press release

Press Contact: Christina DePaolo, (206) 263-1588

Estate of Artist Su Job Announces Juan Alonso-Rodríguez and Romson Regarde Bustillo as the Recipients of the 2017 Conductive Garboil Grant


4Culture, Artist Trust, and the Estate of Su Job proudly announce artists Juan Alonso-Rodríguez and Romson Regarde Bustillo as the recipients of the 2017 Conductive Garboil Grant, a yearly, non‐restricted award of $3,000. Usually awarded to just one artist, both Juan and Romson were selected this year to recognize their history of community activism and mentorship, particularly within regional communities of color.

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The grant was developed by Job just before her passing in December 2008 and acknowledges King County artists with a connection to Pioneer Square who have “demonstrated a profound ability to challenge the limits of conductive creative discourse and its effects on our society, pushing the creative act beyond the accepted limits, definitions, or purposes of art while engaging audiences outside the aesthetic industrial complex.”

Job also wanted her grant to recognize artists who “incorporate the creative process into a life practice that diffuses the boundaries between professional activities, social responsibilities, and respect for the people that compose the community we all share.”

The public is invited to celebrate Juan Alonso-Rodríguez and Romson Regarde Bustillo on Wednesday, November 8, 5:00-8:00 pm at The Little London Plane, 322 Occidental Avenue South, in Pioneer Square. Award presentations begin at 6:00 pm.

Related Links

The 2017 Conductive Garboil Grant Recipients

Juan Alonso-Rodríguez arrived in the United States from his native Cuba exactly one month before his tenth birthday. He is a self-taught artist whose transition from music to visual arts coincided with his move to Seattle in 1982.

In addition to being a successful visual artist, Juan is an activist for arts and social justice, and a strong voice for inclusion in the arts. In the 1980s, Juan lobbied the city, county, and state arts commissions to include at least one person of color on selection panels. He created and funded the Artist Trust EDGE Professional Development Latino/a Scholarship. He continues to speak out publicly for more representation and inclusion of Latino and Latina artists. In 2015, he led an online campaign to include more artists of color in survey shows such as Out of Sight, a presentation of local artists held during the first Seattle Art Fair.

Since 2007, Juan has maintained a studio in Pioneer Square, using his own space as a tool to bring awareness to the mission of chosen non-profits. He hosts an annual fundraiser, selling work and collecting donations for organizations like Planned Parenthood, Chicken Soup Brigade, Arts Corps, Northwest Harvest, ACLU, Lambda Legal, and many others.

In 2015, Juan was selected as the Artist in Residence at Town Hall Seattle where he created a lecture/discussion series and CONNECT, an event to introduce artists of different disciplines to each other and to resources such as Space-Finders (studios), Lawyers for the Arts, publications, curators, arts organizations, fabricators, shippers, and consultants.

His work has been exhibited throughout the US, Canada, and Latin America and is included in the permanent collections of the Tacoma Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, Museum of Northwest Art, Microsoft, Swedish & Harborview Hospitals, and General Mills. Juan has created public artworks for CenturyLink Field, Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, King County Housing Authority, Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail, and several schools. His awards include a 2010 Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award, The Neddy Fellowship, PONCHO Artist of the Year, two Artist Trust GAPs, a 4Culture Individual Artist Grant, and a residency at the Centrum Foundation.

Juan currently serves as a Seattle Arts Commissioner and is a member of the Public Art Advisory Committee.

Romson Regarde Bustillo arrived in the United States at the age of nine. He and his family immigrated to Seattle from Cagayan de Oro City, Mindanao Island in the Philippines. He is an interdisciplinary artist working in printmaking, painting, and installation. His work often explores place and context, how objects, found gestures, and visual cues modify, enhance, and/or divert meanings.

In the early years of his development as an artist, Romson maintained a studio in the renowned Pioneer Square artist workspace, the 619 Western Building. While at 619 Western, Romson met Conductive Garboil Grant founder Su Job, learning from her and other mentor artists like Drake Deknatel. In 2002, he moved to New York and later returned to Seattle in 2008.

An active teaching artist, Romson has taught extensively throughout the region at the Seattle Art Museum, Gage Academy, Tacoma Art Museum, Yesler Community Center, Seattle Urban League, Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, Coyote Central, Centrum, Asian Counseling and Referral Services, and many other non-profit and community-based organizations. He has been an artist-in-residence at the James Washington Jr. Foundation and Pratt Fine Arts Center.

His work is included in numerous public collections including the City of Seattle and City of Tacoma Portable Works Collections, CenturyLink Field, Regional Arts and Culture Council in Portland, and the Washington State Arts Commission.

In 2016, Romson received the Artist Trust GAP Seattle Art Dealer’s Association (SADA) Award. Prior to the SADA Award, he also received two Artist Trust GAPs to document new works and for research travel in the Philippines.

Romson is well-travelled, having spent extended periods of time in Spain, the Philippines, and Latin America.

Selection Process

Before her passing, Su Job chose Johnathan Heath Lambe as the inaugural recipient of the Conductive Garboil Grant. She also established a group of panelists to select the 2009 recipient, Sheri Brown. Panelists have since nominated their successors, according to Job’s guidelines.

The grant is administered on an annual basis by 4Culture and Artist Trust with the assistance of Su Job’s personal representative, Lynn Schirmer. More details may be found at

Grant Awardees (by year)

2008: Johnathan Heath Lambe, cross-disciplinary; 2009: Sheri Brown, performance; 2010: Kelly Lyles, visual; 2011: Rio Pacific Studio, visual (Jeff Jacobson and Jen Vertz); 2012: Paul Rucker, cross-disciplinary; 2013: Christian French, visual; 2014: Jeppa K. Hall, performance; 2015: Robb Kunz, emerging & cross-disciplinary; 2016: Tariqa Waters, visual; 2017: Juan Alonso-Rodríguez, visual and Romson Regarde Bustillo, visual

Juan Alonso-Rodríguez in his studio at the Tashiro Kaplin Artist Lofts in Pioneer Square. Photo by Kseniya Sovenko.