At the last Freestyle event, artists of varying experience levels painted their own skateboards. This time around, they will be decorating musical instruments. Contributed photo

At the last Freestyle event, artists of varying experience levels painted their own skateboards. This time around, they will be decorating musical instruments. Contributed photo

Local artists return for second Freestyle event

It’s an opportunity to watch artists create their work, and then even have a chance to buy it at the end.

Artists from Enumclaw, Buckley, and even Bonney Lake are coming to Arts Alive! for another Freestyle event.

For those not in the know, these Freestyle events give space for art lovers of all kinds to watch local artists create their work.

During the last event, which was held at the end of June, artists customized their very own skateboards, which could then be bought by the public.

This time around, artists will be working their magic on various instruments, from wooden guitars to brass horns, which will all be up for sale during a silent auction at the event.

Though it’s likely too early to expect these Freestyle events to be a series, they appear to be the beginnings of a revamped art scene on the Plateau as younger artists like Benji Pierson are stepping up to take on leadership positions within the community; Pierson is both an artist in the event and chair of the Arts Alive! board of directors.

Locals may recognize a few names on the list of participating artists, like Glory Cancro, Elaine Lynest, and Lorrie Maras, who are each staples at Arts Alive!

There are a few new names as well — Logan Solmonson is a teen artist who has a “psychedelic street art” style, Pierson described, and Faith Montgomery, a wood carver and painter who will soon be opening a gallery in Enumclaw on Griffin Avenue.

But the star of the event is easily Ryan Henry Ward, a former Enumclaw High School Hornet and Seattle-based artist who is known for painting colorful murals around the city, various states, and even other countries. Although he has a workshop in Ballard, Ward plans to open another workshop in Enumclaw, and is working with Pierson to paint a new mural on the back of the Youth Activity Center on Cole Street sometime in the next year.

“You look at his stuff, and it’s very simple, but it’s methodical — the colors, the characters, everything he uses. It makes you happy,” Pierson said. “It’s positivity, and this world needs so much of that now.”

Mike Chang is also returning to play live music at the event, which is slated for Nov. 9 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Arts Alive!

All money raised during the silent auction will go toward arts programs and scholarships supported by Arts Alive!


Montgomery’s new studio, named Woodensense, is expected to open sometime in mid-November or early December in the old vaping store on Roosevelt Avenue, close to The Kettle.

“I love this town. “I love that I’m from here,” she said in a recent interview. “It’s a good fitting area for me, since I started my business here. Keeping the gallery here made sense.”

As a painter and carver, Montgomery combines both mediums in her work by using wooden borders or even cutouts of animals to surround nature scenes, from forests blanketed with snow to the waves of Cannon Beach.

She said she was always drawn to nature, since she grew up here rather than in a city.

“My dad always took meout everywhere around here,” she continued. “I always felt I could actually breathe in nature, even though I’m allergic to everything.”

The colors she uses are bright and vivid, bringing life to her paintings even when the most minimum amount of colors are used.

“It’s how I see it, when I look at things. People usually see things not as vividly, but I see them with all the pops of colors, because I’m just focusing on the one thing,” Montgomery said. “When somebody comes out here and they haven’t seen Mount Rainier before, and they’re just kind of — they see everything — but they don’t appreciate the fine little aspects that I have grown to appreciate. The small kind of details.”

To view some of Montgomery’s works before her gallery opens up, head to

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