2023 Tukwila's Art Banners

Tukwila Parks and Recreation is thrilled to present the pilot program “Tukwila’s Art Banners,” an opportunity to raise awareness of Tukwila’s diverse population, landscape, and history while showcasing resident artists. Through temporary art banners, the artwork brings vibrancy and color to Tukwila’s International Boulevard, the Tukwila Community Center, and the Foster Golf Links.

Enjoy this online gallery of the Banners. Please read below to learn more about the artists, their stories, and the meanings behind the Art. 

Artist: Carolyn Bing
Name of Art: Bad Rabbit #1
About the Art: I call this painting ‘Tukwila Bad Rabbit #1’. I live in Tukwila, and we have rabbits in our yard. They torment my dogs by just sitting outside the fence. They are cute, evil, brown, furry garden enemies. My painting depicts a friendly dog walker holding back her excited dog, who thinks he should be allowed to chase the rabbit. The Duwamish River and the Cascades are behind the walker, and she just walked past a hazelnut tree. A border of salmon swimming wraps around the entire painting because we all must work together to bring salmon back to the Duwamish River.

Artist: Ruef Kapetanovic
Name of Art: Watercolor Leaves
About the Art: I painted the leaves in my backyard. I started painting in Tukwila Community Center after I retired with a group of friends; I still paint there every Thursday morning.

Artist: Laila Mckinley
Studio/Contact/Website: lailamckinley.com
Name of Art: Washington in Bloom
About the Art: “Washington in Bloom” is a hand-cut, hand-glued collage featuring a vintage National Geographic map of Washington state and Mount Rainier from a 1960s park visitor guide. The flowers and fungi are from various magazine cutouts. On a clear day, I can see Rainier from my Tukwila abode. “Washington in Bloom” provides a romantic and full glimpse of Washington in its summer peak.

Artist: Malena Moore
Name of Art: Cherry Blossoms
About the Art: I am a passionate 22-year-old Tukwila Artist. Most of my Art doesn’t have meaning behind it, but all my Art is created with love and passion. This painting took me about 12 hours altogether to create. Cherry blossoms can be so peaceful and calming when you look at them.

Artist: Khoi Nguyen Phan
About the Art: It’s a relatively simple art piece. A river runs through the forest under the skies, with the Space Needle in the back. It relates to the nature of Tukwila, and the river resembles the Duwamish River in Tukwila.

Artist: Akeela Olebar-dowers
About the Art: I’m Akeela Olebar; I grew up in Tukwila. I went to Cascade View, Showalter, and Foster and worked at the Tukwila Community Center. I love Tukwila. It has always been home more than anywhere else. My Art is the way I speak; I could be better with my words or knowing what to say, but give me an art project or let me lead an art project, and I’ll always have something in mind. My Art almost always has an Indigenous touch because I am Kyuquot and Inuit Native from Canada and Alaska. My painting honors the Indigenous history of the Duwamish who canoed on the Duwamish River. It celebrates the coast Salish people that lived on this land and canoed through the river. The eagles are overhead, watching over the land and people.

Artist: Richard Penttila
Name of Art: 777X Over the Interurban Bridge.
About the Art: If you live in Tukwila, you can see some fantastic planes, nature, and sunrises. I like this bridge because it’s where the Green & Black Rivers meet up to create the Duwamish. The sunrises from here are fantastic; I often see the 777X from my house as it flies into the King County Airport. It reminds me of all the hard work many folks in the area have put in.
I’ve lived in this area most of my life and like to create Art in my spare time. If you don’t see me outside and I’m not fixing up the yard, feeding chickens, or playing with the kiddo and dog, I’m most likely creating Art.

Artist: Ben Richards
About the Art: I implemented the fact that several roads that stretch throughout the country converge in Tukwila. I also added hazelnuts and a hazelnut tree because that is essentially what the city’s name means.

Artist: Saniya Sayaseng
I am a Sophomore at Foster High School. Although I was raised in Tukwila for most of my life (Asian American), I am a daughter of refugees. I am half Lao and half Mien. But growing up, I couldn’t learn about my cultural as much as I would’ve liked. Being the first generation, I was forced to adapt to the American culture to pursue a better life— a life my parents aspired to have but couldn’t obtain. This meant that they attempted to implement things such as speaking English only to me in the household and investing in American holidays rather than ethnically-based holidays. Because of this, I, too, believed that I had to sort of whitewash myself to become successful. At times, I’d get criticized for how my eyes looked or the food I ate at school. This further amplified my reason to stray from my cultural background and become ashamed of my identity. But when I got that insight, hearing my grandmother’s stories about raising seven kids in Thailand, my dad’s journey as a monk in Laos, and both my mother and grandmother’s cooking made me see how beautiful my ethnicities were.
I used watercolor and ink to create this piece. My interpretation of this painting highlights the Asian artists’ here in Tukwila, as I come from an Asian heritage.
Growing up, although I was praised for my artistry, I could never use it as leverage for a career. I and many other Asian identities— as well as individuals with immigrant families— residing in Tukwila are put into this expectation of having Art as a hobby and keeping it hidden by our family members. This bright, bold, and colorful painting represents our artistry flourishing despite that. The insects on the face not only represent summer here but summer back in our ethnic countries back in our ethnic countries as well, paying homage to our identities.
Although my journey with identity was rough, I am proud to proclaim my identity and acknowledge its beauty!

Artist: Par Tial
About the Art: Tukwila is a warm and tight community with a population of over 20,000 people, and every one is distinct and one of a kind. What amazes me the most is how everyone in this place has their unique stories to tell, the different languages they speak, and how they come from various backgrounds. We each know what summer means in Tukwila, and everyone has their ways of celebrating it. From visiting lakes and beaches, passing our great Duwamish River, late-night BBQs and potlucks, hiking around our green trees, or even resting at home with family and friends, we all go through one summer together each year. People come together to enjoy summer uniquely in Tukwila. The diversity in how we celebrate it makes Tukwila stand out, and that’s what I wanted my Art to represent.

For questions, comments or to reach an artist email Olena Perry olena.perry@tukwilawa.gov