08-15-12: Student art installed in downtown Puyallup
08-15-12: Student art installed in downtown Puyallup

Two new student sculptures that speak to Puyallup’s history and surrounding geography will be installed by the end of August outside of the school district’s administrative offices in downtown Puyallup.

The district held a reception in June to recognize the two artists — Rogers High School 2012 graduate Patrick Burnette, and alumna Erica Walvatne, who graduated in 2011.

The event also acknowledged the four top winners of the annual Dan Vesey-Deb Munson Art Show held in May at the Karshner Museum.

The outdoor sculptures will be installed near the front entrance of the Education Service Center, 302 Second St. S.E., Puyallup.

Patrick Burnette

Patrick Burnette, who graduated in June, said he set out to create a ceramic design that “symbolizes our City of Puyallup.”

His finished piece features 20 ceramic squares connected by a letter “P” for Puyallup. Within each of the small squares are images representative of the city and its geography, including a mountain, a basket of apples, a Ferris wheel, pinecones, strawberries, a raindrop, and fish.

The squares are grouted and surrounded with liner bars in matching earth tone colors. The sculpture is framed on a metal stand, which Burnette created with the help of Rogers High School welding teacher Fred Fishback.

Metal letters that spell out “Puyallup” are welded to the top of the frame.

Burnette started the project last fall and finished over spring break. He rolled out the clay, and then carved the designs within the squares.

He took six semesters of ceramics in high school under the direction of teacher Cynthia Fabulich-Tate, one painting class, and two semesters of design.

This fall, he will attend Washington State University in Pullman, where he plans to study fine arts.

Erica Walvatne

Walvatne describes her outdoor sculpture as a whimsical look at some of the things Puyallup is best known for with an emphasis on the changing seasons.

The black and images, which are carved in a relief (raised) design on 8 x 8-inch squares, include an umbrella upside down in a rain puddle, a pumpkin, daffodils, a ladybug on a leaf, and a bird perched on a branch.

The squares are connected with grout and surrounded on all four sides by small rocks of varying colors, many of which Walvatne collected from around campus and then glued one-by-one onto the sculpture.

The images and rocks are set inside a metal frame constructed by a fellow Rogers High alumni.

Walvatne started her sculpture in January 2011 and finished it four months later, just before graduation. Because it was completed late last school year, it was eligible to be considered for this year’s outdoor sculpture installation.

Since graduation, Walvatne has been working as a supervisor at Wal-Mart. She said she plans to return to college and eventually own a bakery.

Walvatne took ceramics both her junior and senior years of high school under the direction of teacher Cynthia Fabulich-Tate.