La Har

Jan. 3, 2012 at 5:43pm

MOG Director resigns

Jen Graves is on it....!

In response to Close’s resignation, the Board of Trustees has named Deputy Director Susan Warner as Interim Director.

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Oct. 16, 2011 at 10:02am

City of Tacoma to hire Toronto for web work


According to Kathleen Cooper TNT, Tacoma has hired a Toronto firm to work on the city's website. Four Tacoma companies bid for the job, and four companies from WA state did as well, out of a total 13 applicants. The City of Tacoma picks a firm from Canada?

The city said: "When it came down to it, Interfinity met all of our needs, and they suggested other things that would add value to try to communicate with our citizens". City of Tacoma, you want to add value to your communication with us? You just told us we are not worth it to you. And we did not even ask for a free parking lot....

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Jul. 11, 2011 at 6:55pm

Century Park at History Museum Tacoma

build it already, please!

By Sean Robinson
The News Tribune

Original run date: August 22, 2005

For a handful of Tacoma activists,  it's taking longer to remember history than make it.

 Back in 1994,  the nonprofit group Save Our Station started selling plaques for $25 apiece. More than 200 people bought them.

 Cut from the weathered green copper that once covered the dome of Union Station on Pacific Avenue,  the plaques,  etched with the donor's names,  were supposed to cluster on a downtown wall. The display,  coupled with a $20,000 sculpture paid for with grant money,  would honor the fight to rescue the crumbling station from demolition.

    The idea had a name: Century Park.

 More than a decade later,  the refurbished Union Station houses federal courtrooms and shimmering petals of Dale Chihuly glass. Nearby,  the 9-year-old Washington State History Museum echoes the station's vintage architecture.

    And Century Park? It's nowhere.

    The green plaques are sitting in an East Tacoma trophy shop,  unfinished. Some of the donors who bought them have died.

 The sculpture,  a replica of a vintage locomotive,  has been parked in East Pierce County since 1997. Its maker,  Elbe artist Dan Klennert,  likes the way it looks in his vast backyard.

    "I'm just kind of hoping everybody forgets about it, " he jokes.

 Between the museum and the station is an empty concrete plaza that leads to the Chihuly Bridge of Glass. That's where Century Park is supposed to be.

    Backers say recent developments give the project new hope,  but it remains unfinished,  chiefly because of a seemingly simple debate that's lasted for years: Which pieces belong in the park and where to put them?

 Lakewood resident Kathryn Vanwagenen,  one of the activists who collected money for the plaques,  explains the project with a sigh.

    "It's been a very long,  sometimes frustrating process, " she said.

    Vanwagenen and Linda Bowman,  who spearheaded the Save Our Station effort,  say the long wait is almost over.

 By August 2006 - the 10th anniversary of the museum - they hope Century Park will be complete. After years of negotiation with museum director David Nicandri,  the parties have settled on a tentative concept,  and hired an architect to draw plans.

 "I feel very certain at this point that this park is coming together and going to be very positive, " Bowman said. "I've been as frustrated as anyone."

    "There were a couple of false starts, " Nicandri said. "But I think we do now have a conformed vision of what we'd like to do out there."

 Public records show the debate stretches back at least eight years. On Jan. 8,  1997,  Vanwagenen asked the Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission for approval to install the plaques on the rear wall of the history museum cafe.

    Minutes of the meeting reveal disagreement. Vanwagenen said museum leaders approved the plan,  but a separate entry in the minutes notes Nicandri told the commission the plan wasn't acceptable.

 Museum opposition was no small obstacle. The plaza is museum property. Nicandri is the museum director,  and its unofficial guardian - in effect,  the future landlord of Century Park.

 "Our goal is that anything of an additive stripe be in conformance with the original vision as well as the continued practicability of the space, " he said. "We weren't going to allow a design that wasn't in keeping with the dignity and decorum and design of the larger property."

 Park backers and Nicandri point to another complication. The Chihuly Bridge of Glass,  conceived and constructed long after the birth of the Century Park project,  dramatically altered the landscape of the plaza.

    "The original design had to be changed totally when the pedestrian bridge concept came along, " Vanwagenen said.

    While project leaders quibbled,  Klennert built his train from discarded steel. It's a six-ton "representation" of a Minnetonka locomotive - the sort that pulled lumber from the Cascade foothills to Tacoma in the 1920s  and 1930s. Klennert finished it in 1997.

    "Took me four months, " he said.

 He's been paid $15,000 by Save Our Station - three fourths of his commission. He'll receive the last installment when the train pulls into Century Park.

    "I'm not pushing the issue, " he said.

    Neither is Mike Houser,  owner of Big John's Trophies on Pacific Avenue in East Tacoma,  and keeper of 214 copper plaques.

 Houser's father John,  aka Big John,  wrote the invoice for the plaques in 1999: $2,363.41. He since has retired,  but his son Mike expects to finish the job,  which is partially paid for. He's not itching over the money.

    "We have something really unique to celebrate here, " Mike Houser said. "I didn't get aggressive on it. This is how a small business gives back to its community. This is an honor."

    Some longtime community leaders who bought plaques will never see them installed. They died too soon.

 Wistfully,  Bowman listed a few names: Cathy Egan,  former Tacoma City councilwoman and park board member;  citizen activist Charlotte Naccarato;  and Murray Morgan,  dean of Washington state historians.

    Still,  the park's backers see cause for optimism. In May,  they settled on an overall concept that included the plaques,  Klennert's train and a "storyboard" that would depict elements of Union Station's history. More recently,  they hired architect Arthur Andersson to develop a design.

    "It is going forward, " Vanwagenen said. "And no one's going to be happier to see it wrapped up than Linda Bowman and myself."

    Nicandri also welcomes the prospect of the long-delayed park,  despite the long debates over design.

 "In some measure we wouldn't be here without the efforts of Save Our Station, " he said. "Tacoma's rebirth down in this neighborhood was the result of a singular community decision to save that building.

 "This project will memorialize that effort,  which has led to the revitalization of this city. That is one of the major messages this park will be intended to convey - the value that historic preservation has brought to this city."

comments [4]

Oct. 28, 2010 at 9:45am

Halloween Candy

Local Purveyors Brown and Haley


Get your Halloween candy at:

Brown and Haley, Tacoma Factory Outlet,110 East 26th Street, Tacoma, WA 98421

Mon- Sat: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, Sun: 11 am to 4 pm




comments [3]

Jun. 5, 2010 at 9:43pm

Goodbye to John Farrell

Memorial at Mineral

Memorial Sunday 2 pm to 6 pm
Mineral, 301 Puyallup Ave. Tacoma 98402

John K. Farrell

John was an enlightened traveler who blessed the earth with his presence from 1953 to 2010. His soft-spoken gentleness, compassionate sincerity and quirky sense of humor inspired the love and admiration of all. John was a talented artist, a musician, and a true poet. His inspired vision of the world, love of life, and creativity burst forth irrepressibly from all of his work - whether it was an exquisite glass goblet, a chaotically masterful painting, a mysterious poem, a pot of veggie soup, or a doodle on a napkin. John attended high school in Westwood, MA., and studied art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Pilchuck Glass School. He was an accomplished glassblower, and worked in the studios of Dale Chihuly and Sonja Blomdahl, among others. His own work was displayed in galleries in New York, Santa Fe and Washington, DC. John's original music, with electronica band Bagger 288 and muscian, John Fisher, was broadcast on Seattle radio station KEXP, accompanied silent film in the movie theater, and was played in many live concerts, public and private.The son of James and Betty Farrell, brother of Lee and David, and owner of Casper the Cat, John has many loving friends around the country. John, we are grateful for the time you gave us and wish you happy travels throughout the great mystery. A memorial will be held Sun, June 6, 2-6, at the studio of Lisa Kinoshita, 301 Puyallup Ave., Ste. A, Tacoma 98402.

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Dec. 18, 2009 at 2:20pm

Luzon's Last Dance

and memorial shrine at Luzon site


Luzon's last dance by John Carlton

and this memoral appeared last night on the site of the Luzon:

comments [9]

Oct. 29, 2009 at 3:40pm

Tacoma Art at Work Month

great new website

Tonight Tacoma will launch Tacoma Artist's Month November 2009

TAM from 6 pm to 9 pm.

I am amazed just how much is going on and how it has grown over the years. A bright and hopeful sign for Tacoma. Thank you Tacoma Arts Commission and city staff!

And now have a look at the new website!


comments [0]

Oct. 5, 2009 at 7:27am

Post and beam versus berm design forum

Local AIA and Dome District

The local chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Dome District are presenting computer generated graphics showing both design plans and how they will likely look.

October 5th, 5:00 p.m. at the Best Western Tacoma Dome Hotel.
2611 East E Street, Tacoma.

You will be able to ask questions and look at any spot along the train track alignment in both versions. This is an important show and tell, and a chance to encourage the city to listen to citizens and business owners.

Tuesday evening, October 6th,  important Tacoma City Council meeting. Final reading of Ordinance No. 27833. Authorizing the execution of a Right of Use Agreement with Sound Transit regarding the area located from East D Street to South M Street.
The meeting starts at 5:00 p.m. location is 747 Market Street.

Do It Right Tacoma

comments [12]

Sep. 30, 2009 at 12:26pm

The Stanger chimes in on the Luzon

Jen Graves about T-Town

Jen Graves chimes in on how Tacoma managed to finish off what Paul Schell had left standing.

read here: Continuation of an Era


comments [6]

Sep. 19, 2009 at 8:40am


Hey! Check it out, mate.

Hey! Check it out, mate!




by the Grandmasters of Guerilla Art


Tollefson Plaza


12:00pm - 3:00pm
There's going to be Team-Blitz Games!
Witness brilliant moves from ‘The Game of the Century’ by a 13 year old prodigy racing against a living, breathing, two-headed clock!
Live play by play & color commentary by Doug Mackey & Kris Brannon!
Any players out there?
Bring a chess set and play it up!
It’s gonna be HIGH NOON.
It’s all about art, public space & community.
No previous chess experience necessary to enjoy the show….

comments [8]