Council gives go-ahead for Pullman window art walk

Artwork selected by jurors will be displayed in downtown businesses; event scheduled for April

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SCREENSHOT FROM MEETING

PAC Chair Jeri Harris said selected artists will be paired with participating downtown businesses to display their art in storefront windows, similar to the recently canceled ArtFest. 

MADYSEN MCLAIN, Evergreen reporter

Pullman councilmembers approved a Pullman Arts Commission-sponsored event at a meeting Tuesday night. The council also approved about $125,000 toward improvements for Airport Road.

Councilmembers approved a socially-distanced “Pullman Window Walk 2021” organized by the PAC. 

The council made amendments to the proposal, including creating selection criteria, contacting all Pullman downtown businesses and incorporating a youth category for the contest.

PAC Chair Jeri Harris said selected artists will be paired with participating downtown businesses to display their art in storefront windows, similar to the recently canceled ArtFest. 

Submission must be age-appropriate and family-friendly art. There is no cost to enter the event, she said.

“The aim of this project is to promote and provide visibility for local and regional artists,” said Joanna Bailey, Neill Public Library director.

The artwork is set to be showcased from April 3-28.

Harris said the contest will be judged by community members in March, such as a Pullman Arts Commission member, a local business owner, a councilmember and the mayor. Artists who win could receive a gift certificate for a local restaurant. 

The commission wants to work with WSU students to paint vacant storefront windows as a way to encourage hands-on learning for students, Harris said. 

Councilmembers brought up concerns about the event timeline and the exclusion of young artists.

“The timeframe on this seems really squished,” said Councilmember Eileen Macoll. “The council has been made uncomfortable in the past by getting things dropped in our laps.”

The commission planned to open submissions on Feb. 10, one day after receiving approval from the council. The window walk dates were chosen in April instead of May, when ArtFest is usually held, to accommodate WSU students, Harris said.

“It’s starting to sound WSU top-heavy to me and not very Pullman focused,” Macoll said. 

In addition, Councilmember Al Sorensen said he wants downtown businesses to be fairly represented and have the opportunity to be included in the event.

Harris said about 10 businesses who regularly participate in ArtFest confirmed to host art so far.

Airport Road improvements

The Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport completed major projects, including runway realignment and gravity sewer line extension construction for the proposed airport terminal. Plans are in the works to extend its water distribution, said Kevin Gardes, Pullman public works director.

Improvements should be completed by August this year with Parametrix, Inc. selected as the project engineer. Both Whitman County and Pullman each own about half of the road, he said.

Pullman owns the section running from NE Terre View Drive to the east end of the airport near Orville Boyd Road, Gardes said.

The county plans to complete construction for their portion of the road using grant funding slated for 2025. He said discussions about collaboration between the city and county are still preliminary.

Gardes said the project will meet requirements set by the recently implemented Complete Streets policy.