UW Tacoma among AMOCAT Arts Award recipients

The Tacoma Arts Commission has announced this year’s recipients of the annual AMOCAT Arts Award.

The three award categories are Community Outreach by an Individual (Community outreach, engagement, and involvement in the arts in Tacoma by an individual); Community Outreach by an Organization (Community outreach, engagement, and involvement in the arts in Tacoma by an organization); and Arts Patron (A community partner who significantly supports or contributes to the arts in Tacoma).

University of Washington Tacoma received the Arts Patron Award for its ongoing commitment to serving and partnering with the greater Tacoma community. UW Tacoma’s contributions to the arts in Tacoma began 25 years ago at the campus’ founding, when 15 faculty members were hired to create an interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum. Since then, the university’s impact on the community can be measured by the work of its faculty, students, and alumni; a dense network of partnerships and collaborations; and a growing public art collection. UW Tacoma’s connections to the Tacoma arts community include glass art classes hosted at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma School of the Arts classes held on campus, and a partnership with Spaceworks Tacoma to support creative entrepreneurs. Recent collaborations include an innovative community-based theater production by UW Tacoma faculty and Toy Boat Theatre, and the hosting of a portion of the City of Tacoma and Tacoma Art Museum’s Pop-Up Art Putt! golf course. UW Tacoma’s investment in developing the campus and Prairie Line Trail, with a commitment to aesthetic design and adaptive re-use, has encouraged a more walkable and beautiful community. The campus proudly displays a diverse art collection including works by Pablo Picasso, Dale Chihuly, Gerard Tsutakawa, Dawoud Bey, Buster Simpson, and many others.

Tacoma Public Library received the Community Outreach by an Organization Award for its deep and ongoing commitment to creating opportunities for interactive and dynamic lifelong learning through the lens of arts and culture. Tacoma’s public libraries are hubs of community activity where citizens can gather together to tell and create stories, listen to and create music, experience art, play chess, access the internet, and escape with a great film. The libraries bring readers and writers together to share a love of stories through book talks and signings, discussion groups, and the community-wide reading program: Tacoma Reads Together. The Handforth Gallery at the Main Library provides an opportunity to experience visual art created by local, regional, national and international artists, as well as to hear artists talk about their work and learn more about the art forms through demonstrations. The Tacoma Public Library provides free performing arts opportunities for the public including music concerts, puppet shows, magic acts, silent movies, jugglers, clowns, and acrobats. The Main Library’s StoryLab encourages students to expand their digital creativity through workshops in sound production, voice-over, film production and editing, beat-making, digital drawing, and song writing.

Tacoma Public Library's Handforth Gallery hosted local artist Lynn Di Nino and her exhibit "Riding the express bus Seattle/Tacoma" earlier this summer. (FILE PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

Tacoma Public Library’s Handforth Gallery hosted local artist Lynn Di Nino and her exhibit “Riding the express bus Seattle/Tacoma” earlier this summer. (FILE PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

Connie K. Walle received the Community Outreach by an Individual Award for her commitment to elevating the literary arts in Tacoma and the South Sound. Walle is a poet, the founder and president of Puget Sound Poetry Connection (PSPC), and facilitator for the Distinguished Writer Series, which has been a staple of Tacoma’s literary arts community for 25 years and counting. The Distinguished Writer Series provides a platform where poets of national regard share their work with the South Sound community, and where local writers of all levels and backgrounds can share their work in a constructive and supportive environment. Under Walle’s leadership, PSPC has spearheaded multiple projects including literary publications, a teen writing contest and poetry workshops. She also hosts poetry critiques and produces a weekly e-newsletter promoting poetry-related opportunities throughout the region. PSPC, along with collaborating partners, are producing the first ever Tacoma Poetry Festival on Fri., Oct. 16 and Sat., Oct. 17. The Distinguished Writer Series meets at 7 p.m. on the second Friday of every month at King’s Bookstore, located at 218 St. Helens Ave., in Tacoma. The event is free and open to the public. All ages and levels of writing are welcome.

This year’s AMOCAT Award recipients will be honored at the annual Tacoma Arts Month Opening Party on Thurs., Oct. 1, between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., at the historic Tacoma Armory, located at 715 S. 11th St., in Tacoma. Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland will present the awards starting at 7:45 p.m. In addition, there will be live entertainment at this event that includes music by Ken Jacobsen, contemporary dance by the BareFoot Collective, Samoan Village Dance by Asia Pacific Cultural Center, poetry by Tacoma Poet Laureate Cathy Nguyen, and more. Attendees can also explore a series of pop-up multimedia art exhibits by Christopher Jordan, Isaac Olsen, Jennifer Chushcoff, Nichole Rathburn, Janet Marcavage, Tim + April Norris, Terese Cuff, Elizabeth Gahan, Diana Leigh Surma, and Judd Cohen. The event will include appetizers, dessert, and a no-host bar. The event is free and open to the public.

More information is available online here.

Past AMOCAT Arts Award recipients include:



  • Arts Patron – Erivan and Helga Haub and family
  • Community Outreach by an Organization – Puget Sound Book Artists
  • Community Outreach by an Individual – David Domkoski




  • Community Outreach by an Artist award – Oliver Doriss
  • Community Outreach by an Organization award – Fab-5
  • Arts Patron award – Urban Grace Church




  • Community Outreach by an Artist award – Lance Kagey and Tom Llewellyn of Beautiful Angle
  • Community Outreach by an Organization award – Victory Music
  • Arts Patron award – The Weekly Volcano




To read the Tacoma Daily Indexs complete and comprehensive coverage of the AMOCAT Arts Awards and Art At Work Month, click on the following links: