Denny Croston, backyard artisan, creates scrap-metal wonders

June 5, 2012

The artist collects railroad memorabilia and much of it is on display behind his house, including a restored 1921 Northern Pacific Railway caboose, traffic signs, light posts and a host of smaller items inside the railroad car itself. Photo by Ilona Idlis

Stepping inside Denny Croston’s world is as easy as walking onto his driveway.

The Issaquah artist’s home embodies all of the whimsy of his repurposed scrap metal sculptures. A visitor is immediately greeted by Poncho — a rusty gentleman with wrench arms and a “cute butt” — as well as army-helmet turtles and a horseshoe cactus before making it to the front porch. But the true wonderland is tucked behind the house.

Croston’s backyard is an eclectic medley of curiosities and creations. A huge red railroad car sits on the left, flanked by antique light posts and traffic signs. It took Croston two years to restore the 1921 Northern Pacific Railway caboose to its former glory and it’s the crown jewel of his railroad memorabilia collection.

Behind it, a shed teems with scrap-metal findings from junk yards and estate sales from all over Washington. A tree “yarn bombed” by local artist and friend Suzanne Tidwell casts shadows over the neatly trimmed hedges and fishpond on the right, while flowers made out of tractor parts peek through the greenery. Heaps of junk, rusting in the sunshine, punctuate the well-tended lawn.

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ArtWalk returns June 1 to downtown Issaquah

May 29, 2012

Head outside for the next ArtWalk on June 1.

The spring and summertime ArtWalk transforms local businesses into art galleries for the evening and enhances the vibrant arts scene in downtown Issaquah.

Participants can enjoy art, music and community spirit in downtown Issaquah. Watch artists in action at the artEAST Artist Alley. Share personal poems at the Poetry Machine. Listen to live music by Preheat, Ogre, Train Wreck and The Greg Glassman Trio.

Organizers expect more than 30 artists to present works on Front Street, at the Issaquah Train Depot, 50 Rainier Blvd. N., and at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center, 75 N.E. Creek Way.

Participants can find event maps in front of the Issaquah Library, 10 W. Sunset Way, or at the Hailstone Feed Store, 232 Front St. N. Learn more about ArtWalk and the Downtown Issaquah Association, which organizes ArtWalk, at www.downtownissaquah.com. 

Downtown Issaquah ArtWalk returns May 4 for 11th season

May 1, 2012

ArtWalk returns May 4, as the Downtown Issaquah Association launches the spring and summer tradition.

The event is from 5-8 p.m. along Front Street and Sunset Way. The event is held the first Friday of each month, May to September.

Artists from local high schools add a special feature to the season’s first ArtWalk, Downtown Issaquah Association Executive Director Karen Donovan said.

Look for the young artists’ works at the historic Hailstone Feed Store, 232 Front St. N., and the former Stella’s Vintage Clothing, 195 Front St. N.

ArtWalk participants can also listen to live music. Kaleidoscope is due to perform in front of the Issaquah Library, 10 W. Sunset Way. Hear the Issaquah Singers at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center, 75 N.E. Creek Way. Participants can also listen to music at the feed store.

Downtown restaurants, businesses, galleries and other venues plan to participate as ArtWalk launches its 11th season.

Toast Downtown Issaquah Wine Walk as series ends for season

April 3, 2012

Visitors on Front Street who enjoyed wine tastings, snacks and live music in February during the Downtown Issaquah Association’s Wine Walk have one more chance on April 6. By Greg Farrar

Oenophiles can sip and stroll through town as the Downtown Issaquah Wine Walk series concludes for the season April 6.

Organized by the DownTown Issaquah Association, merchants host musicians, and offer sips from Washington vintners and hors d’oeuvres, during the monthly event. The inaugural Downtown Issaquah Wine Walk occurred in February.

“We got a lot of people down here that had either never been to downtown Issaquah or hadn’t been down here in a long time,” association Executive Director Karen Donovan said. “I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from people saying how much they enjoyed it. They enjoyed the music and the appetizers and the wine, of course.”

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First Friday Wine Walks offer a new taste of downtown

January 17, 2012

The artEAST Art Center and UP Front Gallery, which always participates in ArtWalk in the summer, will be one of six locations on Front Street to take part Feb. 3 in the inaugural First Friday Wine Walk. File

Adding to its list of events to draw more visitors to downtown, the DownTown Issaquah Association announces First Friday Wine Walk from 5-8 p.m. Feb. 3.

Wine Walk, following other popular events such as ArtWalk and a zombie invasion, will feature boutique wine tasting at six locations up and down Front Street.

“It should be fun,” said Karen Donovan, the association’s executive director. “I’m excited.”

Wineries will include Lodmell Winery in Walla Walla; Woodinville’s Smasne Cellars; and, Castillo de Feliciana. Several Wine Walk locations will feature live entertainment to include acoustic guitarist “Uncle Phil” Hansen; guitarist and composer Angelo Pizarro; vocal group Bodacious Ladyhood; and, pianist Meg Mann.

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In another shakeup, DownTown Issaquah Association leader resigns

December 13, 2011

The leader of the DownTown Issaquah Association resigned Dec. 6 — after only a few months on the job and less than a year after board members replaced the organization’s longtime executive director.

Executive Director Annique Bennett joined the organization as cultural events coordinator in early spring and then, months after another employee left the organization, board members promoted Bennett to the top spot.

“I have not been empowered by the DIA board to accomplish the goals they set for themselves or for me,” she said in a resignation emailed to association board members. “I have enjoyed working with each of you and wish you the best of luck on your community wine events and marketing.”

The announcement came a day before a major event on the DownTown Issaquah Association calendar, a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the historic Hailstone Feed Store.

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DownTown Issaquah Association director resigns

December 7, 2011

NEW — 3:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 2011

The leader of the DownTown Issaquah Association — the second person to hold the post since board members replaced the longtime executive director in February — resigned Tuesday, after only a few months on the job.

“I have not been empowered by the DIA Board to accomplish the goals they set for themselves or for me,” Executive Director Annique Bennett said in a message emailed to association board members Tuesday afternoon. “I have enjoyed working with each of you and wish you the best of luck on your community wine events and marketing.”

The announcement came a day before a major event on the DownTown Issaquah Association calendar, a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the historic Hailstone Feed Store.

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City, DownTown Issaquah Association need citizens for parking study

November 15, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 15, 2011

The city and the DownTown Issaquah Association volunteers should start fanning out across downtown in the days ahead to determine if the historic district needs more parking.

Municipal officials and representatives from the merchants group, partnered to conduct a downtown parking study to understand the demand for existing public and private parking stalls.

The effort is meant to update a 1998 downtown parking study. The city should release results from the latest effort early next year.

Throughout the study, volunteers plan to check downtown stalls’ occupancy. The effort runs at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. If weather causes delays, organizers plan to reschedule the survey until later in November.

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Find quiet contemplation in Issaquah’s Christian Science Reading Room

October 11, 2011

The Issaquah Church of Christ, Scientist Reading Room features a distinctive reflecting pool. By Greg Farrar

One of the staples of the Christian Science religion is its reading room.

Usually, it’s a quiet atmosphere that lends to the pursuit of thoughtful prayer, studying Bible lessons, reading Christian literature or investigating the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist.

With the church located on 238th Way Southeast, leaders have long had to rent out space in Issaquah for a reading room to serve its congregation of fewer than 200.

However, Issaquah’s last reading room didn’t have an ideal location for its intended pursuits in the Brandt Building on Front Street, not with its neighbor — The Kaleidoscope School of Music — pursuing its intended purpose.

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City offers 2012 arts grants to local organizations

September 9, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 9, 2011

The city Arts Commission seeks cultural organizations and programs for the latest round of arts grants.

The city offers grants each year for organizations to present performances and programs in public spaces and local schools.

Only projects inside Issaquah city limits or at Issaquah School District campuses qualify for funding. The deadline to apply for the grants is Nov. 4.

Commissioners awarded about $120,000 to 21 projects. The lineup included ArtWalk, Issaquah Farmers Market entertainment, Concerts on the Green, Shakespeare on the Green, performances at local schools and programs to help troubled youths.

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