The Arts Scene: ‘ICONS’: Water works

YAKIMA, Wash. -- One of the mottos that has been used to describe the history of Yakima is, “Just add water.” Our shrub-steppe desert terrain literally came alive for agricultural products with the advent of irrigation.

This interplay of water, landscape and industry is the theme of a new installation at Yakima Maker Space created by artist Thomas Botkin.

An installation is different than other types of gallery exhibits where a curator organizes and hangs the show. For an installation, the artist is creating the work right in the gallery. Botkin started Dec. 1 and finished Friday.

“ICONS” is a reflection on the primary industries of the Yakima Valley and their dependent relationships to water and landscapes. Through his own interpretation, the artist provides the foundation where the spectator is encouraged to reflect on the abundance of Washington’s Central Valley and how the distribution of water shapes the very environment where we live, love and work.

Through his work, he asks the question, “How will our interests be served by the choices we make?”

Botkin’s work also examines the utilitarian beauty of the ubiquitous apple bins of Washington’s Central Valleys and their impact on the landscape and culture of the Valley.

He says of his interest, “As a sculptor, the ubiquity of the apple bin as an object rapidly became apparent. From the middle of town to its edges and into the orchards, the apple bin was everywhere in use, filled with varieties not only of various apples but of apricots, plums, peaches, grapes and more.”

Botkin has bachelor’s and master of fine arts degrees in sculpture from Portland State University.

“ICONS” will be on display through Dec. 31. Yakima Maker Space is at 16 S. First St. in Yakima. Public gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays or by appointment.

• David Lynx is the executive director of the Larson Gallery on the campus of Yakima Valley College. Learn more at

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