July 2021

Contact: info@arts.wa.gov
Master Storyteller Charity Bagatsing Doyl will teach her apprentice Joellen Doyl an ancient Philippine Island tribe's art of storytelling. Oral tradition is an important aspect of many cultures, and this is no less true for the Philippines' Ifugao Tribe. The tribe’s history has been passed down for millennia using the Ifugao art of storytelling, which includes valuable lessons from elders on love, life, family, and more.  

Photo courtesy of the Center for Washington Cultural Traditions
Announcing the 2021-22 Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Pairs
Sixteen teams of artists and tradition bearers will help preserve traditional skills

The Center for Washington Cultural Traditions (CWCT) has announced the teams for the 2021-2022 Washington State Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program (HAAP). Washington is home to many different cultures and traditions. Sixteen teams of apprentices and masters will work together to preserve these cultural treasures.

“Traditional art forms and practices are inscribed with a community’s creativity, knowledge and history,” said CWCT Executive Director Langston Wilkins. “The Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program is an important mechanism for preserving the artistically dynamic and culturally important traditions that are present in this state.”

Program participants may teach or study music, visual art, occupational arts, dance, culinary traditions, storytelling, and other verbal arts, and much more. Each master is paired with an apprentice to teach the skills and knowledge needed to keep these traditions alive.

“A community’s traditional culture creates a unique and important sense of place,” said Karen Hanan, Executive Director of the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA). “We’re thankful for the funding from the legislature and the work of our partner Humanities Washington. Their support allows our tradition bearers do this significant work.”

From Coast Salish art and storytelling to Afro-Brazilian martial arts, this year’s HAAP teams will delve into the rich collection of cultural traditions carried on by members of its many communities. The master/apprentice pairs will work together for a year spending at least 100 hours of one-on-one time together, attending two workshop-style events for professional and leadership development, and networking. A free public event will be scheduled at the end of the year.
The Center for Washington Cultural Traditions is Washington State’s folklife and traditional arts program, developed and run as a partnership between Humanities Washington and ArtsWA. Launched in 2018, the Center serves communities throughout Washington State by surveying, studying, and supporting cultural traditions and tradition bearers through research and a wide range of programming. To learn more about the Heritage Apprenticeship program, visit the Center’s website.
Top photo: Conservator J. Claire Dean evaluates Marvin Oliver’s Big Bird at Yelm High School, prior to treatment. Bottom photo: Marvin Oliver’s Big Bird was re-installed in June . Photos by ArtsWA
Marvin Oliver's beloved Big Bird gets much-needed repair
Native artist and teacher Marvin Oliver created Big Bird in 1979 for Yelm High School (YHS) in the southern Puget Sound region. It was re-installed at the end of June after a major restoration.

A student of Yakama heritage brought the artwork to the school’s attention. She asked the YHS Principal if the artwork could be restored. He then reached out to ArtsWA. That call led to the 8- x 16-foot-long carved cedar artwork to undergo restoration—including re-painting—with guidance from Brigette Ellis, the artist’s widow.

The artwork was previously on the building’s exterior, where it was damaged by exposure to the elements. It is now inside the school’s Commons area, where it will once again watch over students. Moving the artwork indoors will extend its lifespan for many more years.
Quartzite Brewing Company is a favorite watering hole for Chewelah's locals and visitors. Photo by ArtsWA
Chewelah celebrates its Creative District

A large group of Chewelah supporters braved the 95-degree temperature to celebrate the new town kiosk and the new murals that have been installed around the city. The project was unveiled at a ribbon cutting on June 10, 2021.

In the 2019-20 Capital Budget, the Legislature funded a pilot grant program to support small -scale capital projects for Creative Districts. These Creative District Capital Projects (CDCP) helped to boost the visibility and attractiveness of the Districts and increase the tourism and economic potential of their communities. $196,000 was distributed amount eight Creative Districts, leveraging about $450,000 in community investments. Chewelah applied for, and received a small projects grant.

“It was a perfect fit,” said Senator Shelly Short, who was on hand for the ribbon cutting. Short, who represents Chewelah in the 7th Legislative District, said the small investment statewide through ArtsWA’s pilot program caused a ripple effect that empowered communities. “You think the money you invested here sounds so small; but look at what’s been done with it and what it has meant to the community. It’s huge.”

Mike Bentz, president of the Chewelah Creative District Board said the grant helped the town understand that the idea of a Creative District was real. “It gave people something they could see, something they could touch,” he said. “The Creative District brought stronger collaboration between the Arts Guild, the Chamber, the Spokane Tribe of Indians, the school system, the farmer’s market—a total of 15 collaborative partners.”

Chewelah Mayor, Dottie Knauss, said the city has realistic dreams for the Creative District. “Our goal is to attract small entrepreneurs to make the town an attractive place for people to come visit for an evening or a weekend--to spend some time here visiting our unique little shops,” she said.

Many of those unique little shops are within walking distance to the new kiosk, which is centrally located at the Chewelah City Park. Large murals painted on historic buildings help to make the walk around town even more interesting. Business owners are especially excited about future plans to enhance Chewelah’s downtown core.

"COVID stalled us but did not dampen our spirits," said Bentz. "We're ready to get started again."
Introducing ArtsWA's newest team members

Joseph Wolfe is our new Deputy Director. He took over for Terry West, who retired at the end of May. In this role, Joseph serves as the Chief Financial and Operations Officer, providing strategic leadership for the Commission’s finances and core agency business functions. He has over twenty years of state and local government finance and operations management experience.

Michael Wallenfels is our new Community Relations Specialist. Michael brings us a professional background steeped in communications and design expertise, as well as on-stage and online event management. Born and raised in Eastern Washington, Michael describes himself as an artist as well as a professional creative. He comes to us most recently from Bushwick Northwest, nonprofit that produces 
concerts ooriginal music inspireby 
books, performed by Washington