SEQUIM — Community members can now offer input on the development of Centennial Place, the northeast corner of Sequim Avenue and Washington Street, as part of the two-year “Sequim Understory” project.
The surveys are online at sequimwa.gov/983/Sequim-Understory. City residents also will receive a survey with their May utility bill, which can be mailed back to Sequim Civic Center, Attention Sequim Understory, 152 W. Cedar St., Sequim, WA 98382, or dropped off between the double doors of the Civic Center’s main entrance.
Surveys also may be available at certain events, as state guidelines allow for gatherings, city officials said. The survey deadline is Aug. 31.
Questions ask about public involvement with the space, what features are preferred, plus any insight you the respondent can provide about Sequim.
The intent is to find a purpose for the space that City Council members agreed to purchase in 2013, the city’s centennial year, city staff said.
Sequim Arts Coordinator Aurora Lagattuta previously said “Sequim Understory” follows a process called “Creative Placemaking,” the use of creative strategies for equitable community planning and development where people look at the nouns, such as a tree or fountain, and the verbs, such as “how do you want to feel” and “what do you want to do here.”
For more information about the project, visit sequimcityarts.com/understory.
Marina Shipova, a Sequim resident for 20 years who is a Peninsula College professor, was selected by the City Arts Advisory Commission as the project’s Art Fellow.
With a $1,000 contract, she will engage with the public to develop a photographic story of local interest with digital artistry using what she calls “photo stories.”
“I will bring a taste of present and past through the depiction of local families, events, businesses and landmarks,” she wrote in her application.
Shipova, a classically trained artist and photographer, says she has taught graphic design, photography and art in Port Angeles for most of her time in the area.
She’ll develop a presentation to share during the First Friday Art Walk on Nov. 5, tentatively at the Civic Center.
City staff said some of the residents Shipova will photograph so far include multiple generations of farmers, First Nation residents and ballerinas.
Shipova said one of her students encouraged her to apply. Her aim is to find people “uniquely connected to Sequim and the Olympic Peninsula with a strong connection to the land and its history.”
Shipova says on her website she was born and raised in Russia and her work originated from the “tradition of Classic Portrait painting.”
She finds digital photography “transforms the perception of image creation and pushes the boundaries of reality to new and infinite heights.”
“That new digital reality is my canvas, allowing me to create my very own visual and conceptual world emerging through the intersection between painting, photography and computer graphics,” she writes.
City staff said Shipova was one of two artists selected, but the second artist did not agree to the terms of the project’s contract.
Previously, Lagattuta said artists aren’t involved in the actual redesign of the corner space but they “help us create a better conversation about Sequim.”
In the late fall, city staff and stakeholders will look at surveys and the artists’ feedback, she said, and about 10 options will be selected for the City Council to consider for Centennial Place.
Depending on the council’s feedback, city staff could send the options back out to the public in 2022 to consider.
Shipova said she’s “pretty open to what works best for people” at Centennial Place.
“I’m very flexible when it comes to format,” she said.
Learn more about Shipova at sequimcityarts.com/art-fellow. For more about the projects, call 360-683-4908.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].