Art is not only for museums and downtown Renton proves that point.
Host to a collection of interesting and impressive outdoor murals, sculptures, and creative projects, Renton is fortunate to have one of the oldest arts commissions in King County as well as a receptive and supportive city council.
“We are super lucky to have a city council that’s really invested and sees the value in these pieces,” Mary Clymer, Renton Municipal Arts Commission Chair, said. “We also have a lot of new investors that have come into our historic downtown, and given it a bit of a facelift, yet still maintain and preserve the cool, old feel that gives Renton its charm.”
The Arts Commission, comprised of 13 enthusiastic and creative thinkers, collaborates with the city council to bring brilliant art to the city with just as much focus on the importance of supporting local and regional artists.
“We’ve been investing in a lot of cool new art pieces,” Clymer said. “Some really funky and fun stuff that will make people feel like they’re revisiting their town again. Revitalizing the area, and bringing the new in with the old.”
Take a stroll and explore the colorful and magnificent outdoor art hidden within plain view of Renton’s urban, yet small-town landscape. You may find it in some very surprising places.
A 710-pound aluminum dragon, named Erasmus, is perched atop of the building at 826 S. 3rd Street across from Common Ground Coffee and Cupcakes. The project started in 2016 and is the collaboration of Marsha Rollinger, former Arts Commission Chair, and Dylan Neuwirth, creative director at Western Neon, and crew.
A newer sculpture designed by Neuwirth, called the Renton Loop, was installed last November. The 12-foot-tall piece captures a pastime of yesteryear when people cruised a section of downtown. The materials used to build it symbolize the area’s industrial progression.
Lifelike murals are practically at every turn. A more recent dragon has moved onto the scene as a part of the series of displays, this time, playing the guitar.
Additional murals transform outdoor spaces, including one of local legend, resident, and former boxer, Boone “Boom Boom” Kirkman. Painted by artist, Will Schlough, it can be found along the wall of La Hacienda Santa Fe on South 3rd Street.
Located along Renton’s Burnett Linear Park, Vikram Madan’s mini murals present an interesting way to learn about local history with tiny paintings on the back of street signs.
A number of beautifully designed hydrants bring sea creatures, and other expressive forms, to life along with utility boxes painted as refreshing scenes and vistas.
The Renton Outside Art Gallery, created by Adrienne La Faye, features La Faye’s vibrant mosaic-style floral motif, adorning the Smoking Monkey Pizza building on 613 S Third Street. This is a revolving installation that will feature different works by other artists.
It’s the perfect time of year to get outside and experience the wonderful art on display in downtown Renton’s outdoor spaces.