Photo by Shane Harms
Marines with Victor Odermat (middle right) and Randy Engstrom(middle left) in front of the mural.

Marine Week kicked off with Marine Mural Unveiling at Brown Bear Car Wash

The commencement of Marine Week Seattle was celebrated with the unveiling of a mural on July 24 at Brown Bear Car Wash (1800 15th Ave. W.).

Five artists of the Marine Corps Mural Team painted the mural, which is approximately 100 feet across. The mural is inspired by the connection between community, country and the Corps.

According to the Corps, each Marine Week Mural is specialized to its host city. This year’s mural is a gift on behalf of the Marine Corps to the citizens of Seattle for their support during Marine Week.

The ceremony featured Randy Engstrom, Director of the Office of Arts and Culture, as the guest speaker. In addition, Victor Odermat, owner of Brown Bear Carwash, who donated the space for the mural, was in attendance. Sherwin Williams donated gallons of paint used to craft the mural.

Engstrom remarked that coincidently, his first job was working at a car wash.

“I’m honored to be accepting this gift on behalf of the City of Seattle, and as Director of the Office of Arts and Culture, I’m pleased wherever and whenever we are able to expand arts into new areas of our city,” said Engstrom.

Egstrom reported that since its 1971 inception, the Office of Arts and Culture has invested over $50 million in grants and program funds for artists and cultural programs

“Our mission is to activate and sustain Seattle through arts and culture and we envision a city driven by creativity that provides arts opportunities for everybody to engage and diversify our experiences. “

“ I’m pleased with the marines representing our country with distinction, and as exemplary leaders they have been employing artists as part of their practice for over 70 years, and I’m thrilled that they have left a piece of their work here in Seattle. It is my great honor to accept this piece on behalf of the City of Seattle. Thank you for honoring our great city in this way.”

The Corps asked Victor Oderma, a former marine who served his country for seven years, if he had a location for the mural.

“The lessons I learned in the Marine Corps – courage, commitment, discipline, honor – burn brightly for me and they have had a very positive influence on my life and the company. When I was asked if we have space to have this mural painted, it was a request I could not refuse. “

Oderma, a resident of Bellevue, started his first carwash in 1957 at the Interbay location. The station was first all hand wash but changed to an automated car wash in 1962. Now with over 40 car washes, Oderma, said he has no plans of retiring soon, which means he will be keeping an eye on the mural.

“I hope as long as this mural is up -- and I hope its up for along time -- that people will realize that freedom is not free and that we owe a debt of gratitude to all who have served and who are now serving our country.”

The ceremony is the first of many collaborated events resulting from the United States Marine Corps partnering with the annual Seafair Festival and the City of Seattle to bring Marine Week 2014 to Seattle.

Marine Week is a celebration of community, country and the Corps, and provides face-to-face interaction to connect the American public and Marines.

More than 500 Marines will be in Seattle from July 26 to Aug. 3, working hand and hand with Seattle communities. Citizens will have an opportunity to learn about the Corps and their technological capabilities during Seafair. New ground vehicles, aircrafts and other equipment will be on display. In addition the Marines will be helping citizens with service projects, including park restorations and neighborhood cleanups. The week will come to a head with a simulated combat demonstration at Stan Sayers Park.

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