It is safe to say that the Renton arts community would simply not be the same without the work of Mary Clymer and the Renton Municipal Arts Commission.
Even if you do not know who Clymer is, or what the Renton Municipal Arts Commission does, you are likely familiar with their work if you live in the Renton area.
If you have seen Erasmus the rooftop dragon in downtown Renton, any of the murals that span the sides of businesses or the portraits of legendary Renton athletes that bring pride to the back of the stands at Liberty Park, you have been touched by the efforts of Clymer and the Renton Municipal Arts Commission perhaps without even realizing it.
Folks in Renton have voted, and Mary Clymer has been recognized as this year’s Best Volunteer in the Best of Renton awards for her unparalleled work to empower local artists and to bring artistic vibrance throughout the community.
However, she is too humble to take all the credit. Clymer says “it takes a village” to be successful in spreading art throughout the community. She thanked the many volunteers across the community as well as people who work for the city and other community organizations that “go above and beyond” to help support community art in Renton.
Clymer said she feels the mission to bring and support art in the community is important as art helps break down walls and gives an opportunity for individuals to step outside of their identity and experience something.
“I am a true believer that by supporting arts, it flows into all aspects of the community,” she said.
Clymer described Renton as a “grass-roots,” “underdog city,” full of diversity, pride and home to a variety of cultural experiences.
She said she hopes that going forward, the Renton Municipal Arts Commission can continue to break down barriers for local artists and to promote diversity and underserved voices.
She said art can give a community identity and “funkiness,” as it helps “give a sense of place and community.”