As the City of Kenmore was being formed in 1998, local artist Florence Lindstrom and her husband, Roland, proposed that the new city have an art show. Avid supporters of the arts, the Lindstroms began their quest with a trial show for the members of Northlake Lutheran Church and their friends. Roland designed and built display flats and sculpture artist Dr. Howard Dale loaned his display pedestals. The show was small but successful.

Following that first show, the church council expressed a willingness to host a larger show for the City of Kenmore, and the City agreed to sanction the effort. A sponsoring group was necessary, and the law firm Williams & Williams prepared necessary paperwork to form The Kenmore Arts & Events Council, a corporation with officers Roland N. Lindstrom, Marge Dale and Jeanie McBee. The organization eventually was granted non-profit corporation status.

The first Kenmore Art Show took place in late August 1999, corresponding with the City’s first birthday. Additional display flats and pedestals were made, artists were invited to enter their works and Mayor Jack Crawford awarded the prizes. A big success, the show became an annual event with the number of entries more than doubling since the first 1999 show. Well presented with quality paid judges, no vendors and running for 10-days, the show has become a “must enter” event with Puget Sound area artists. Its four categories are Painting, Drawing, etc.; Photography; Sculpture; Artisan Works.

With the rapidly expanding interest in photography due to digital technology, it became necessary to move the Photography category to a larger area. With new track lighting and a better hanging system installed, the increasing number of entries could be accommodated.

Each year a Featured Guest Artist is asked to display a collection of works in the church library, which is reserved for this special honor. These works can be for sale or not, as the artist chooses.

The art show also incorporates a Festival of the Arts, featuring free one-hour performances every evening by various local performers.

Each year the Art Show presents the City of Kenmore a gift of artwork from the show with a value of $500. This can be one piece or several smaller pieces. Through this program the City is slowly acquiring an impressive collection of art pieces, all displayed in City Hall. To make the collection even better, in 2005 the city council approved a separate art purchase valued at $500. Often the two funds are combined to purchase an item or items valued at $1000.

There was an increasing need for a membership organization to fully promote the arts and the art show, and in 2000, The Arts of Kenmore was formed. Its mission: “To encourage and promote both passive and active participation in all forms of the arts by the citizens of the area for the enrichment of the community.” The original Kenmore Arts & Events Council name was officially changed to The Arts of Kenmore.

AOK sponsors the annual Kenmore Art Show and Festival as well as several other major arts events annually.

An AOK Arts Grants Program currently offers each of the six schools in Kenmore $250 grants to help underwrite an art program not funded with district funds. Last year, 2011 – 12 school year, a total of $3200.00 was grated to the five schools that requested funds.

Additionally, for some years AOK has assisted Northlake Lutheran Church in hosting the Northshore School District “Reflections Show” which features student artwork. Local winners go on to State Competition where winners are sent to the national show. The church makes space available and AOK loans and sets up its display flats and provides other assistance.

In 2011, Roland Lindstrom resigned from the Chairmanship of The Kenmore Art Show and Festival after 13 shows. A committee was formed by Jo Ann Evans and David Maehren to carry on the tradition. The group that came together did a great job. They moved the Show to Bastyr University, constructed 50 new display flats and changed the dates to June They also successfully resurrected the Youth Category which had never worked in the August time slot. Even more entries by the Youth are expected at the 14th Annual Show which will be held June XX – XX 2013 at Bastyr University.

Roland N. Lindstrom, Past President of The Arts of Kenmore

Updated October 2012