attendees can also explore a series of pop-up multimedia art exhibits by Christopher Jordan, Isaac Olsen, Jennifer Chushcoff, Nichole Rathburn, Janet Marcavage, Tim + April Norris, Terese Cuff, Elizabeth Gahan, Diana Leigh Surma and Judd Cohen. The event will include appetizers, dessert and a no-host bar.

This free public event is presented by the Tacoma Arts Commission and Spaceworks Tacoma with support from the Historic Tacoma Armory and is sponsored by Click! Cable TV, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Tacoma Weekly, Northwest Public Radio, KPLU, Weekly Volcano, South Sound magazine, and ARCADE.

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