The News Tribune logo

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Loving Service

The teenage daughter of one of the women chaplains responded to her mother's story about the loneliness one of the patient was going through by asking her mother to give the patient her favorite stuffed bear, and



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Free documentary movie screening at the Grand Cinema

Jen Willey from Annie Wright Schools asked me to share details about an upcoming free screening of the documentary Ikkatsu: The Roadless Coast, at the Grand Cinema on Wednesday, February 20, at 7:00 pm.  This is a great opportunity for students and the public.

Ikkatsu documents the journey of three professional kayakers as they survey the debris on the Washington coastline from the Japanese tsunamis of 2011. 

Tickets are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis on the night of the film. 

A question-and-answer session with the producers will follow.

The documentary is part of the Ikkatsu Project, dedicated to exploration, education and advocacy in the service of the ocean. The kayakers, Ken Campbell, Jason Goldstein and Steve Weileman, traveled with a team of scientists to the Olympic Peninsula in the summer of 2012 to explore wild shoreline to bring back data. 

An estimated 1.5 million tons of debris washed into the Pacific as the waters receded from the tsunamis.

Annie Wright teachers David Gardner and John Hunt collaborated with Campbell to create an experiential, cross-curricular study for Annie Wright Middle School students. The program launched with a screening of the film at school and moves on to incorporate almost all areas of the curriculum for sixth graders, including a field study this spring in which they travel to the Olympic Peninsula to survey and catalogue debris.

"Not only does the study of ocean currents and the way that marine debris is distributed provide students with a greater understanding of the way their planet works, but also it illustrates the central truth of oceans: we are all connected,” said Campbell, who will be traveling with the students. “The vast expanse of the ocean isn't something that separates us; it is what joins us together."

The project will tie in directly with nearly all of the sixth graders’ core subjects. Students will use their analysis of data for both statistical studies in math and for their science fair projects on the Earth’s water supply. Students will also read a novel with a thematic connection to their journey in English and learn about Japanese history and culture in World Studies.

"When this experience comes to an end for these students, it is my hope that, for some of them, it is not the end at all, but rather the beginning,” said Campbell. “This will be a special opportunity for each of them to learn about their planet, their society and themselves.”

The first art show

If there were a book for aspiring traveling artists, one of the first things in the book would be… to find opportunities to show work. Having saved references to shows for a few years, ever so slowly an index of places that provided good information started to reveal itself. There are a lot of places and a lot of events during some times of the year. Most well established events require applying many months in advance. Sometimes, there is the luck of circumstance. Some experienced fair gipsies use this kind of thing to their advantage. But a newbie can dive into this pool and suffer death by a thousand places to look, or worse, go through this process and then suffer death by going to the wrong kind of events.

There are a lot of reasons finding suitable events is a challenge. Some events don’t have a very large attendance, some are intended for $3 to $5 dollar and other inexpensive items. If you are at one of these selling something for $10 or more, you probably won’t have a great show.

Some great places to look for events include what you’ll find at the following links. Note that some of these sites require membership.

Don’t limit yourself to the search locations noted above but they display only some of the shows in the area. Some of the best shows are shared by word of mouth.

I remember reading about an event at Auburn’s Emerald Downs Race Track and thought: “Wow, a Holiday crafts festival at a race track. There will be 100 vendors. Sounds like a good prospect.” So I made the booking and the 10’x10’ space I rented for the event was about $155 for a 3 day show. It included electricity. I should have opted for a corner booth for a few dollars extra, but declined it. That was a mistake as I found out at the show that corner booths are nearly always a better choice because you can display more stuff and most importantly more people can see your stuff if they can see it from two sides. Oopse for me.

It turned out to be a good work out for a first venue. I arrived and found it was impossible to use their loading dock. First there were dozens and dozens of other vendors waiting to use it, and next, it had a stairway, which rendered my cart named the “Shlepper” completely useless. And more to the point, would mean I’d have to lift hundreds of lbs. of boxes and other things. No thanks. So, I parked near the front of the building, and started to load my stuff into the building through a side door, along with about many others.

It was supreme chaos.

Not only was the loading area not well designed for this many people to be using at the same time, it was horribly designed for volume use in general and everyone had to take turns loading a few at a time into 1 freight elevator for a ride to the 3rd floor. There a few people and their full carts would unload, then more people with their empty carts would load, and the elevator would descend back to the loading dock are where the doors opened open in front of many more people with full carts.

Despite this tortured process, and to my amazement, most were in good spirits. I’m not sure exactly why but perhaps just bowing to the absurdity of so many people confronting common obstacles had something to do with it. Or maybe it was the group of Sisters who were amongst the rest of us as the Nuns too were setting up a display booth. It is amazing how a group of people of faith can bring an end to so many typical comments made by people who are busy pinching fingers and legs on things and running into bigger things, while everyone was trying to do something between cooperating and competing with each other to get their stuff to their area so they could setup their booth.

On a personal note, many of the randomly acquired boxes for my art works would not fit through the doors because the boxes were too wide. Some of my art was too tall to fit through the doors when using the Schlepper. This meant I got to load the Shlepper, move it a distance, then unload it and hand carry stuff through the doors and stack everything up against a wall. After that I’d reverse the process to reload the Shlepper. It added a lot of work to the day. The ultimate instance of this ritual in moving was when I found my Pro Panels would not fit through the doors. And this was only one of the many nuanced details that were part of a nearly 10 hours it took to get the booth setup. It was a very good work out.

Solving puzzles is a part of doing these kinds of shows. As I’ve learned, so is waking up at 3 in the morning with some kind solution to a problem.

The day after load-in was a Friday and that was the day the show opened to the public. I returned to the facility about 2 hours before the show’s official start, so that I could finish setup and generally be nervous. During the drive in I snacked on about a dozen Tums to try and soothe my acid stomach. It didn’t entirely work.

Once I got to the show and fussed in the booth for a bit, I took the opportunity to distract myself and look at nearby booths. That let me settle into a nice sort of apprehension.

One of the first booths I noticed was another photographer at the show, and who had a beautifully done 10x20 display. His works were presented like something you’d see at Cabela’s. As soon as I saw the display, I realized I too needed a bigger booth space. My panoramic works are up to about 6 feet long and you can really only get a few of those into a 10x10 booth. The next thing I noticed was that there were a lot of people selling very inexpensive things such as holiday ornaments, baby clothing, candles, beads, and so on. There were some selling more expensive items ranging from various art objects, to trip planning to beauty aids and services, to fine jewelry. The event participants offered a wide variety of items.

I returned to my booth to find some neighbor vendors looking at my work and I started to talk with them about the work and about the show and shows in general. It’s actually a lot of fun to talk with random people about art and other stuff. I asked a lot of questions of my neighbors and received some really great feedback on a wide variety of topics. Things like never eat in the booth as most visitors are too polite to interrupt so they walk past the booth. This can cost a sale or more. Things like - it is good to have pricing prominently displayed, so no one has to ask. Things like it’s not great to offer a lot of hand-outs, because most end up in the trash or forgotten in one of the bags that people hand out. Things like: It is good to make what you hand out unique. I regret that I was too busy to take more notes.

Time marched on and the event transitioned from being there early into a trickle of people walking past and many detouring into my booth to look at my works and talk. Over the course of the event I talked with what seemed like several hundred people and the pace was mostly non-stop, so not enough got written down.
Other vendors said they felt that the event was not very well visited. I later learned from the organizers that about a thousand showed up over 3 days. While that is a poor turnout, for me it was ideal and I got to start to learn about the nature of my potential customers. My work received lots and lots of positive feedback. I sold a few works and also received some excellent recommendations on other places to show.
Getting out of the building was nearly as much chaos as was getting in, except that it took place right after the event ended, and nearly everyone was tired. My partner Jan helped all day Saturday and Sunday, and she also helped pack the exhibit back into the trailer. Due to her help, the load out time was about 3 hours. Of course, it was night time and raining while loading stuff back into the trailer. To add to the fun of this, my SUV decided to blow a fuse when the trailer’s interior lights were left on for more than a minute. Loading a trailer in the dark, what joy!
Once back home, I wrote down a bunch of notes and reviewed what I wrote while at the show and planned a number of changes. The first was to bring a flashlight with replacement batteries for the trailer! I also had to find out why the SUV was blowing a fuse when the trailer lights were on. In addition I made some changes to how some things were presented, by adding a table and some smaller print bins. I also thought to change how nearly everything was packaged, but didn't get around to doing this for several more shows. I also looked into what was needed to expand my display area to fit a 10x20 space. Not too much was needed for that, as it turned out.

It was a great first event. After months and months of work, and lot of Tums, I was happy to see the event complete with few problems. In fact, the only negative other than the car’s blown fuses, was that some of my smaller print bin works disappeared at the show. Hmmmm.

Next time, event #2 and what happens when a newbie gets to sell to a crowd.

PS: I will be at the Seattle Home Show, held at Century Link Field Event Center between February 16 and 24. You can find my exhibit in the Marketplace section in booths 5019 and 5020. Look for Justan Elk or look at my web site, which is . For information on the show see

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

University Place Proclamation Honors Sandy Nelson

University Place Mayor Ken Grassi (left) and Sandy Nelson (right)

The City of University Place honored Sandra E. “Sandy” Nelson, Executive Director, Bridgeport Place Retirement and Assisted Living with a Proclamation in recognition of her community leadership and contribution to the quality of life for seniors in University Place – not just those who call Bridgeport Place home – but in the broader local community with her leadership and support of events and activities organized by the University Place Senior Activity Center.  
The "Saturday Senior Soup-tacular" is an example of her community outreach.  
After the operating budget for the UP Senior Center was slashed to only a fraction of what it had been in the past, she came up with the idea of sponsoring a free lunch for seniors on the third Saturday of every month. It has become a popular social event and those who attend say they "wouldn't miss it."
When Mayor Ken Grassi read the Proclamation before the council and citizens last Monday evening, Sandy Nelson spoke briefly and attributed her success to the management team she leads at Bridgeport Place.
Sandy Nelson was named 2012 Administrator of the Year by the Washington State Association of Activity Professionals.  Bridgeport Place (under her leadership) achieved 100% occupancy for the first time ever during 2012. 
Nelson was nominated for the Administrator of the Year award by her management team.  She is beloved by her staff and senior residents.  She is a homeowner and resides in University Place within a mile of the senior living community she serves.
In celebration of the Proclamation, she and her management team from Bridgeport Place gathered at El Toro, in University Place, to mark the occasion.
When she had first learned of the pending Proclamation to honor her, she had quipped, “What next?  A street named after me?!?”  Members of the management team surprised her with their own tribute. They presented her with a customized street sign reading “Sandy Nelson Blvd”.  The sign was created by Judi and DJ Brown, owners of Getting Personal Imprinting.  They are endlessly creative.  If you ever need a trophy or some other type of award (even a custom street sign) they can do it for you in no time.

2013 US Junior National Champion is Clare Jeong

Clare Jeong (front row, far right)

A quick update on Clare Jeong, an amazing student athlete from Annie Wright: 

Over the weekend, Clare became the US Junior National Champion at the US Junior National Championship speed skating race in Roseville, MN

Clare has won two National Championships in her age groups before, but this one is the biggest—for the entire Junior (18 years and under) age group. This has been her dream and by far the biggest achievement in her speed skating career. 

It was a closely matched race. 

Clare competed in four events:  500m, 1000m 1500m, and 3000m. Her times from each event were calculated based on a standardized score. She became the champion by a 0.055 second win over the skater who placed second.  By doing so, she qualified and will lead the US Junior world team to compete in Italy in February 22-24. Wishing Clare continued good health and success!

As an all around champion, Clare will compete in all four events, plus the Team Pursuit and Mass Start.

American Cup 1st Place goes to Annie Wright student

Clare Jeong, a junior at Annie Wright Upper School, placed first in several speedskating competitions after traveling to Roseville, Minnesota recently. 

Clare came in first in 1500m, 3000m, and mass start in the American Cup

In the Junior World Cup, she placed second in both 1500m and 3000m. She is currently the fastest skater in the entire U.S. junior (18 and under) age group.

In addition to her rigorous training and competition schedule, Clare maintains excellent grades in Annie Wright Upper School’s demanding International Baccalaureate (IB) program. She is also the recipient of a merit scholarship to Annie Wright, exemplifies this combination of academic and personal achievement.

Clare learned about Annie Wright Upper School through Scholar Search Weekend, an annual event at the school where girls in grades 8-11 from any school can learn about the all-girls day and boarding school and its IB program, compete for merit scholarships and spend the night on campus. This year’s Scholar Search Weekend is February 8-9. Attendance is free and reservations can be made at

Annie Wright is proud to be an International Baccalaureate World School. Learn more at

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Stories about Festivals and Shows

Hi all.

It’s been a while since I posted on this forum. During this time I’ve started to pursue arenas where I can exhibit some my art works.

In the past I showed my works at art galleries. At some point not too long ago I read from people that know about these things who strongly suggested that anyone who wants a reasonable chance for success at art sales has to make an effort show works to a lot of people. While several people visit galleries, more people visit any festival in a day than most galleries host in weeks or months. So the advice made sense. And with this advice I started a slow dance to prepare for doing a typical festival exhibit.

There is a Yiddish proverb that reads “With time, even a bear can learn to dance.” Of course I started the dance before I learned anything about it and due to that, no doubt added more than a few steps along the way. In fact, part of what I did reminded me of building a cardboard box from the inside out.

It was a long way to go in only a few months. But before I got to the trailer, the very first obstacle I had to overcome was that I had no idea what was needed to show art to the thousands of people who attended these events.

I considered this ignorance a plus and started with a blank piece of paper, so to speak. I soon found out I’d need a couple of ledger tablets to get the plan in writing. But starting with a tabula rasa, I decided to address first things first: I already had a bunch of framed and matted works for my gallery shows. I needed my own portable walls to hang the works from. I found this awesome display system called Pro Panels, available from The panels are light weight, certified fire resistant (which is required at larger events) and can stack for moving pretty easily. They go together in in minutes, and at the end of the show come apart as easily.

I bought enough panels for a 10x10 display space, with a couple of extra panels for some options. When I ordered the panels I knew they were pretty big. They measure almost 40 inches by 7 feet. When they arrived in 3 huge boxes I realized I’d need some place to store them, and the closest location turned out to be about 70 miles away, right next to where I keep my matt board and related.

One big item ready to go.

Next I figured I’d need a bunch of lights to help show off the works. Some shopping lead me to Target where they have $10 clip on light fixtures. Of course a lot of lights in an enclosed space can get really warm and that can be less than ideal. I found some daylight color florescent lights at Home Depot. This was a double savings as they offer better light color than incandescent bulbs, plus they only consume about 1/3rd of the power (and heat) that incandescent bulbs do. Another plus is that they survive being transported pretty well. Along with the light fixtures and bulbs, I had to get a bunch of extension cords and surge strips to help plug everything in.

Once I had this big pile of electrical stuff sitting on my dining room table, the next problem was, how the heck do I store and transport it? Target provided the answer, with a 45 gallon oversized Tupperware like container with wheels on one end that they sell. The lights, extension cords and bulbs all fit in this particular container and I can stack stuff on top of it. Nice! The container has become a favorite and I have acquired, several of them so far, but had 2 of them at the time of my first show.

I now had the panels and lights so was making progress.

Another proverb I learned long ago was “If it’s too heavy to carry and too precious to throw away, you better find a way to carry it. I needed a good tool for getting stuff in and out of the trailer, easily.

Last summer I saw someone who had a nice little wagon-like cart with fat tires that were good for rolling over parking lots and gravel. The cart looked kind of like a miniature version of the brick movers people use at the Lowe’s. After shopping around with Mr. Google, I found a great contender. I made some measurements and found it would fit through standard doors. Yes! It had removable sides and ends. Yes and yes! More shopping brought me to a place that would ship it free. Another big yes! About a week later a blue beauty of a cart arrived in another big box. Once i got it out of the box and assembled, I made some minor additions so that it had a thick coating of carpet on the bottom and sides, and also bought some large diameter wood doweling to use as special handles so I could transport the Pro Panels and related without problem.

Once I had the cart ready I named it “The Shlepper.” It does an absolutely magnificent job for the Pro Panels, my many boxes of art work, and everything else that I transport from the trailer to the show, and back! I like it so much, I have though to buy another one to help the job go quicker.

Last but not least for the big stuff was to get a suitable trailer. We all ultimately lie in the bed we make and one thing one does not want to do is to have to lift stuff into or out of a trailer. Lifting is a lot of work. Not only is that hard on an old back, it is the last thing you want to add to an already busy day of setting up or tearing down an exhibit.

As it worked out a friend had recently bought a big enclosed trailer with a high ceiling and a rear ramp. He was kind enough let me borrow it (for over a month!) and it was nearly perfect for the first few shows.

The big pieces were in place and it was time to find a show.

No good comes from hurrying. Next time, the process to get into the first show at Emerald Downs.