Ex-Walla Walla artist’s mural installed in California - Etcetera - 11/5/13


“The Communal Distraction from Evolution,” a 24-by-15-foot mural by former Walla Wallan W.B. “Barry” Fontenot, has been installed at the Federal Bar in downtown Long Beach. Calif.

“The Communal Distraction from Evolution,” a 24-by-15-foot mural by former Walla Wallan W.B. “Barry” Fontenot, has been installed at the Federal Bar in downtown Long Beach. Calif. Long Beach Post photo

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Prolific artist and former Walla Wallan W.B. “Barry” Fontenot’s latest mural is a commentary on problems caused by how pervasive the use of technology is.

His largest work to date, the 24-foot-wide by 15-foot-tall “The Communal Distraction from Evolution,” is permanently installed in the Federal Bar in downtown Long Beach, Calif.

His parents, Bob and Mary Jo Fontenot of Walla Walla, witnessed the recent unveiling of his piece.

“Barry said that this is the first time he was able to paint on the canvas exactly what was in his mind,” Mary Jo said.

A noted photographer of Playboy playmates, Barry told the Long Beach Post that “the piece as a whole highlights the positives and negatives of our communication through social media. The piece breaks down our interactions with digital communication and places it into scenarios.”

The 1995 Walla Walla High School graduate attended Spokane Falls Community College, Seattle Art Institute and Brooks Institute of Photography in California.

He incorporates an artistic, philosophical approach, the article reported. “The mural serves as an art piece, but also, according to the artist, ‘allows for those who view it to find some deeper meaning.’”

Adrift on a blue field of painted wood boards, men in business suits float on puffy white clouds. As a “nod to the mass media,” Barry included one guy fishing a la the DreamWorks logo’s boy perched on the moon fishing among the stars.

“The fishing line is in Morse code that reads ‘time is but a ... ’ and at the end of the line there is a fish that is in binary code. The fish reads ‘string.’ It’s a famous line from Henry David Thoreau’s ‘Walden,’” Barry told the Post.

Although close together, subjects in the work are by turns isolated by such devices as a laptop computer and a cellphone.

His artistic influences come from studying painting and Renaissance art, he said. “I based ‘The Communal Distraction from Evolution’ off of Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgement’ in the Sistine Chapel, and I used some of the same themes and ideas that are featured in Michelangelo’s work.”

The placement of stars in his painting come from a 1541-era star chart that details the placement of stars out the night “The Last Judgement” was debuted.

He told the Post that the Federal Bar is “a perfect fit for the mural, ‘a hip, bohemian place, that’s coming into its own.’” He hopes it will appeal to viewers artistically and aesthetically and inspire reflection.


It was Feb. 23, 1905, when four Chicagoans met to talk about forming a group that could serve the greater community. Attorney Paul Harris met with clients Gustavus H. “Gus” Loehr, a mining engineer, Silvester Schiele, a coal merchant and Hiram E. Shorey, a merchant tailor, and the concept of Rotary was born in Gus’ office.

Members of the Milton-Freewater Rotary Club were quizzed on the development of their international organization during a recent meeting, reported Rotarian Robby Robbins.

By 1912, the first non-U.S. Rotary, No. 35, was chartered on April 13 in Winnipeg, Canada, and by Aug. 1 that year the 50th chapter was established in London.

The club adopted its official gear wheel emblem during the Rotary International convention in Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 18-21, 1913.

Becoming Chapter 3030, Milton-Freewater Rotary was chartered on Jan. 11, 1929, sponsored by the Walla Walla Rotary Club. There were 27 charter members and Dick Monahan was first president.

Chicago Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor, in 1932 wrote the Four-Way Test as a step to help save a business on the verge of bankruptcy. It proved so successful that Rotary adopted it at the 1943 international convention in St. Louis, Mo.

Herbert become international president in 1954-55.

The 2013-14 international president, Ron Burton, is a member of Rotary in Norman, Okla.

The Rotary district conference will be May 15-18 at the Salem Convention Center. District Governor is Sharon Starr, a member of the Lake Oswego Rotary Club.

Next year’s Rotary International Convention will be in Sydney, Australia, June 1-4.


Rowing makes Jenny Lind Schaecher Withycombe’s heart full. For a number of years she’s been competitive in the sport that looks like human water skippers skimming the water at high speed.

In her most recent accomplishment, she placed first in the 27-35-years-old category in a sculling race in Oklahoma City, and with that time ranks third in the nation of all ages in the single scull USRowing Masters National Head Race on the Oklahoma River.

Members of her former Willamette Rowing Club joined Jenny in Boston to finalize her end-of-season participation in the Head of the Charles, billed as the “world’s largest two-day regatta with the toughest competition in the U.S.,” said her dad Mike Schaecher, who lives in Walla Walla with wife Kathy Schaecher.

“I was in the boats that took first out of 25 in the director’s cup mixed quad, seventh out of 36 in the director’s cup mixed double, and 12th out of 45 in the women’s 4-plus. I stroked the quad and 4,” she said.

Jenny and husband Adam Withycombe worked with students in Walla Walla, she at Prospect Point Elementary and he at Pioneer Middle School and Green Park.

They moved to Colorado in July so Jenny could take a position as an instructor of critical sport studies with the University of Colorado Boulder.


What a fitting idea to assist students in need of clothing: In her first year at Garrison Middle School as a counselor, Angie Gardea is bringing “The Closet” idea with her from her prior post at Pioneer Middle School.

She started the program to help the students out. Donations of all sizes of gently used clothing are being accepted.

Any leftover items will be given to such charitable groups as Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul. Smaller sizes will go to Blue Ridge Elementary.

Contributions may be made to the middle school at 906 Chase Ave., or contact Angie at 526-1907 or agardea@wwps.org.


Edison Elementary School students raised more than $5,200 during their annual lunch recess fun run in mid-October. Proceeds from the event go to support Edison PTA projects.

Whitman College cross country teammates helped organize the event and encouraged students as they ran.

Edison Principal Josh Wolcott will now have to sleep in a tent at the school, since the students surpassed their goal to raise $5,000.

Fourth-grader Samantha Miller, who raised more than $1,000, was top pledge collector. She will receive a pair of Brooks running shoes for her efforts, the Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review online newsletter reported.


Emily Ager earned academic honors at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., in the form of a Carleton Social Justice internship. Such internships are awarded to students pursuing unpaid or low-paying summer internships or training programs in organizations promoting social justice. Ager is the daughter of Alan Ager and Vicky Erickson.

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