The act of creation is as important to human beings as breathing. We commonly think of Art as pretty or beautiful yet useless, an exercise in gratuitous opulence. While that is a gross oversimplification, it absolutely points to the root problem. Most of us don’t really understand what Art is, much less why it’s essential to our very existence.

We have fallen into a utilitarian trap that deprives us of the appreciation of the very things that make us human. Maybe this is overly dramatic; I will admit a bit of sleep deprivation adds a certain urgency to everything, so let’s get to the point.

Creation is the essence of everything that makes us human. We imagine from nothing in our minds what could be, and with our hands, make it real — a fantastic superpower that lives in all of us and thus tends to be underappreciated. Art is the refinement of that power in every discipline from writing to reactors. We tend to appreciate it in our own fields of interest more than others, but we must remember that doing something as common as moving the human body can be refined into an art form like dance or martial arts.

The Tri-Cities is a fascinating community — the third largest in the state with over 300,000 people, many of whom are well educated. Yet we struggle to find a common sense of community, something that brings us together. I think Art is the answer, and I intend to do what I can to move that forward. There are a lot of Artists in the Tri-Cities. Many of us have been here for decades struggling to share our work, feeling isolated and underappreciated. Honestly, that’s partly our fault. Tri-Cities artists tend to be the rugged individualist types, trying to take it all on alone, forging new paths.

I’ve been in and around various art groups and events in the Tri-Cities for 15 years. I have been inspired by our local events like Art in the Park, Radcon, Cool Desert Nights, The Uptown Artwalk, SageFen Makers Festival, and more. Each one gives a glimpse of what’s possible when people come together around a shared interest, and the common thread I see in those interests is Art and design.

So this year I’m doing something about it, and I invite everyone to come along.

Starting May 6, we are kicking off the Artist Alley art show series.

  • May 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: This first show in the series is open to local Artists and is happening at the same time as the Classy Chassis Car Show, which brings up to 3,000 people to Downtown Kennewick. This show only became possible thanks to the efforts of Stephanie Button and Alora Stegal from the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership. I am very excited at the prospect of bringing Art and Cars together in one event.
  • May 12–14: The next weekend is the second annual Sage Fen Makers Festival. What better way to understand and appreciate the Art of others than to try your hand at making it yourself? This three-day make and take event offers classes and workshops from weaving to blacksmithing. It's a great opportunity to meet and learn from local artisans and craftspeople.
  • May 13, noon–4 p.m.: Uptown Artwalk is on the second Saturday every month. Dozens of artists will be set up inside and outside the Uptown! Enjoy fine art, handicrafts, music, and more!

There are also art shows happening over the next couple of months to keep your eyes out for! The point is that supporting, promoting, and instigating local events like these is of vital importance to develop the kind of community I want my child and his peers to be able to grow up in.

If you now feel the desire to help and support the cause, then I would ask you to share local art events. Grassroots exposure is important, and getting the word out to all 300,000 people in town can be challenging for small events.

If you want to volunteer, please be ready to have the time to do it properly.
If you want to kick off an event, then go for it! Ask questions and dive in. Nothing happens when we are standing still.

Artist Alley begins on May 6 at 10am. For more information, go to