Documenting downtown Bremerton’s 21st century surgery
July 20, 2009 · Updated 10:49 AM
Local painter, gallery owner Amy Burnett has been dabbling in a new medium.
Amy Burnett is one of the most well-known figures in Kitsap’s art community. Her gallery is at the cornerstone of Bremerton’s central fine arts district.
She was one of the leaders in designating the area as such more than a decade ago.
While the iconic Bremerton artist is probably most well-known for her wildly colored rural-themed paintings, symbolic of her country-meets-metropolis surroundings, over the past few years, Burnett has been quietly creating a different kind of art amidst, and featuring, those same surroundings — short film.
Her half-hour films air every Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Bremerton Kitsap Access Television. This week features “Signs of the Times” while “Downtown Bremerton” will show July 25.
“No one knows quite where to put me with these films,” Burnett said.
She knows her films aren’t exactly pro-quality. Raw footage, sans tripod, edited with technological minimalism — the films carry the air of old home movies. Yet Burnett still shoots with her 90s-era VHS camera and won’t carry around a tripod.
“I’m a compositionalist,” she said. “It’s the composition that I’m after. I always think of what people might want to know, what people might find interesting.”
She’s got footage of everything from local artists and musicians to the downtown Bremerton WAMU sign being changed over to read Chase.
Her films, similar to her paintings, are borderline abstraction. But the composition she’s capturing, albeit a bit cryptically, is that of the city that surrounds her.
“I started doing these because I’m the only one that could’ve done them,” she said. “When my building shakes, I run and get my camera and I go see what’s happening.”
She filmed the demolition of the old Sinclair building in 2008, as well as the more recent construction of the downtown Bremerton tunnel and memorial parkway and the new city hall going up amidst the menagerie of happenings throughout the downtown core.
“The first one I did, ‘Trucks and More Trucks,’ is so bad that any sane person would’ve put a paper bag over their head and left town,” Burnett said. “But I kept on filming and learning.”
And, while she’s still not sure what to do with all the film, through the learning process, Burnett has inadvertently documented downtown Bremerton’s early 21st century surgery.
“In a hundred years, someone is going to pull these out of a vault and say ‘wow,’ ” Burnett’s editor Rick Foxworth said. “In essence, she’s really a Bremerton historian.”
Burnett's Films Air at 6:30 p.m. every Saturday on Bremerton Kitsap Access Television — Comcast cable channel 12 in Bremerton and Poulsbo, WaveCable channel 3 in Port Orchard and Silverdale. Info: www.bkat.org.