Could this idea for downtown Kent really fly? Editor’s Note

There’s a buzz on the downtown streets of Kent. Really – and it’s even about an insect. The Kent Downtown Partnership is in the early stages of putting together an arts idea that wouldn’t cost the city anything, but perhaps could put Kent on the map for something unusual. Dragonflies. Yes, you heard me right. The KDP is hoping to run a proposal past our local arts commission to have handcrafted dragonflies grace our downtown merchants’ buildings. Crafted by welding students at Green River Community College and funded by any merchant wanting to purchase one for a nominal fee, these brightly colored insects would be rendered from recycled metal and could be gracing more storefronts.

There’s a buzz on the downtown streets of Kent.
Really – and it’s even about an insect.
The Kent Downtown Partnership is in the early stages of putting together an arts idea that wouldn’t cost the city anything, but  perhaps could put Kent on the map for something unusual.
Dragonflies. Yes, you heard me right. The KDP is hoping to run a proposal past our local arts commission to have handcrafted dragonflies grace our downtown merchants’ buildings. Crafted by welding students at Green River Community College and funded by any merchant wanting to purchase one for a nominal fee, these brightly colored insects would be rendered from recycled metal and could be gracing more storefronts.
In fact, you can already see some: on the KDP storefront, Around The Clock, and AAA Pest Control.
“If they get a chance to see what’s gone up so far – it’s pretty darned nice,” said KDP Executive Director Barbara Smith, of what people can see during a downtown stroll of Kent.
There is a backstory here, linking Kent to these very special bugs.
Back in 1997, a class from Crestwood Elementary in Kent was successful in its push to have the state Legislature make the dragonfly our state’s official insect.
Gov. Gary Locke actually traveled to Crestwood that year. As students proudly watched, he signed the bill into law, making the dragonfly a part of Washington history, and a part of Kent lore.
With that kind of connection, it seems fitting to have this colorful insect gracing Kent’s downtown in some way.
Smith sees the project as naturally in line with one of KDP’s main objectives.
“It’s one more reason to bring people to downtown Kent,” she said.
 There are more phases to this proposal, as well.
Smith voiced hope that the project could generate enough buzz so that with a fundraiser and other donations, larger fiberglass dragonflies could be purchased, and then painted by local artists. Not unlike Seattle’s “Pigs on Parade” sculptures, which inspired people to take walking tours of the city, to view the different artists’ work.
Such a project wouldn’t have to be just for Kent’s downtown. Smith said city parks, or perhaps the city’s entrance signs could be places to exhibit such artwork.
“We’re thinking the parks, or the entrance to downtown, where they can be clustered,” she said.
For now, this is an idea – but it’s an idea that Smith and others are hoping will see some local support. In fact, finding a few more volunteers would be helpful at this point.
“We would love to find somebody who is passionate about this,” Smith said.
Call Smith at (253) 813-6976 to learn more.

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