Bringing art to city, Arts of the Terrace returns in late September

2017 Arts of the Terrace (Photo by Mark Hopkins Photography)

After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the Arts of the Terrace show is returning to Mountlake Terrace in late September.

Members of the Mountlake Terrace Arts Advisory Commission, which oversees what is usually an annual event,  are eager to bring art back to the community. 

Conner Ryan is one of the newest commission members, but he is no stranger to the Arts of the Terrace. Ryan has been involved since he was a kid, especially after his mom Judy Ryan became the arts commission chair in 2005. In addition to providing general help for the show,  in 2008 he converted the artwork entry process to an online format. As a result, artists no longer had to  physically drop off their entries for judging. Because of his familiarity with the program, Ryan has since managed the website and worked on technical aspects. 

Conner Ryan at the 2019 Arts of Terrace show.

Artists can enter up to four pieces of art in each category, which include painting, prints and drawings, photography, miniatures, 3D, artisan works and calligraphy. The jurors vary every year, and are often well-established artists in the region. Their role is deciding which art gets admitted to the show, as well as the awards each winning artist receives. 

This year, the show – in its 42nd year – will run Sept. 24-Oct. 1 at the Mountlake Terrace Library, and is open to the public starting the Saturday of the show. The night before, the commission holds a ceremony to celebrate with the friends and family of the winning artist. Every piece at the show is available for purchase.

In 2019 – the last Arts of the Terrace prior to the pandemic –  the commission received the highest number of nominations at 523 pieces – and accepted 347 of them. Ryan says he isn’t sure whether to attribute the high numbers to rising momentum or whether it was an “ anomaly,” but says the commission is anxious to see if the numbers reach the same heights after the two-year break due to COVID. 

According to Ryan, the commission didn’t have the resources to put the show online in 2020 and 2021. Additionally, commissioners believed it would be  difficult to capture the art well through photography, and that the in-person aspect of viewing art was essential to the show. 

The 2018 Arts of the Terrace show includes self-portraits from sixth and eighth graders of St. Pius X school in Mountlake Terrace.

“It was definitely weird to not have the show just because we’re all so used to all the planning and all the work that happens this time of the year,” said Ryan.

As the city of Mountlake Terrace grows and the light rail brings more people into the area, the commission hopes to continue finding new ways to bring art to the community. Ryan hopes to eventually see more art in public spaces, including concerts, installations and plays. He also sees potential for businesses to eventually contribute to the arts scene, similar to Art Walk Edmonds.

“The city is growing and people are continuing to move here into the suburbs from the city. I’m sure local artists are hungry for more opportunities to have art in the community,” Ryan said.

A vital part of creating a strong culture of arts includes the return of the art show– what Ryan called a “legacy event.” As one of the only art happenings in the city, he said, it’s an important opportunity to showcase the talent in the area. 

You can learn more about the show on the Arts of the Terrace website.

— By Bridget Smith

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