By Alia Marsha
Northwest Asian Weekly
As part of a continuing fundraising effort, the Tsutakawa Fountain Committee at Seattle Central Community College will host an event to raise money for the restoration of an abandoned fountain sculpture by the late, world-renowned artist George Tsutakawa. The fountain is simply called “Fountain.”
“Memory and Interlude: An Evening of Music with the Tsutakawas” will be held on Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Broadway Performance Hall at 7:30 p.m. It is a part of the college’s Day of Remembrance program and will feature a jazz performance by the Deems Tsutakawa Trio, classical string quartet music by the Garfield High School’s Bach Street Boyz led by Marcus Tsutakawa, and reggae music by the Kore Ionz band, managed by Tsutakawa’s grandson Kazumi Tsutakawa.
A similar event was held last year, featuring music, food from the college’s culinary program, and a silent auction. It was a success, and the upcoming concert is expected to help the committee get closer to its target, while building awareness of the importance of artworks and the stories behind them.
“Fountain” was donated to SCCC by Tsutakawa himself in 1973, who attended Broadway High School — now the site of SCCC — in the mid-1920s.
The artist later attended the University of Washington. Situated at the heart of the campus, the sculpture symbolizes the rich history of Japanese Americans in Seattle, but over the last decade, it fell into disrepair and is no longer running.
At one point, the college considered selling it, but dismissed the idea due to concerns of faculty, staff, and students.
In 2012, a group of former and current faculty and staff of the college formed a committee to try to save the fountain.
To date, they have raised more than half of their goal of $40,000, with donations from the college’s student council committee, fellow faculty and staff members, students, and the local arts community. The committee was told by SCCC administrators that the college would only finance the rest of the refurbishment cost if the committee has reached its goal.
Arlene Martinez is an SCCC student and a volunteer for the event. She was in her Asian art history class last year when she first heard about the effort to save the fountain, and she identified with it immediately.
“My whole thing is that if I’m aspiring to be an artist, it’s my obligation as an artist that I support artists of the past, to show the importance of their message and also what art can do for people, bringing them together,” Martinez said. “[George Tsutakawa’s] message is beyond us, and even beyond him.” (end)
For more information about “Memory and Interlude: An Evening of Music with the Tsutakawas,” contact Tina Young at email@example.com or Melanie King at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alia Marsh can be reached at email@example.com.