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Citizen of the Week John Good: Nurturing the arts in Snoqualmie

Local art lines the walls of Koko Beans coffeehouse, owned by Snoqualmie Arts Commissioner John Good. He plans to feature wood carvers at his shop during Railroad Days this summer. - Denise Miller / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Local art lines the walls of Koko Beans coffeehouse, owned by Snoqualmie Arts Commissioner John Good. He plans to feature wood carvers at his shop during Railroad Days this summer.
— image credit: Denise Miller / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Snoqualmie Arts Commission Chair John Good is working to infuse the city with culture, and give local artists opportunities to shine.

“We have a lot of artists, a lot of people who have really strong talent, but they don’t have a lot of avenues in which to put it out there,” he said.

His vision for Snoqualmie includes involving businesses in a regular citywide “music walk,” where “you could walk the street and hear folk in one place, spoken word in another, a string quartet.”

A percussionist who’s “always doing something rhythmic,” even if it’s tapping on the table, Good has a healthy appreciation for the value of music to those who play it and those who just listen.

“Music is not only great to listen to and provides mental stimulation, but it also soothes stress, especially right now when times are getting so tough for people. Gas prices are on their way to — who knows where they’re going. Those types of music events, where you can just kick back and let the stress go — those are the kinds of things that people need.”

Good’s passion for the visual arts is evident upon entering Koko Beans, the coffeehouse he owns on Railroad Avenue in historic Snoqualmie. Bright photos and paintings by area artists line the walls, and Good charges no commission for their exhibition.

“I don’t believe that I should get a cut of a sale simply because I’m providing wall space. If I get someone coming in and buying coffee, that’s great for me. And (the artists) get exposure,” he said.

Good said he’d like to help organize a regular “art walk” like the one held in Issaquah, which draws enthusiastic crowds to the streets.

He also sees an opportunity for Snoqualmie’s Railroad Days to incorporate more local culture into its programming; he wants to get beyond karaoke, sidewalk vendors and carnival food.

“I see the potential for so much more culturally and artistically. If we can encourage people to come out and share ideas, we might be able to build that event to something that more people from all around will be excited to come to and learn about the community.”

During Railroad Days, Good plans to work with North Bend’s Spotted Owl Gallery to feature wood carvers at Koko Beans.

“We’ll set up some areas where they’ll be whittling away” for the curious to watch, he said.

He also hopes to incorporate local Native American culture into Railroad Days, scheduled for August 1 to 3 this year.

“It would be a really nice avenue to promote that side of the city, which I don’t think we get a lot of opportunity to do.”

The Arts Commission, which recently submitted its recommendations to the City Council for art to be placed in the new City Hall, is driven by a half dozen volunteers. They meet the third Wednesday of every month at the Planning Department, located at 38767 S.E. River St. Residents are welcome to attend.

“There’s only so much we as a small commission can do, so any public input we can get is great,” Good said.

Residents can also e-mail ideas for the Snoqualmie Arts Commission to Good at kokobeanscoffee@hotmail.com.

• Do you know Valley residents who deserve recognition for their good work? Nominate them for Citizen of the Week, an award co-sponsored by the Valley Record and Replicator Graphics. Send your ideas to editor@valleyrecord.com, or call (425) 888-2311.

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