Creative Forces Celerates 5th years

Promoting and honoring local artists, Creative Forces Gifts & Sundries is celebrating five years in business. Owner Carolyn Osborne believes that people come back to Creative Forces because they enjoy the variety, they know the importance of local and they know that she loves promoting the art of every one of her artists.

“They also know that they don’t have to ‘check’ to see if it’s local,” adds Osborne. “If it’s in Creative Forces, it’s 100 percent local. I believe that people who come back to the shop enjoy the ‘relationship’ that we establish. They know I’m a real person, realizing a longtime dream. Passion is important!”

Located in Tacoma’s Hotel Murano, the shop opened featuring 12 artists. Now it features 63, with most of the original artists still showcased there. “I have known artists, artists have found me, and I have found them,” recalls Osborne. “One artist, Nola Tresslar, had posted a piece on Facebook and I loved it, so I found more information on her, called her, and it turns out she lives within walking distance of my home!”

The art ranges from textiles to paintings to leather to blown glass. On the third Thursday of every month, the shop hosts an Art & Wine Night from 5 to 9 p.m. “People often forget what they came looking for once they step inside and see all the art,” Osborne says.

“I always wanted to open a gallery to feature my work as well as promote local artists. Not the artists that are famous and have big money behind them. I’m talking about the amazing, talented people that walk among us. Those are the ones often overlooked because of the lack of places that show local work. They are incredible people with a gift and amazing energy.”

No big changes are coming to Creative Forces anytime soon—Osborne will simply continue to feature local artists, as well as her own art. “I have watched Creative Forces grow in the number of artists,” she says. “And most importantly I have watched as more and more local people are becoming aware of our existence.” by Jordan Marie McCaw

Creative Forces Gifts & Sundries

1320 Broadway, Tacoma


Never Losing Sight: The Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia

Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia hasn’t lost its focus—the students—since it began 18 years ago.

SOGO Executive Director Krina Allison recalls the beginning: “Two young teens, Ted and Jeff, came knocking on our door and wanted to talk to my husband and me about starting a youth orchestra organization where the young musicians had input. Then it was six weeks later that we had the name SOGO, budget, conductors, coaches, rehearsal venue, 90 young musicians, and we had our first downbeat!”

Everyone involved in the first year volunteered their time without pay. All tuition went to the maestro John Walsh. About two years ago he announced his retirement, and since then SOGO has been on the hunt for its next maestro.

“We would like to grow in membership and continue to explore more musical opportunities for young musicians,” says Allison. “We are in the process of reexamining our vision for the future, so this is a very exciting time for the organization.” She says there is a committee that has put together the next music director’s job description and they are now in the process of getting the word out.

Allison explains that SOGO “lives outside the box” by discerning what students want to learn and going from there. To keep the focus student-centered, she says, there is a student board that learns leadership and how nonprofit organizations work.

“We have tried different ideas,” she says, and then rattles off some of them: touring to schools, the Sample of SOGO, Media on the Mezz, Chamber Ensembles, Summer Music, Music in the Park, Instrument Petting Zoo, HO HO Brass Choir Holiday Show, and POGO (Play On Greater Olympia), an after-school program for disadvantaged children.

SOGO isn’t afraid to try different and new ways to educate its students. Partnering with other organizations in the area, SOGO encourages and makes possible the students’ desire to learn. For more information about SOGO and the search for its next maestro, visit


YWCA 2017 Women of Achievement

YWCA of Olympia recently celebrated these amazing women in our community as leaders in eliminating racism and empowering women.

Karama Blackhorn: Karma’s work centralizes around antioppression education to build community and empower leadership through culturally responsive and celebratory spaces. She believes in the power and wisdom of people to lead and help their own communities in the way they know best. Her work is focused on creating access where none existed, or in supporting the growth of confidence in a person who may have been taught to believe they were powerless.

Leslie Cushman: Leslie believes in the truths shared by people of color, by indigenous people and by women. She is convinced that there is still much work to be done in gaining equality for all races. Leslie helped found Thurston Gun Sense, a group dedicated to preventing gun violence through safe storage. Leslie has close ties to the Puyallup Tribe, through work and friendship, and supports the tribe in its work to achieve Justice for Jackie.

Dr. Marie Johantgen: Marie is a woman who has spent her career as a board-certified obstetrician gynecologist and has been in clinical practice for over 20 years taking care of women with compassion and skill. In 2009, she started the local chapter of Dining for Women, an organization which women meet each month, have a potluck dinner together, learn about international health issues that affect girls and women, and raise money to help grassroots secular organizations in developing countries. Throughout her career, she has gone on multiple trips to developing countries to offer gynecologic care to women who would otherwise not have any.

Malika Lamont: Malika is the Opioid Response program manager for CHOICE Regional Health Network. Throughout her career, she has worked with vulnerable populations to increase health and improve social conditions. She has worked for 19 years to address social determinants of health, including substance use disorder, mental health issues, poverty and homelessness. She began as a licensed adolescent counselor and family care coordinator for Pierce County Alliance and Catholic Community Services in Tacoma. She was then recruited by the Washington Initiative for Supported Employment to do planning for people with developmental disabilities as a personal agent and she started her own consulting business to improve education for youth with disabilities.

Merrill Angela Williams: Merrill is a fierce advocate for social justice. She is involved in multiple community organizations including Full Circle United an Black Lives Matter. Merrill survived an abusive relationship, drug addiction and homelessness. She has chosen to share her story of recovery in many spaces in order to give hope to other women in abusive relationships or struggling with addiction. She has worked in a homeless shelter where she supported many people whose lives mirrored her own when she was struggling to get back on her feet.

Learn more about these amazing women at:

A Passion For The Past And The Future: Olympia Tumwater Foundation

Between scholarships, grants, nature preservations and historical sites, Olympia Tumwater Foundation works to fuel others’ passions along with its own.

Founded in 1950 by Peter G. Schmidt Sr., longtime president of the Olympia Brewing Company, the foundation has spread its fortunes in multiple areas of Thurston County. Through a wide range of community projects, it has definitely benefited countless people in the area in some way, and continues to do so.

One of the historical programs it runs is the Schmidt House, built in 1904 for the brewery founder Leopold Schmidt and his wife Johanna. The foundation obtained the house in 1983 and has restored it to its former glory. The gorgeous rose garden is maintained by the Olympia Rose Society. The property is used for the public history programs organized by the foundation’s public history manager, along with a limited number of weddings and other special events.

The most ambitious undertaking by the Olympia Tumwater Foundation, according to its website, was construction in 1962 of Tumwater Falls Park. Right on the Deschutes River, the falls has been enjoyed by locals and tourists for decades. Features of the park include walking trails, footbridges, reflective pools, and, of course, waterfalls. The park is open to the public daily free of charge, and tours are available.

The Olympia Tumwater Foundation also offers a significant education program. Since 1967 it has awarded nearly $2 million in scholarships and grants, helping hundreds of students. The awards include traditional and nontraditional scholarships plus early learning grants.

For more information about the foundation and its education awards, Schmidt House and Tumwater Falls Park, along with the foundation blog, visit


Hands On Summer Splash Gala

Four hundred movers and shakers attended the Hands on Children’s Museum Summer Splash Gala. The event had an expanded footprint this year out to the East Bay Plaza where guests dined streamside and enjoyed foodie stations from restaurants including Anthony’s, Ramblin’ Jack’s, Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel, Anthony’s Hearthfire Grill, Taylor Shellfish Farms, and Little Creek Casino & Resort. In the museum, guests dined on goodies from Budd Bay Café and Elyse’s and sipped on a signature cocktail from Dillinger’s Cocktails & Kitchen.

Gala guests stayed busy all night with activities around the museum and Outdoor Discovery Center including body painting, silk screening, photos in the photo booth, decorating tree “cookies” and sampling liquid nitrogen ice cream.

The event raised $235,000 in support of the Museum’s free and reduced admission program and will support the build of a new treehouse exhibit in the Outdoor Discovery Center.

Zoobilee Castaway 2017

This year’s Zoobilee Castaway provided guests the opportunity to be on their own island complete with hula performances, fire dancers, exquisite appetizers and sips from local restaurants and breweries.

Over $300,000 was raised in support of the conservation engagement work of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in education and interpretive programs, animal health and welfare, and conservation action and advocacy

Music Spans Generations And Builds Community

Music can evoke powerful emotions. It might make you dance with joy, shed tears of sorrow, feel comforted in difficult times or sing out loud (and maybe off-key). Above all, music can bring people together and can cultivate a sense of connection and community.

In Tacoma, the Community Music department at the University of Puget Sound fosters connection through music in its robust, year-round private and group sessions set on a musically vibrant college campus. “We have something for everyone,” says Kristen Murphy, director of Community Music. More than 20 instruments are taught, in addition to voice, musical theater, Kindermusik and an infant program. No wonder the students range in age from newborn to octogenarian.

“Some of our students are studying music as a career, either to become a professional performer or an educator,” explains Murphy. “Others are returning to it for personal enrichment or already know an instrument and want to become skilled with another. Many of the youngest students are in their first classroom settings and forge friendships that carry them into their school years.”

The diversity of Community Music’s students parallels that of the faculty. Nearly 50 local performing artists, public and private school music teachers, and UPS students, academic faculty and alumni make up the group. Murphy describes the program’s exceptional instructors as some of the best players and teachers in the area.

“It’s wonderful to walk into our building and hear music all around you,” says Murphy. But even better, she says, is that the talents of these aspiring and established musicians are carried back into the community to strengthen local groups—from orchestras to school bands to church choirs. “It’s a really nice, symbiotic relationship.”

Community Music welcomes students of all ages and all skill levels. Motivation and interest are the only entrance requirements.


For additional information:
Community Music University of Puget Sound
1500 North Warner St, Tacoma

OBEE “Brewpub” Branch in Tenino

The Olympia Brewery may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of banking, but O Bee Credit Union wants to change that. A leader in providing innovative financial solutions for more than 60 years, O Bee announced today the opening of their newest branch is a unique blend of brewpub and financial service center in Tenino.

O Bee’s rich history as the original credit union of the Olympia Brewery is reflected in the interior of the new building. It features a brewpub aesthetic including repurposed wood, a transaction bar accented with brass rails and local beer taps, chalkboard signage and a beautiful arched ceiling highlighted with color-changing LED lights.  Historic photos of Tenino and the Olympia Brewery are displayed throughout the new branch. Our brewery history has always been part of our culture, but this building absolutely embraces our roots. “The pub atmosphere is reminiscent of the brewery tasting room where the community met and workers gathered after the end of a shift”, said James Collins, CEO. The new building offers additional services to the people of Tenino such as a drive-thru window, new ATM, and safety deposit boxes as well as Bernstein Bears Cub Accounts, an innovative rewards points program and competitive loan rates.

O Bee Credit Union will host a community-wide grand opening celebration on Saturday, November 4 from 1 pm to 4p m. The new building is located a 149 Sussex Avenue in Tenino.



Corks & Crush

East Pierce County celebrated with 420 of the region’s community minded movers and shakers. The event was emceed by Chris Egan, sports anchor and reporter for King 5 News, and brother Mike Egan, director at Microsoft. Attendees noshed on delicacies provided by X Group Catering and featured wines from Woodinville, Walla Walla, Oregon and Italy.

The evening’s proceeds were totaled $635,000. $250,000 was raised during “Fund a Need” for the benefit of Mary Bridge Children’s Therapy Unit at Good Samaritan Hospital. The balance of funding supports programs and services at Good Samaritan Hospital.


Taking The World By Storm

Storm Large has been taking the nation by storm with her singing talent and rock and jazz musical infusions since 1989. Yet most people may not have known about her until 2006 when she was a contestant on the CBS reality television show Rock Star: Supernova. On Friday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m., she will take the Federal Way Performing Arts and Events Center by storm.

A native of Southborough, Massachusetts, Large has an extensive musical history that’s taken her all across the United States. Now with eight studio albums and a long list of touring experiences, she’s a master of her craft and of performing. And she’s more than a singer. She’s an actor, musician and author too. She has worked on musicals, one specifically to be performed at the Public Theater in New York City, and her rock performances are examples of her acting talents.

Near the beginning of her musical career, Large moved to Portland, Oregon, with a new career in mind as a chef. But music wasn’t going to let her go so easily. Not long after her move she was singing again, this time in her band. Many saw her in 2010 performing with the Oregon Symphony, and she’s sold out shows multiple times since then.

After performing at Carnegie Hall in 2013, The New York Times called her “sensational.” From her long resume, it looks as if she never takes a break, as if her creative juices are constantly flowing. That’s more than likely true, and even more likely is that no one is complaining.

Her latest album Le Bonheur is like an ode to love itself. Storm Large seems to have found a niche in subject matter that her fans can’t get enough of. Her performance this Dec. 1 in Federal Way will no doubt be exhilarating and moving. Try not to miss it. For ticket information, visit