Residents and stomp-goers gathered at Sunnyland Park in the early afternoon of Saturday, July 11, for food, drinks and music to kick off the Seventh Annual Sunnyland Stomp.
This year’s neighborhood art walk boasted 25 galleries and 28 total stops along the way. This year the stomp also added 10 “selfie sites” to the stomp map, which showed visitors where each gallery was and gave a brief description of each site.
At these new selfie sites, people could snap selfies with props provided by each respective gallery and share them using the hashtag #stompselfies.
As stomp-goers walked around the neighborhood, from yard to yard, they came across a wide range of arts and crafts from woodwork and metal work to jewelry, knit goods, henna and more. Many galleries offered food, drinks and music to visitors.
Alice Clark, stomp founder and organizer, said the event grew out of an idea she had following her mother’s visit to Sweden. At Swedish potlucks, sometimes people bring instruments and art projects they’ve been working on instead of just food, Clark said.
The idea transformed from a backyard garden party to a neighborhood art walk, Clark said.
Children took to the streets offering drinks and treats to stompers as they walked and biked from gallery to gallery.
The day’s activities began with the 3rd Annual Great Chicken Race. The race claims to be the only chicken race in the world with obstacles, Clark said. The race was inspired by her husband, she said, but she doesn’t know what he was thinking.
“I researched chicken races and there were some [races] in England, but they’re really boring,” Clark said. “So I’ve been doing the whole claim that we’re the only one in the world with obstacles, because I think we are.”
Owners of downtown café Ciao Thyme operated a pizzeria from their backyard, while Kurly’s Kart fried up organic fires and treats at Electrafried Arts gallery.
Maniac Coffee Roasters and Hammerhead Coffee Roasters opened their joint roasting facility for the day and hosted an invite-only after party later in the evening, said Scott Hartwich, co-owner of Hammerhead Coffee Roasters.
“It’s a nice blend of venues, there’s businesses that do it and there’s homes obviously that open up their backyards for people,” Hartwich said.
Clover Goodsir, co-host of Electrafried Arts gallery, said she has made it a priority to visit the other galleries each of the years she has lived here, but this was the first year she and her husband decided to host in their backyard.
Goodsir’s chicken, Red Rocket, took home first place at the chicken race. After months of training, Red Rocket was ready to compete, she said.
“We love the community,” she said. “We got a lot of ideas from the other galleries that have happened over the years and it just seemed like fun.”
For the stomp’s first year, Clark and her husband walked around the neighborhood handing out stomp registration forms, she said. She then found three artists that she knew lived in Sunnyland and recruited them.
One of these three artists was Randy Clark (no relation to Alice Clark), also known as FishBoy. The name FishBoy describes his media and method for his work. “I am a recycler, so ‘fishing’ for wood and mis-mixed paint and design, ideas and invention is where the “fish” comes from; and the boy- well, that’s me, the inner child, the “boy” I will always be,” according to Clark’s website. http://www.fishboygallery.com/
Randy Clark said Alice Clark approached him after deciding to upsize her garden art party idea to a neighborhood art walk. She called and told him she needed him to be a part of the event because he had the only art gallery in the neighborhood, he said.
“I said, yeah sounds cool, so I signed up. That was seven years ago,” Randy Clark said. “I think it’s good for the neighborhood, the neighborhood has sort of become this Fremont of Bellingham.”
Randy Clark lives in his art gallery while also driving full time for Whatcom Transit Authority. Although his gallery is open year round, the stomp gives people a reason to visit and find out what it’s all about, he said.
The stomp has gained a number of sponsors and followers in its seven years.
The best part of the stomp to Randy Clark is “being pleasantly surprised that it’s become the little art monster it’s become,” he said.