“Creature Feature: Animal Art” Exhibition Brings Warm Fuzzies

Creature Feature: Animal Art
April 6 – June 29, 2018
Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery, 3rd Floor

How long have artists been making art about animals? Over 40,000 years!

Detail of Jeffry Mitchell’s “Petit Nature Morte (sic)”

There’s nothing in the city’s collection that far back, but we do have a variety of artworks that include various creatures both real and imagined. Creature Feature: Animal Art includes 23 artworks by 22 artists in a range of mediums, from tiny prints to large sculptures.

Detail of Shelley Moore’s “Ramona and Otis Watch the Insects”

Many of the animals found in Creature Feature are based in reality but a few artists reference mythology or create something new. Cappy Thompson’s painting on glass, Sophia and the Animals, depicts a woman surrounded by animals, a few of which don’t exist in nature. Owl Woman by Caroline Orr references stories passed down by her Native American ancestors via her grandparents. Dean Wong captures a child’s wonder at dragon’s heads lined up on the sidewalk in his photograph from 1993, Michael #11. There are even some Martians created by Susan Nininger and documented in photographs by Sharon Beals and William Murray.

Detail from Dean Wong’s “Michael (#11)”

Back on Earth, Grace Weston creates and photographs humorous scenes, as in her Plume vs. Plume depicting birds watching an atomic blast. Clair Colquitt’s Turista Radio combines kitsch, West Coast funk, parrots and National Public Radio in a bright ceramic package. Man’s best friend, in this case Harold Hoy’s Erector Yorkshire, is made completely out of galvanized steel tape and screws.

Detail from Blair Wilson’s “Crumbs”

Speaking of dogs, they are well represented from William Johnson’s abstracted drawing, Untitled (Running Dog) to Sherry Markovitz’s more realistic painting, One Black, One White to Cheryl Comstock’s two fantastical pieces, April Fools I & II, which include not only canines but cats, birds, humans and even a few bugs.

Northwest fauna is represented in Jimmy Jet’s City Suite lithograph in the form of an Orca, Tom Askman’s charcoal drawing of a bivalve in Clam Destiny/Clam Chowder and we get slugs and salmon, loathed and loved respectively, in Patrick Anderson’s linocut, Geography of Washington State, Vol. 2.

From 16 birds to 2 turtles and all the creatures in between, please enjoy this show curated from the Portable Works collection.

Seattle City (spot)Light: Mark VanOss

Mark VanOss has worked for the City of Seattle for 28 years and is currently in the utility’s communications department as a senior public relations specialist within the community outreach team. In his role, Mark updates the public on various projects occurring in neighborhoods throughout City Light’s service territory. “Construction projects often involve excavation in front of a business or a power outage to a home,” Mark explained. “We need to care for our customers in the way that we’d like to be cared for.”

Mark grew up in a rural part of Ohio that evoked a small-town feel – his dad was his high school principal! He attended Miami University and received a Bachelor of Science in Biological Science Education and later received a Master’s degree from the College of Forest Resources in Outdoor Recreation from the University of Washington. His early dream at the UW was to alternate seasons between national parks – working summers in Mt. Rainier and winters at Joshua Tree.

Mark lives with his wife Jean in north Seattle and together they have three children, all of whom were City Light Employee Association scholarship recipients. They recently welcomed a grandchild, Elsie. “She was named after my mother who would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year,” Mark shared. In this week’s (spot)Light, Mark talks about parks, birds and nature.


Mark with his wife Jean on the Golden Gate Trail at Mt. Rainier

“My interest in parks and education has followed me throughout my career. I think it stems from my biological science background and the dual jobs my dad held: school principal and summer maintenance worker at a state park. Various seasonal park jobs led to me to Jewel Cave National Monument in South Dakota. A friend of mine passed through on his way to Seattle and I impulsively followed him when the season ended. My first job in Seattle was working as a tour guide at the Ballard Locks.”

“I started my career with the City of Seattle in the Parks department as a park naturalist at Camp Long. It made sense to me since I was always interested in becoming a park ranger. Along the way great things continued to happen. We had our first child and I also transitioned into a new role with City Light as a Public Education Program Specialist. The interview panel had me teach a lesson to 40 fourth graders!”

“I still explore nature through birding. In college, I took a class in ornithology. It just connected with me. Jean and I like to visit Juanita Bay Park to birdwatch. My favorite birds are the roseate spoonbill and any warbler. They’re full of vibrant, bright colors. That yellow is amazing. My birding dream is to kiss a puffin on its beak. Carefully, of course.”

“I also have the nature element in my job as I oversee the marketing for Skagit Tours. We promote the tours and make sure that this fun, amazing place spills over with exuberance to the folks we encourage to travel up there. It’s a beautiful place – North Cascades is one of my favorite national parks.  My bucket list park would be Glacier Bay in Alaska. I want to get to it someday!”

Seattle Parks and Recreation opens Lincoln Park north play area

Lincoln Park play area is open. The renovated north play area features ‘tree house’ elements, a cable ride, new play equipment, a plaza and interactive information on migratory birds that can be found in Lincoln Park. The park also features inclusive and accessible play elements for all such as a group saucer swing, an accessible cable ride, an accessible sand table, and a small alcove for sensory sensitive children.

Pathways between the shelter and the play area, additional plantings around the play area, and the accessible pathway connection to Fauntleroy Way SW is anticipated to be completed by the end of October 2016.

The Seattle Park District provided the funding for this renovation.  Approved by voters in 2014, the Seattle Park District provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding for Seattle Parks and Recreation including maintenance of parklands and facilities, operation of community centers and recreation programs, and development of new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites. 2016 is the first full year of implementation and will include funding to tackle the $267-million major maintenance backlog; and will fund the improvement and rehabilitation of community centers; preservation of urban forests; major maintenance at the Aquarium and Zoo; day-to-day maintenance of parks and facilities; more recreation opportunities for people from underserved communities, programs for young people, people with disabilities, and older adults; development of new parks; and acquisition of new park land.

For more information about the project please visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/lincoln/north_pa/  or contact Katie Bang at 206-684-9286  or katie.bang@seattle.gov.

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Does that baby bird need help?

It’s that time of year in Seattle, and it’s happening everywhere in the city. You may not even be aware of it until you find yourself being chirped at or dive-bombed by a wild bird that has seemingly lost its mind, or until you find a helpless nestling or awkward fledgling on the ground. Now through about mid-August, our feathered wild neighbors will be busy raising their next generation, and during this time the odds of encountering a protective parent and their naïve young will be very high. Most of the birds you will encounter will need nothing more from you than a little respectful distance, but you may occasionally encounter a baby bird out of the nest that could benefit from a helping hand.

But how will you know if the baby bird you encounter needs help? And, if it needs help, what should you do? Check out this simple, two-minute video recently posted on Slate.com to help answer these questions. Additional sources of information and assistance are below.

The Seattle Animal Shelter responds to dead and injured wildlife within Seattle city limits. Give us a call at 206-386-7387 if you require assistance.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife provides great information on what to do when you find a baby bird out of the nest, and the PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood provides a useful flowchart that asks a series of yes or no questions to help you decide whether or not a baby bird needs help. A baby mammal version is also available.