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Student news of Olympia High School

The Olympus

Student news of Olympia High School

The Olympus

The Procession of the Species; 20 years in the making

The Procession of the species brings together environmentalism and excitement. Its the symbol of Olympias artistic community.
Aricin Clausen
The Procession of the species brings together environmentalism and excitement. It’s the symbol of Olympia’s artistic community.

The Procession of the Species has long been a symbol of Olympia culture and community artistic spirit and, after a five-year hiatus, the beloved event has returned as part of Spring Art’s Walk.

The Procession started in 1995 when a group of local friends decided to create a new community event focused on dance music and art. A few years later, the non-profit known as Earthbound Productions helped it get on its feet. With dozens of Volunteers, school groups, and local business sponsors, the procession has run for over two decades.

What makes the Procession truly special is its message of environmental preservation and consciousness—promoting the idea that humans need to find more ways to help endangered species and have a positive impact. “We have this whole thing with climate change and these attitudes of people saying they don’t care…we need to have acceptance, appreciation, and understanding for the environment and each other,” said Elie Sterling, Founding Director of Earthbound Productions.

To maintain their eco-friendly mission, “we try and use as many recycled materials as possible, so the only thing we have purchased is the pink die for color and the special PVC pipes,” said Michelle Sever, an artist who is working with Reeves Middle School to make an axolotl float for the Procession.

In theme with the goal of environment protection, many materials are donated by the community to be reused and recycled. Whether or not the donated items are trash or new art supplies, artists find new uses for them. “People come in and drop off random stuff, so part of the fun is going into our donation room and going ‘Oh, this is an old rake, I can make something out of this,” explained Sever.

The Procession is not only about the environmental message it portrays but also its important position in the artistic customs of Olympia. Community events, like the Procession, create opportunities for connection and collaboration. “My dream is to have no spectators, where everyone is part of the Procession and has made something for it,” Whitehouse stated.

The City of Olympia has helped the Procession’s return by hosting the art studio and storage space needed in the Armory Creative Campus. This partnership, while generally considered a positive development for the Procession, removes some of the indie freedom from the production. “The city has a lot of odd rules that we didn’t use to have… In the past, we would work into the wee hours if we needed to, but now we need to be out at a certain time and in at a certain time. However, it’s far more stable.” said Daniel Whitehouse, a long-time returning artist of the procession.

One of the biggest highlights of being part of the Procession is working with all the different people involved, whether they’re passionate returning artists or new participants, “…seeing somebody come in, not thinking they’re an artist, yet 4 hours later they have created something amazing,” remembers Sever

The Procession of the Species has become an institution within Olympia for its significant role in the culture and artistic expression of the community. It remains to be seen how the procession could change or evolve, but the future for public community art events looks bright.

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Aricin Clausen
Aricin Clausen, Journalist
Aricin Clausen is a freshman on the OHS Boys' Tennis team. He enjoys reading books in his free time and decided to join The Olympus because of his interest in writing and desire to expand his writing skills.

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