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Renton Municipal Arts Commission Honors Barbara Nilson with Bravo Award

November 4, 2008

For more information contact:

Jennifer Davis Hayes, Community Development Project Manager, 425-430-6589
Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director, 425-430-6569

Renton-The Renton Municipal Arts Commission presented the prestigious Bravo Award to Barbara Nilson on Monday, November 3, 2008, in a special presentation at the Renton City Council meeting.

The Renton Municipal Arts Commission presents the Bravo Award to recognize individuals who have made arts and culture a vital part of the Renton community. Barbara Nilson was nominated by the Allied Arts of Renton board to acknowledge her commitment to the arts, heritage and cultural communities in Renton and beyond.  She has served as a member of the Allied Arts board since 1981, leading fundraising efforts to support local arts performances, publishing the new brochure and bi-annual-award winning newsletter, and spearheading the growth of the Chalk Art Festival as part of Renton River Days, which she supports financially by funding the People’s Choice Award.  She works tirelessly to enhance Allied Arts activities in the community, including organizing local student musicians to perform alongside the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra, an annual performance in Renton hosted by Allied Arts.

Barbara was a fervent supporter of the fund-raising drive to build the IKEA Performing Arts Center and continues to support it, both with her attendance at productions and through direct contributions.  Most recently she helped promote the annual Downtown Renton Art & Antique Walk. 
Barbara taught English and Journalism at Franklin High School in Seattle for 20 years.   Her students included former Governor Gary Locke and renowned performer Kenny G, who still remember her fondly as an outstanding teacher.  When she moved to Renton in 1981, she was Youth Projects Director for the National Federation of Press Women.  Her task was to promote student journalists and conduct contests to reward their talents.  At that time there were no journalism programs in the three Renton high schools.  When three bright students at Lindbergh High were expelled for producing an underground newspaper, she successfully reversed that decision, thus enabling the young students to continue their efforts.
Barbara continues to pursue and support her personal interest in the arts and journalism.  Her beautiful home is full of works of art, much of it purchased from local artists.   She is also the published author of several books focusing on local history.  For one book she spent hours interviewing World War II veterans who now reside in the Maple Valley area and then wrote a book so that their memories would be captured in print.  She is currently helping create a book to celebrate Renton High School’s 100-year anniversary.

For more information about the Renton Municipal Arts Commission and the Bravo Award, visit