Arts Commission News

Read about the latest happenings with the Fife Public Arts Commission

New utility box art wraps

In summer 2023, the Fife Public Arts Commission completed its utility box art wrap project, bringing color and creativity to corners all around the city. The commission selected the eight designs from the more than 80 submitted during the call for artists earlier this year.

utility box Stiles


the commission members and artist Lisa Kinoshita at city hallThe Fife Public Arts Commission (FPAC) welcomed visitors on a tour of eight works of art sited in and around Fife City Hall, Fife Community Center and Fife Aquatic Center on Sept. 17, 2022.

The event began in the lobby of city hall, where guests enjoyed coffee and pastries while chair Laura Fournier offered an overview of the commission's work and goals. The group then set off on the tour, with commissioners sharing information about each work of art along the way. Artists Chuck Fitzgerald, Savy Jane and Lisa Kinoshita attended the event, offering insights to their inspiration and process in creating their works

To learn more about the event, check out the event program, which includes a tour map, information about the works on display, and tips on how to look at art.

Utility Boxes Showcase Works by Local Artists

Fife utility boxes public art

Have you seen the city’s latest works of art? The Fife Public Arts Commission (FPAC) completed the installation of four new utility box wraps around town in late summer 2022. 

From left: “Low Tide” by Becky Frehse outside Fife City Hall; salmon painting by Janette Stiles at the corner of 70th Ave. E. and Valley Ave. E.; “Sweeter for Two” by Ray Fernandez on Pacific Hwy. E. outside the Criminal Justice Center; and koi fish by Jueun Baek at the corner of Wapato Way E. and 20th St. E. 

Meet Arts Commissioner Mizu Sugimura

Mizu Sugimura has always believed art is an important connection that unites a community, its creativity and imagination. “I’m a visual artist. I like ideas. I’m particularly interested in how art helps us look at our world,” said Sugimura.

Mizu Sugimura photoSugimura is a third-generation American of Japanese descent and an artist with an interest in paper collage, painting, printmaking and fabric arts. Her artwork has appeared across the state and abroad, in juried shows and private collections. Her art explores the intersection of personal, family and community issues and how they intersect with history and individuals today. Sugimura has worked as a teaching artist with children and adults at diverse venues such as the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma and Seattle’s Wing Luke Museum.

“When I moved to Fife 10 years ago, I wanted to connect with my new community. I didn’t know anyone in town,” she said. “When I read an article in the local newspaper that the City of Fife was recruiting qualified applicants to join something called the Fife Public Arts Commission, I was curious and applied.”

Created by ordinance in 2011, the Fife Public Arts Commission provided Sugimura with an entry point to help her learn about the long-standing ties and binding connections in Fife. Sugimura was appointed to be among the first group of commissioners, who were charged with advising the Fife City Council on matters related to public art, to champion art in public spaces, to encourage visitors to Fife and support local artists.

“It’s been great to see the commission built from the ground floor.” she said. “I love the way art can speak to us as a city.” She served two consecutive terms on the commission, took a few years off and returned in late 2019 for a third term.

In the early years, the commission undertook a lofty mission: To select, acquire and position artwork in public places throughout the city. Ten years later, visitors and residents alike can view those pieces, such as “The Throne,” a sculpture at Fountain Memorial Park by Nicky Faklenhayn and “Wheels of Progress,” a recycled metal sculpture by Eric Holdener, at the outside entrance to the Fife History Museum in Dacca Park. Fun fact: Holdener’s grandfather farmed in Fife for many years.

Today’s Fife Public Arts Commissioners are working to create a care plan for the city’s public art pieces, which are beginning to show their age. Commissioners are in the final stages of awarding a contract to wrap two utility boxes with special covers designed by local artists that reflect the city’s shared culture and history.

Sugimura has a request: Come join or network with us. Several open seats are ready to be filled by new commissioners. Or, simply attend a meeting, contribute an idea for an art project or discuss a future collaboration. “Whether you are a new arrival to the city, a long-term resident, from another part of the country or another culture, sharing a desire to make the city a stronger community over the arts is informative and bonding,” Sugimura said. 

Want to join the commission? Click here to apply!

Have You Seen the City's Newest Works of Art?

The Fife Public Arts Commission has a legacy of championing art in public spaces and the commission’s latest project is about as visible as it gets in Fife. The city’s two newest art pieces - art-wrapped utility boxes - are located along the city’s busiest corridors at the corner of Valley Avenue East and 54th Avenue East and Pacific Highway East and Willow Road East.

Utility box artLast year, Fife Public Arts Commission members asked local artists to submit designs to wrap those two utility boxes. The commission selected the artwork from more than a dozen artist submissions. The wraps were installed in May 2021 when the weather was above safe temperatures for applying the artwork.

The wraps carry the themes of Fife’s history and Fife’s legacy as a center for industry and transportation. The wrap at 54th Avenue East and Valley Avenue East features vivid origami shapes, a nod to Fife’s history as a magnet for Japanese immigrants. The artist is Camilla Prosser. 

utility art wrapThe theme of the wrap installed at the corner of Pacific Highway East and Willow Road East is a car-themed motif by artist Carolyn Burt. Be sure to drive by and take a look! Arts Commissioners Mizu Sugimura and Marshall Kalerak are eager to get started on the next call for artists for wrapping additional city-owned utility boxes. Want to help champion public art in Fife? Open seats are now available on the arts commission. Joining is as easy as filling out an application here!