Arts and Entertainment

Coupeville’s Purdue honored for artwork

Coupeville artist Roger Purdue receives a button blanket and cedar hat from representatives of the Samish Tribal Nation. Purdue has spent more than 20 years designing the logo for the Penn Cove Water Festival.  - Nathan Whalen / The Record
Coupeville artist Roger Purdue receives a button blanket and cedar hat from representatives of the Samish Tribal Nation. Purdue has spent more than 20 years designing the logo for the Penn Cove Water Festival.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen / The Record

A longtime Coupeville artist and educator was honored for his work with the Penn Cove Water Festival.

Roger Purdue, a woodworker who for decades has designed the logo for the annual event, was honored for his artwork. Dozens of people, including several representatives from the Samish Indian Nation, attended an event to unveil the latest logo for the Water Festival, which takes place May 18.

During the unveiling, Purdue received several gifts from the Samish Indian Nation, which is based in Anacortes. He received a cedar hat decorated with an eagle’s feather and a button blanket, both of which were made by members of the Samish Nation.

“I’m at a loss for words. Thank you, thank you,” Purdue said while Rosie Cayou, Samish Indian Nation cultural development coordinator, wrapped the blanket around Purdue and placed the hat on his head. The blanket was made by Diana and Pat Dunn, also members of the Samish Tribal Nation.

Purdue has donated new designs for the Penn Cove Water Festival for more than 20 years. Each logo placed on posters and T-shirts promoting the festival stays within the Native American tradition the water festival highlights each year.

Canoe racers from tribes across the Puget Sound region and First Nations peoples in Canada descend upon Coupeville to compete in a day-long series of races in Penn Cove. The festival also features Native American dancers, singers, storytellers and foods.

Cayou sang two traditional songs during the image release event. She also touched upon the similarities of Purdue’s family history with hers. They both have roots on Orcas Island.

Purdue also ensured his legacy of Native-American-inspired images will continue to be featured in upcoming festivals. He donated 15 years worth of images.

Susan Berta, Orca Network co-founder and longtime volunteer who helps organize the canoe races, shared how Purdue started designing the images, the first of which was based on a water drop and a canoe, and how they became more elaborate over the years.

“I’m so happy to have come to know you. Your generosity has been amazing,” Berta said.

The day also provided a chance for interested folks to sign up to volunteer to work for the festival. Leaders need help to organize the big event held in two areas of Coupeville.

Community Events, April 2014

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