PORT TOWNSEND — Honorary Tree Cards for the Plant-A-Thon, decorated with artist Hannah Viano’s “A New Generation,” are on sale now.
Viano, who was selected to create the 2019 Wooden Boat Festival Poster, was commissioned by Northwest Watershed Institute (NWI), a nonprofit conservation and restoration organization based in Port Townsend, and four local schools to create this year’s tree cards.
Her art is on each of 3,000 cards, one for each of the native trees that students and their families will plant at a salmon stream restoration site along a stretch of Tarboo Creek near Quilcene in February.
“Hopefully, the art inspires and excites people to get involved, and helps foster a sense of place,” said Viano, who lives in the Methow Valley of the North Cascades.
Cards can be personalized to plant a tree in honor of someone special. Tree cards are on sale now, because many people use Honorary Tree Cards as holiday gifts.
Viano’s work always features natural elements.
“Artists have freedom in style, but the image always reflects the core themes of Plant-A-Thon: Trees, salmon, and children,” said Jude Rubin, Northwest Watershed Institute director of stewardship and public involvement.
Viano’s artwork, “A New Generation,” integrates these themes in a cross-section landscape view of tree planters, native forests, water and salmon.
Tree cards are on sale now to benefit schools.
Participating schools are selling cards for a sliding scale of $5 to $10 each. Through cards sales and business sponsorships, schools aim to raise at least $30,000.
Tree cards are available for purchase from students and parents, or they can be purchased at Chimacum Corner Store, SOS Printing or other local vendors. In addition, tree cards will be available at the Chimacum Crafts Fair, the Port Townsend Farmers’ Market, and The Food Coop alcove.
Schools can be contacted directly:
• Swan School: www.swanschool.net; 360-385-7340.
• Quilcene School: 360-765-3363
• Chimacum Pi Program, which is administered by the Middle School office: 360-302-5944.
• OCEAN Program, which is at the Blue Heron campus: 360-379-4259 or 360-379-4251.
Northwest Watershed Institute (NWI), a local conservation and restoration non-profit organization, coordinates 200 school-affiliated volunteers in the Plant-A-Thon, as part of a larger effort to restore and protect the Tarboo Watershed.
The February tree-planting event will bring the total to more than 40,000 trees planted by Plant-A-Thon volunteers since 2005, Rubin said.
Prior to the planting, NWI staff will provide interactive classroom lessons called How Salmon Grow on Trees, and Trees Grow on Salmon that explain how stream-side trees contribute shade, logs and stable stream banks for healthy salmon habitat.
Grants and donations raised by NWI pay for seedlings and materials, so schools keep 100 percent of money they earn selling cards.
Previous Plant-A-Thon Honorary Tree Card artists include Max Grover, Lucy Congdon Hanson, Audrey Cherney, Richard Jesse Watson, Don Tiller, Jesse Joshua Watson and Amanda Kingsley.
The Plant-A-Thon distribution format, in which tree cards are sent all over the world, fits with Viano’s vision of accessible art.
“I remember in grad school, they asked us to write down our ambitions. I said: ‘I’d like to walk into a friend-of-a friend’s house, or maybe some stranger’s apartment in Tokyo, and see my worked tacked to the fridge.’ I don’t need to hang expensive pieces in a museum. I want my art to be encouraging.”
Viano also writes children’s books. Her first book, “S is for Salmon — A Pacific Northwest Alphabet,” published by Sasquatch Books in Seattle, was the offspring of a grant project funded by the Seattle office of Arts and Cultural Affairs in which Viano did presentations at schools and other centers that mixed natural history, art and active storytelling.
Her second book, “Arrow to Alaska, A Pacific Northwest Adventure” is the tale of a small boy who goes on a very Northwest adventure to visit his Grampy up north. And “B is for Bear” features natural elements, “…for those of you that are not as Northwesty.” Viano’s recent book, “Weathering,” is an illustrated but blank writing journal.
Following the example set by Max Grover in 2010 — and a tradition upheld by all Plant-A-Thon artists since — Viano has donated her original 11-inch-by-17-inch artwork for sale to benefit a “pay it forward” fund for next year’s Plant-A-Thon art commission.
Bids for the framed original, starting at $350, are welcomed at email@example.com until 5 p.m. Feb. 3.
Viano works at Twispworks Studio in Twisp, and can be contacted at hannahviano.com.