Columns & Blogs

Behind the Scenes: Mayor’s Arts Award winners announced

Bellingham historian Brian Griffin leads a tour aboard the Island Caper during the History Sunset Cruise on Friday, Aug. 21, 2014 in Bellingham, Wash.
Bellingham historian Brian Griffin leads a tour aboard the Island Caper during the History Sunset Cruise on Friday, Aug. 21, 2014 in Bellingham, Wash. The Bellingham Herald

As one of the winners of last year’s Mayor’s Arts Award, and as an attendee at the awards ceremony for many years prior to my winning, I’m always eager and pleased to see which people and organizations receive the honor, which has been a Bellingham institution since 1978.

The community is invited to this year’s ceremony at 5:30 p.m. April 29 at Mount Baker Theatre’s Walton Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St.

Here’s the list for 2015, and brief explanations about why they won:


Brian Griffin

: He’s up for a “Living Treasure” Award from the Bellingham Art Commission. Griffin has been involved in many city projects over the years, including the Village Green gazebo and Depot Market Square.


Ivan Owen

: Owen works at MechMadness Designs and worked on a collaborative project to create

prosthetic fingers

for children through low-cost 3D designs and printing.


Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

: For 15 years, the festival has screened more than 250 films that promote understanding of such issues as equality, justice, health and the environment, with showings at Pickford Film Center, Whatcom Community College, Fairhaven College and other locations.


iDiOM Theater

: Bellingham’s launching pad for actors, writers and directors to hone their craft in original and often world-premiere works has been producing plays since 2002.


“The Mountain Runners:”

The 2012 documentary about the 1911-1913 Mount Baker Marathon, forerunner to today’s Ski to Sea Race, and its impact on early Bellingham has garnered national and international awards.


Shelley and Robert Muzzy

: The married couple established the nationally recognized

Bou-Saada Dance Troupe

in 1970, and “The Corner Garden” show, which aired for about seven years, starting in 1995, on now-defunct KVOS-TV. They remain active in Bellingham Theatre Guild and the Chuckanut Radio Hour.


Entertainment News NW

: For 10 years, Barb and Mark Fuller have published a monthly magazine that connects readers with events and people in Whatcom County’s arts and entertainment world.


Sibyl Sanford

: A professional artist and author, Sanford created the

Sanford-Hill Piano Series

at Western Washington University, which provides access to nationally acclaimed musicians in public concerts.


Jeni Cottrell

: Cottrell serves on

Bellingham’s Arts Commission

and has been an advocate of group-art purchases, which provide artwork for numerous nonprofits and other community organizations.


Karen Berry

: Berry initiated

Bellingham Music Festival’s

“Play in Forward” concerts and “Welcome Home” recitals, which recognize nationally known and local musicians who perform in public recitals and in local schools.

Apply to participate in Allied Arts’ events

Allied Arts of Whatcom County is seeking applicants for two events; one in the near future and one that’s so far in the future you might wonder how you can get it all together.

The first is the Bellwether Arts Market, taking place Aug. 14-16 at Tom Glenn Commons, near Hotel Bellwether. Thieoutdoor arts market features handmade regional arts and crafts, an arts area for youth, and performances by local musicians.

The second is the annual Holiday Festival of the Arts, which runs Nov. 13-Dec. 24 in a yet-to-be-determined space in Bellingham and features more than 100 artists and crafters, as well as entertainment.

The application deadline for both events is April 23. Details:, 360-676-8548.