Sunday, I turned my phone off for a few hours as I embarked into the mountains for a ski. When I got back home and in range and turned it back on, a parade of texts marched in like a battalion on the front lines — 21 text messages. Most of the messages didn’t require any follow-up. However, one text came from fellow Winthrop columnist, Ashley Lodato, who tipped me off to a new holiday mural that sprang up on Glover Street over the weekend.
Located on the Methow Arts building, an inset panel formerly made of pink plywood is now home to a jolly old elf. The owner of Print Made Apparel and Pinetooth Press, Brian Putnam, wanted to liven up the space for the holidays and asked one of his employees to come up with something. And something it is.
The apelike Saint Nick, who I like to call Santa-sqautch, offers a toast of good cheer as he affectionally sits amidst the wild animals of the north. Nearby the wasps of Twisp buzz about. The artwork was designed and painted by Jess Newlin, a graphic artist and production assistant at Print Made, who occupies and owns the building. The mural is big and bold, cheerful and fun.
The print shop is a hometown success. Putnam grew up here in the valley and returned after he finished his fine arts degree in printmaking from the University of Oregon. The business now employs four full-time people and according to Jess, they are busy this season despite the initial hit from COVID-19 that halted many sports apparel orders. Small businesses are keeping Print Made going as orders for custom shirts and hats keep coming in. Kudos to the team at Print Made Apparel for their success and thank you for the cheerful holiday mural to brighten the seasonal spirit.
Brightening is what we need through this troubling time. This is the week we normally gather at the Community Center for Cascadia’s Holiday Concert. It’s the week the Methow Valley Elementary School students typically sing traditional holiday songs and we get to giggle as the darling kindergarten kids try to remember how many “Snowmen in a Row.” It’s normally the week of many company Christmas parties. Mistletoe Madness was ready to adapt, only to be canceled. And it’s the week Okanogan County Fire District 6 usually collects food from front doors. Santa didn’t have breakfast at the grange this year to hear the wishes of the wide-eyed children.
Like everything in 2020, adaptations can turn into new traditions and many of these events and activities are available in a virtual format. The Valley Goods store at TwispWorks is worth a visit as new homemade products keep stocking the shelves. Cascadia hosted its 34th Holiday Concert online Dec. 12 and 13 and broadcast it over KTRT. You can listen online to familiar songs and faces at www.cascadiamusic.org. The filming is topnotch, and the sound is tight so enjoy the concert with your loved ones with a warm mug and cozy up for an hour of holiday songs.
Despite not being able to see Santa in person, children can still write letters to the North Pole. Santa Claus can’t spread the coronavirus because he’s magic, so the report from the World Health Organization is that he will be making his flight as normal. Given the recent foggy nights, it looks like Rudolph might be out this year as well. The official address for Santa Claus is SANTA CLAUS, 123 ELF ROAD, NORTH POLE, 88888.