The Art Inventory

Johnston Architects Also Builds A Venue For Artists

by Kirby Lindsay, posted 31 October 2011


Mia Tran shows the works of Craig van den Bosch on the walls of Johnston Architects Photo by K. Lindsay

The Fremont First Friday Art Walk, coming up on November 4th, offers a variety of art, by a variety of artists, shown in a variety of venues spread all over the community.  Yet, none stretches the boundaries of Fremont as far as the offices of Johnston Architects, located at 100 N.E. Northlake Way, while also capturing the unique spirit of the Art Walk, by its determined display of a diversity of artists.

And while their offices are hardly a “walk” from Fremont, Johnston Architects would make a quick bike ride – located on the Burke-Gilman trail – or a handy excuse drive, dine and view due to its proximity to Ivar’s Salmon House and the Northlake Tavern.

Welcome To The Community

The entry to the building at 100 NE Northlake Way where Johnston Architects has its offices Photo by K. Lindsay

In business since 1990, Johnston Architects have been located on the far eastern edge of Fremont since December 2007.  They joined in the Art Walk shortly after their arrival, and welcome the broader variety of people – and art – that the shows introduce.  “I think that’s one of the reasons we have it,” explained Mia Tran, “it brings the community in, and it exposes us to the community.”

Among her many duties at Johnston Architects, Tran serves as Art Walk Liaison.  She began vetting the artists with a committee, but admitted that now she finds the artists almost exclusively with the firm’s founding partners – Ray & Mary Johnston.

The Johnstons make the final decision, and they often find artists as well as Tran.  They have brought in several artists through contacts in the Methow Valley, where they live part-time and participate, actively, in the community (Ray Johnston currently serves as President of the TwispWorks Board of Directors.)

Pieces by artist Laurie Kain, on display in the conference room at Johnston Architects Photo by K. Lindsay

They’ve introduced accomplished artists from the Methow Valley to this area, including glass artist Laurie Kain (“it was my favorite show,” admitted Tran.)  The Johnston Architects offices have also hosted, twice, the Methow Conservancy Art & Experiences Auction.  On the other hand, they also show local artists, including Fremont artist Craig van den Bosch who displayed in October 2011.

Tran welcomes submissions – by artists familiar with the kind of art they show.  “I get a lot of e-mails,” she admitted, “a lot of stuff I’m getting, I’m not feeling like it suits us.”  They show fine art, but beyond that the art – and artists – can be hard to categorize in a single style, they show established and emerging artists, and they don’t limit the medium.  “I encourage artists interested in displaying to come to take a look,” Tran stated.

A First Friday Art Walk show at Johnston Architects in November 2010 Photo by Melanie Masson

“You never know who will walk through,” she said of the space and the audience for the art.  “It gets a different exposure,” than other art venues, she acknowledged.  The shows display all month – occasionally for two months – and Tran welcomes visitors, during office hours all month long.  She also allows that the members of the firm and clients see the art, enjoying the exposure to the creative, diverse displays.

Welcome To The Company

“We try to be eclectic in our selection of artists. We’ve shown book art, sculpture, prints and multiple-media,” explained Mary Johnston, by e-mail.  The diversity of the art reflects the well-roundedness of Johnston Architects professionally.  “Like our artist selection, we are eclectic,” she explained, “We design single family houses, vacation retreats, apartments, libraries, commercial buildings and educational facilities. Even houseboats!”

The location of the firm reflects variety, as the office building stands among industrial, maritime, restaurant and residential neighbors.  The Burke-Gilman trail, running alongside the building, displays a varied vista of cyclists, walkers, joggers and skaters.  Tran also commented on the Art Walk, and its wide spectrum of venues – and artists – of which Johnston Architects takes pride in being part.  “I like that about Fremont,” she said.

Works by Craig van den Bosch, on display at Johnston Architects during October 2011 Photo by K. Lindsay

Ultimately, though, “the goal for us,” Tran said, as Art Walk Liaison, “is to widen our reach, and to bring more people into our shows.”  Mary Johnston admitted, “We like supporting the arts and artists, both emerging and established.”  For the shows, and the audience, Tran stated, “it’s about supporting the artists.”

Welcome To The Artists

The willingness of Johnston Architects to encourage eclecticism can be seen best of all in their choice of artist for November, as they show projections of the animation of Barbara Robertson on the walls.  Her explorations of space, motion and light will be accompanied by music specifically composed for it by Johanna Melamed.  “We’re going to try it,” Tran acknowledged, “It will be a really unique use of the space.”

The show promises to challenge on many levels, and provide exposure for an artist that many venues would never display.  For those who have, so far, failed to explore the far reaches of the Art Walk, the First Friday on November 4th allows an opportunity to see what Johnston Architects has to offer – and why this ought to become a regular stop on your route!

Also, as always, find out exactly what to at the Fremont First Friday Art Walk this month, on the website!  See you there!

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©2011 Kirby Lindsay.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.


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