Tacoma’s own Lynn Di Nino is one of the 2017 Governor’s Arts & Heritage Award recipients. Di Nino was raised in the cotton belt of New Mexico by a single mother of five who worked as a waitress. From an early age Lynn collected throw-aways in order to create her shoes, wearables and art projects. These activities were her emotional lifeblood. College was not an option.
She became a full-time artist following a recession lay-off at Seattle Mental Health in 1973 where she worked as a recreational therapist. Her involvement with Friends of the Rag, the original wearable art collective circa 1970, led her first to “soft sculpture” then to hard sculpture using cement, wood, fiber, welded steel and her original love: household items.
A freelance artist since 1974, Di Nino is self-taught and has been completely self-supporting through private commissions, shows and gallery sales. Her sculptural work stems from news stories, usually involving social or political observation. For Di Nino, the excitement comes in selecting the right materials: maybe concrete, household objects, plastic, shredded newspaper, coffee beans – whatever will express her story in a clever way. She sometimes combines a sober idea with humor for impact. Di Nino also has a long history of creating in four dimensions: the usual three plus working with large groups of artists and presenting performance in real time, involving ideas, costumes, singers, props, actors, dancers, music, lights, and spoken word.
The Awards were established in 1966 to recognize individuals and artists for their significant contributions to the creative vitality of Washington State. Since inception of the program, 153 individuals and organizations have received Arts Awards, and 53 individuals and organizations have been honored with a Heritage Award.
To be eligible for either Arts or Heritage Awards, individuals or organizations must be current Washington residents or have resided in the state during the time the contributions were made, and not be a previous recipient of a Governor’s Arts Award or Heritage Award. Self-nominations and posthumous nominations are accepted.
Other recipients of the award are the Seattle Art Museum, Peter Christenson, Terrance Shaw, Living Voices, and Deva Leinani Aiko Yamashiro.
Honorees will be acknowledged at an awards dinner Nov. 14 at the Museum of Glass. (Tickets at: 2017gaha.brownpapertickets.com.) For more information, visit arts.wa.gov/arts-in-communities/governors-arts-and-heritage-awards.