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Tsutakawa Family Profiled on KUOW

Tsutakawa family picture at Japanese Community Cultural Center of Washington (JCCCW) Award luncheon. Left to right: Paula (wife of Marcus), Jean (wife of Deems), Deems, Mayumi, Marcus, Ayame, Gerard, and Judy (wife of Gerard) Tsutakawa. Photo by JCCCW

by Bruce Rutledge,

The Tsutakawa family’s vast contribution to the Seattle art scene was the subject of several radio pieces aired last week on KUOW, the local National Public Radio affiliate.

Reporter Marcie Sillman interviewed all four of George and Ayame Tsutakawa’s children about their various contributions to the arts. KUOW also created a searchable map for its website that showed the location of the many fountains father George Tsutakawa made during his life. In all, he created more than 70 fountains around the region.

The NPR pieces remind us of just how much this one family has done for arts in Seattle. Brother Gerry followed in his father’s footsteps as an artist, but carved out his own more playful style, best represented by The Mitt at Safeco Field.

Sister Mayumi has spent her career opening doors to artists of color as an activist and advocate.

Brother Marcus built Garfield High School’s orchestra into one of the best in the country, starting with just 10 or 15 students. Today, more than a hundred try out annually for a spot in the prestigious orchestra.

And last but not least, our very own Deems, a long-time columnist for this paper and an accomplished jazz musician, talked about his career in music and how his mom used to wake them up by playing the koto.

Audio recordings of interviews with all the Tsutakawa children and the map of George’s artwork can be found at KUOW’s website.