4Culture News

Thanking Deb Twersky

Deb Twersky, photo by Timothy Aguero Photograhpy.

Since announcing our longtime Executive Director Jim Kelly’s retirement in December 2017, our Board, Advisory Committees, and staff have been hard at work filling this essential role. It’s a daunting task, especially as we’ve contended with other big changes and new initiatives this year. 2018 has not been boring! As we get closer to selecting and announcing our new Executive Director, we’re taking a moment to put a spotlight on the person largely responsible for holding it all together: Deb Twersky.

Continue Reading ›
Deb Twersky, photo by Timothy Aguero Photograhpy.

Since announcing our longtime Executive Director Jim Kelly’s retirement in December 2017, our Board, Advisory Committees, and staff have been hard at work filling this essential role. It’s a daunting task, especially as we’ve contended with other big changes and new initiatives this year. 2018 has not been boring! As we get closer to selecting and announcing our new Executive Director, we’re taking a moment to put a spotlight on the person largely responsible for holding it all together: Deb Twersky.

While the network of people helping 4Culture navigate this challenging and exciting time has been vast, Deb has truly been at its center. As the manager of all our funding programs, Deb tirelessly tracked and interpreted the evolution of King County Ordinance #2018-0086, helping our community understand its impacts. She stepped into the role of Acting Director in April after Jim’s retirement, guiding us through the process of evaluating applications and interviewing candidates—all while overseeing the day-to-day tasks of running 4Culture.

4Culture staff, Board, and Advisory Committees thank Deb for her incredible leadership. Stay tuned for more information on our new Executive Director, coming soon!

Guest Post: Telling Difficult Stories

Community members share the significance of places in our region, as part of the Beyond Integrity project. Photo courtesy of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

Beyond Integrity is a group of preservation professionals and community advocates concerned with inequity in historic preservation practices in Seattle and King County. 4Culture has hosted and supported Beyond Integrity since 2014. Claudia Kiyama, a new member of our Historic Preservation Advisory Committee and a preservation architect who has been a part of the group since its inception, recently presented at the Revitalize WA conference, as part of a panel about “Telling Difficult Stories.” This post is a condensed version of her presentation.

Continue Reading ›

Beyond Integrity is a group of preservation professionals and community advocates concerned with inequity in historic preservation practices in Seattle and King County. 4Culture has hosted and supported Beyond Integrity since 2014. Claudia Kiyama, a new member of our Historic Preservation Advisory Committee and a preservation architect who has been a part of the group since its inception, recently presented at the Revitalize WA conference, as part of a panel about “Telling Difficult Stories.” This post is a condensed version of her presentation.

What are difficult stories? They may be stories that remind us of a shameful past, or that bring back a painful collective memory. These stories are obviously not easy to tell, but most people can agree on their relevance. But what happens to the stories that not everyone knows, that not everyone is interested in remembering? What happens to the stories not of the majority, but of only a few? Time and time again, these stories are either not told, or deemed as not relevant to our historical narrative.

In the Fall of 2014, 4Culture convened what we now call Beyond Integrity. The group was formed with three initial goals. Our first priority was to gather data on currently designated landmarks in Seattle and King County—particularly related to their association with underrepresented communities. Second, we aimed to engage local decision makers, such as historic preservation boards and commissions, on issues of equity. And ultimately, we want to foster a stronger voice for the public in the historic preservation process, especially for those from underrepresented or marginalized communities.

The members of Beyond Integrity maintain that places are important for much more than their mere physicality. Buildings are more than a conjunction of construction materials, parks are more than a collection of vegetation and structures. We know that places have served as witnesses to the lives of people, multiple generations at times; places hold stories, and stories hold places in people’s memories.

However, within the field of historic preservation, the intangible qualities of places are often overlooked or minimized. Too often architectural significance is emphasized over cultural significance, and architectural integrity is deemed more important than people’s stories, memories, and associations with a place. This is particularly common with places connected to underrepresented communities—modest houses, rural farms, neighborhood spots, community banks.

Our group is called Beyond Integrity because in our initial discussions we came back to the observation that in many cases, preservation boards and commissions denied landmark designations based on the lack of architectural integrity of buildings. We talked about how heartbreaking it was to watch places that were so important in their communities not achieving landmark protection, because they lacked qualities that in our estimation, did not seem as relevant to the significance of those places.

We discussed endlessly the realization that in many cases, preservation standards were written to describe only a certain type of place, to protect a specific narrative. As a group, we aim to get the preservation process to look beyond the architectural integrity of buildings; we wish to motivate decision makers to realize that people’s stories, their memories, and their connections to a place are as relevant, if not more so than the physicality of structures. A place doesn’t necessarily lose its meaning when a wall is lost or a room added.

The Katsuno House is part of the historic White River Garden Cooperative near Auburn. While it is a culturally significant location, it does not yet have official landmark status.

We, the members of Beyond Integrity felt strongly about all this. But, were we right about local preservation practices? In order to discover this, with the support of 4Culture, an internship was set up with the goal of gathering data to test our ideas. For research purposes, groups defined as underrepresented communities included: people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, veterans, the homeless, the working class, and those of low-income.

We felt that due to the historically marginalized position of these groups, there have been barriers to their participation in the landmark designation process. We also felt their lack of representation was reflective of the reality that the narrative and experiences of these groups historically had not been considered to be significant.

During the summer of 2016, Beyond Integrity intern Jialing Liu began an assessment of whether the diverse communities in King County are reflected in the historic landmarks that have been designated. Jialing compiled data for 128 King County properties and 348 Seattle properties that were designated as local landmarks. This information was used to produce maps showing the distribution of landmarks and whether they have a documented association to an underrepresented community.

Some general observations emerged from reviewing this data. First, LGBTQ, Native American, and Latin American immigrant communities are largely absent from the histories in nomination and designation reports. During this first review, it was unclear if this meant that these associations were not being presented as part of a property’s significance, or if properties associated with these communities simply were not being nominated. Similarly, women’s stories are rarely found in nominations and where women are mentioned as part of the significance of a place, it is only briefly.

The next phase of the project was carried out by our second intern, Kirsten Freeman during the summer of 2017. The goal of her research was to add to the data collected in the previous internship, and also identify properties for more detailed examination. Kirsten wrote five case studies, including the history of the properties, their associations with underrepresented communities, and an analysis of how they fared in the nomination and designation process. Four case studies address some of the reasons properties associated with underrepresented communities are not nominated or designated as landmarks. One case study is of a designated landmark with a strong association with an underrepresented community that was not acknowledged as part of its significance.

The findings of our two summer interns backed up the concerns and fears of the members of Beyond Integrity. Their research suggests that in Seattle and King County, we have not done a good job telling the stories of all. We are not doing that good of a job protecting places that are meaningful to certain communities. We are not doing that good of a job acknowledging the multiple stories many of our designated landmarks hold.

Beyond Integrity is now sharing our research findings more broadly, both with local preservation decision-makers and with the general public. We are committed to continuing in our mission to make preservation more equitable and inclusive, so that we can better recognize, protect, and learn from places that are significant to diverse communities.

Stipends Available for WMA Conference

Interested in attending the 2018 Western Museums Association conference? We can help!

Continue Reading ›

Interested in attending the 2018 Western Museums Association conference? We can help!

WMA’s annual conference—happening this year October 21–24 in Tacoma—is an excellent opportunity for those involved with the museum industry to exchange ideas, network with colleagues, and learn from each other by attending valuable sessions. This year’s conference theme is “INSPIRE”—the focus is on ways museums inspire action, change, and unity.

We’re excited to offer $400 stipends to King County residents who are a staff member, volunteer, or board member of a heritage organization also located in King County. The stipends may be used for conference registration, travel, and lodging costs.

To apply, please submit your resume detailing your commitment to action, change, and unity within King County heritage museums or organizations as an email attachment to Chieko Phillips at chieko.phillips@4culture.org no later than Friday, July 13, 2018 by 11:59 pm PDT. We’ll notify you by August 1, 2018. Checks will be presented to awardees at the conference.

 

#picturingtrails Walk + Talk

Illustration by Eroyn Franklin.

Saturday, June 9, 11:00 am—2:00 pm
Preston Community Center, 8625 310th Ave SE, Preston

Continue Reading ›

Saturday, June 9, 11:00 am—2:00 pm
Preston Community Center, 8625 310th Ave SE, Preston

Join photographers Jenny Riffle and Melinda Hurst Frye on a unique look at King County Regional Trails! Jenny and Melinda will talk about their work on Picturing Trails, a collaborative project with 4Culture and King County Parks. After the talk, explore the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail with Jenny and Melinda and post your own #picturingtrails photos to Instagram for a chance to win prizes! Visit picturingtrails.com for details.

Jenny and Melinda will talk from 11:00 am–12:00 pm inside the Preston Community Center. We’ll head outside for a nature walk from 12:00–2:00 pm.

Bring your camera or camera phone, wear weather appropriate attire and comfy shoes for exploring! Coffee, tea, water, and trail snacks will be provided. This event is free, no registration required.

Parking: lower parking accommodates several vehicles. When this area is full, please use the overflow parking just down the street at the old Preston Mill site. Please do not park along the roadway by the facility.

You’re Invited: Arc Artist Fellowship Showcase

2018 Arc Fellows from left to right: Angel Alviar-Langley, Tara Hardy, Earl Debnam, and Mickey Rowe.

Saturday, June 23, 2:00—4:00 pm
Washington Hall, 153 14th Ave, Seattle

Continue Reading ›

Saturday, June 23, 2:00—4:00 pm
Washington Hall, 153 14th Ave, Seattle

Celebrate the very first cohort of 4Culture Arc Artist Fellows at this free event! The Arc Fellowship is a new grant program providing financial and promotional support to King County artists. This year, we’re proud to honor:

Angel Alviar-Langley, Performing Artist
Earl Debnam, Visual Artist
Tara Hardy, Literary Artist
Mickey Rowe, Theatre Artist

Hear from and learn more about each Arc Fellow, connect with other artists, and enjoy light refreshments.

This event is free, but we do ask that you RSVP on Eventbrite.

Help Us Improve Our Website!

Illustration by Eroyn Franklin.

Did you know that 4Culture manages the King County Public Art Collection? This incredible body of over 2,000 works includes sculptures, installations, portable pieces like photographs and paintings, and so much more—and you can find it all over King County. Currently, we share a small, curated selection of these works on our website. As part of our ongoing mission to make our website a great experience for everyone, we’d love to get your feedback on how we’re sharing this collection! If you’re interested in sharing your opinions with us, please fill out this short form, and we’ll get in touch with you.

Continue Reading ›

Did you know that 4Culture manages the King County Public Art Collection? This incredible body of over 2,000 works includes sculptures, installations, portable pieces like photographs and paintings, and so much more—and you can find it all over King County. Currently, we share a small, curated selection of these works on our website. As part of our ongoing mission to make our website a great experience for everyone, we’d love to get your feedback on how we’re sharing this collection! If you’re interested in sharing your opinions with us, please fill out this short form, and we’ll get in touch with you.

Thank you for helping connect King County with its public art collection by making the 4Culture website the best it can be!

#picturingtrails Dispatches: Melinda Hurst Frye

Melinda Hurst Frye, Mercer Slough, 2018.

Melinda Hurst Frye is one of two photographers to receive our Picturing Trails commission in 2017, a project in partnership with King County Parks to comprehensively capture and interpret the King County Regional Trail System through fine art photography. Melinda has been out on the trails photographing since October of 2017—here, she shares an update:

Continue Reading ›

Melinda Hurst Frye is one of two photographers to receive our Picturing Trails commission in 2017, a project in partnership with King County Parks to comprehensively capture and interpret the King County Regional Trail System through fine art photography. Melinda has been out on the trails photographing since October of 2017—here, she shares an update:

Hello, King County! My name is Melinda Hurst Frye, and you may have seen me setting up my scanner and making images along the trails in the last few months. Say hi if you spot me! You can also follow my Instagram account to keep track of where I am and what I am photographing during the year. I am excited to share a few sneak peaks of the work in progress from Picturing Trails and to tell you a bit more about my intent and process.

I photograph in a combination of methods, though mainly making images that combine the use of a flatbed scanner and a camera to create small environmental scenes. I am curious about how place, memory and varying ecosystems occur in one physical space, such as the grass that my children play in while the worms below the surface refresh the soil.

Photographing the trails has allowed me to look at the idea of home in a larger context. I scan small environments, insects, and objects found along the trails to create a sense of wonder based on our immediate natural world. When we are still, the natural world reveals itself. I want these images to reveal the viewer’s own stillness and observation. The initial heart of my previous work was my home in Seattle, though Picturing Trails has been a remarkable experience for a greater exploration of our region. The trails have taken me to places that I have not been aware of even though I was born and raised here in King County. This is as much of an exploration of my home, as it is a portrait of our regional trails.

Melinda Hurst Frye, Lake Washington Tracks, 2018.

There are so many pockets of wetlands, forest and natural areas to explore in both the urban and rural areas. What has surprised me the most is how our system of trails connects nearly all of King County, and while connected, each region has a defining look, attribute or environment. I have been particularly interested in the trails that are high use, intersect with bordering counties, cross municipal borders, and/or the areas where multiple trails come together.

The Greenlake trail was a favorite place this fall, as well as a total surprise. I assumed with its use and location it wouldn’t offer nearly as much ecodiversity as it does. I was wrong, and I ended up making one of my favorite images of a katydid perched on a fir tree with several small mushrooms growing out of the bark. The Mercer Slough along I-90 also offers gorgeous trails spotted with skunk cabbage (surprisingly pleasant smelling) and salmonberry flowers in the spring. I am looking forward to photographing in southern King County as well as the more urban areas around as we enter the most beautiful time of the year. See you out there!

Thanking Jim Kelly

Retirement party for 4Culture’s Executive Director Jim Kelly at the Paramount Theatre, April 30, 2018. Photo by Timothy Aguero Photography.

On Monday night, we gathered with current and past staff, board, and advisory members underneath the stunning ceiling of the Paramount Theatre to celebrate Jim Kelly’s 25 years of leadership at 4Culture. The location was fitting—a historic building that hosts artistic performances of all disciplines, run by an organization that, while based in Seattle, works tirelessly to share their programming with all of King County. The Paramount is emblematic of how the four disciplines of 4Culture—arts, heritage, preservation, and public art—are intertwined. Our agency’s vision of supporting culture on all of these levels is a product of Jim’s leadership.

Continue Reading ›

On Monday night, we gathered with current and past staff, board, and advisory members underneath the stunning ceiling of the Paramount Theatre to celebrate Jim Kelly’s 25 years of leadership at 4Culture. The location was fitting—a historic building that hosts artistic performances of all disciplines, run by an organization that, while based in Seattle, works tirelessly to share their programming with all of King County. The Paramount is emblematic of how the four disciplines of 4Culture—arts, heritage, preservation, and public art—are intertwined. Our agency’s vision of supporting culture on all of these levels is a product of Jim’s leadership.

Throughout his tenure as Executive Director, Jim’s focus has been on the individuals, cultural organizations, and communities of King County. True to form, Jim put those we serve at the center of his comments on Monday night: “What we do is try to help them do their work. What could be greater than that? Is there a job that’s better than helping people who are trying to bring beauty to community?”

Jim’s commitment has set the tone for how we work at 4Culture. As our colleague Charlie Rathbun said on Monday, “Jim always showed up, in every way.” It’s impossible to deny that Jim’s retirement represents the end of an era, but our core belief that all of King County deserves access to arts and culture will not change.

We thank Jim for building our organization on that foundation.

Retirement party for 4Culture’s Executive Director Jim Kelly at the Paramount Theatre, April 30, 2018. Photo by Timothy Aguero Photography.

 

#picturingtrails Dispatches: Jenny Riffle

Jenny Riffle, Mountains to Sound Trail, 2017.

Jenny Riffle is one of two photographers to receive our Picturing Trails commission in 2017, a project in partnership with King County Parks to comprehensively capture and interpret the King County Regional Trail System through fine art photography. Jenny has been out on the trails photographing since October of 2017—here, she shares an update:

Continue Reading ›

Jenny Riffle is one of two photographers to receive our Picturing Trails commission in 2017, a project in partnership with King County Parks to comprehensively capture and interpret the King County Regional Trail System through fine art photography. Jenny has been out on the trails photographing since October of 2017—here, she shares an update:

Hello! Jenny Riffle here to share some of my work with you. I am a native of the Pacific Northwest and have been working with the landscape of this region for the last few years in my photography. The natural world is a beautiful and sometimes unsettling place. It can be full of mystery and unknown forces. The vastness of the forest and the ocean can be scary, but also full of beauty and calm. The connection people have with the natural world in this area is strong and it is easily accessible here in King County. This is one of the reasons that every time I left the Pacific Northwest, I found myself being called back.

Exploring the Regional Trail System over the last few months has introduced me to many new green areas within the county. I find that you do not need to go far to find yourself in the middle of what seems like wilderness, but is in fact very urban. I have been photographing what you see from the trails and how you can feel transported to a different place as soon as you step on the trail. These trails traverse the whole county and go through many diverse surroundings.

Jenny Riffle, Springbrook Trail, 2018.

One of my favorite moments was on the Springbrook Trail, which goes along the brook not far from IKEA—in one direction I could see the neon glow of the IKEA sign, but in the other direction a blue heron was flying along the waterway. It was a stormy day with rain on and off and I had my rain poncho on with my camera gear under it. I was walking through a portion of wetland and the trail was on a raised wooden boardwalk and the rain had stopped so I was setting up a shot, then suddenly a huge rainbow appeared! I knew I only had a few moments to catch it and got very flustered and realized I was out of film and had to reload my camera—it was a hectic few moments but I reloaded, got a few shots, and then it was gone.

Another favorite spot of mine is on the trail closest to my house on Beacon Hill, the Mountains to Sound Trail. I have been on this trail many times over the last few months. If you start at the south end of the trail, there is a huge forest off to one side while I-5 and all of SODO stretches out to the other side; then you reach a turn and suddenly the downtown skyline is in front of you. Here there is an amazing lush forest in the middle of the city, and I love the contrast of the built world peeking through the trees.

I have been on about half of the trails and I’m looking forward to exploring the next half in the coming months. Check out my Instagram account to see regular updates from Picturing Trails!

Artists from Across the U.S. Coming to the Storefront Media Gallery

Since 2008, the Storefront Media Gallery (formerly known as e4c) has given artists the opportunity to present dynamic electronic works of art that enliven Seattle’s urban core. Selected through a national call, video works are exhibited on four monitors with exterior directional speakers. Located adjacent to Gallery 4Culture, this street-level gallery is visible by foot, bike, car or bus to more than 20,000 people each day.

Continue Reading ›

Since 2008, the Storefront Media Gallery (formerly known as e4c) has given artists the opportunity to present dynamic electronic works of art that enliven Seattle’s urban core. Selected through a national call, video works are exhibited on four monitors with exterior directional speakers. Located adjacent to Gallery 4Culture, this street-level gallery is visible by foot, bike, car or bus to more than 20,000 people each day.

Panelists Tess Martin and Sri Prabha selected 12 artists from across the U.S. to display their work.

Julius Brown, Seattle WA
Solarjul
April 2018
In 2017, Julius Brown traveled to Illinois to witness the totality of the August solar eclipse. The remote location provided a magical, solitary experience, inspiring Brown to create Solarjul, an archival interpretation of the cosmic event. Each screen in this 4-channel video represents a time zone of the continental U.S. and its total length—2 minutes and 40 seconds—parallels the duration of the eclipse.

Julius Brown. Solarjul, 2017. Digital still.

 

Barbara Robertson, Seattle WA
Architectonic 2
April 2018
Architectonic is a series of animations created from scans of drawings, exploring the theme of shifting perspectives in our built environment of constant change. The videos incorporate digitally-generated imagery with traditional methods of drawing, painting, and printmaking.

Barbara Robertson. Architectonic 2, 2017. Digital still.

 

Seth Sexton, Seattle WA
DYBBUK
May 2018
Seth Sexton presents a reimagined version of DYBBUK, a dance art film loosely based on a play written by S. Anskey and adapted to film in 1937 by Mical Waszynski. The films draw inspiration from artists William Kentridge, Jackson Pollack and John Cage.

Michelle Lassaline, Seattle WA
Pelican
June 2018
Michelle Lassaline’s new work is based on a series of masked performances in specific settings. Pelican, filmed in historic Seattle parks that represent the city’s unique maritime geography, addresses history through humor, calling attention to the past through a contemporary lens.

Carson Rennekamp, Seattle WA
Aequalis, Northern Home II, and Saralia
June 2018
Inspired by kaleidoscopic imagery, Carson Rennekamp’s videos present excerpts from an infinite journey into an unknown atmosphere. They slowly evolve and organically create new patterns that envelop the viewer into an ethereal state. Each video is created from a single image.

Alyse Delaney, Lafayette NJ
Santa Clara, Cuba
July 2018
Alyse Delaney recorded slow-motion footage out a tour bus window as it drove through Cuba’s urban streets. The result is a multi-channel video portrait of a city and its inhabitants, but also an examination of the outsider’s perspective on Cuban culture. It calls attention to and questions boundaries between resident and visitor, insider and outsider, the observed and the observer.

Emmeri Bock, Seattle WA
July 2018
Emmeri Bock’s video brings light to the displacement of Seattle artists due to the rise in the cost of rent and studio space brought about by unprecedented growth. The piece is a meditation on moving out–the acts of sorting through, disposing of, and packing up possessions and memories.

Clyde Petersen, Seattle WA
Torrey Pines
August 2018
Torrey Pines is a stop-motion animated feature film based on a true queer punk coming-of-age tale, taking place in Southern California in the early 1990’s. Clyde Petersen shows segments of the film on all four screens simultaneously.

Ellen Garvens, Kenmore WA
Newton Yellow String, Milk, and Olives
September 2018
Ellen Garvens’ three videos explore the movement of objects associated with touch—pins, threads, fabric and clay—set up in ways that defy logic and gravity. They move by their own volition, suggesting the nature of the artist’s fleeting memories.

Matthew Keff, Brooklyn NY
Air Castle
September 2018
Matthew Keff’s Air Castle is an original art game that plays itself. Using game engine software, characters and objects bounce from screen to screen creating a seamless panoramic dreamscape.

Aubrey Nehring, Seattle WA
Botanical Geometry
October 2018
Aubrey Nehring’s new animated short film focuses on the theme of botanical geometry. A visual poem dedicated to the lush green life force that surrounds and sustains us, 2 and 3-D animation techniques create moving patterns inspired by the natural world.

Neely Goniodsky, Bellevue WA
Vacuum
Fall 2018
Vacuum is a video installation about suburban boredom and isolation, designed to allow those who pass by to interact with it. Neely Goniodsky’s animated vignettes move viewers through scenes—for example, one can get lost in a field of tall carpet or scrutinized by a bored kid in an aquarium.

Leadership Transitions at 4Culture

As we move forward through 2018 and its exciting challenges, we are sharing some changes to our leadership staff:

Continue Reading ›

As we move forward through 2018 and its exciting challenges, we are sharing some changes to our leadership staff:

On March 31, Jim Kelly retired as Executive Director, a position he held for 15 years. In that time, Jim built an incredibly strong team of cultural advocates here at 4Culture, making the challenge of navigating this transition easier as we welcomed Deb Twersky to the role of Acting Director on April 2. Deb has overseen our funding programs since 2000, managing millions of dollars in grant funds, helping organizations build capacity so they can thrive, and strengthening the network of cultural resources in King County and beyond. Deb will serve as our Acting Director until a permanent Executive Director is hired near the end of May.

We’re also starting the process of saying goodbye to another longtime 4Culture leader who has helped shaped our organization: Public Art Director Cath Brunner. Cath has led our Public Art department since 4Culture was the King County Arts Commission, and in that time has helped build our region’s international reputation for outstanding public art. We were thrilled to have her honored at the national level last year with an Americans for the Arts National Leadership Award. Cath stepped down from her role as Director on March 31—she’ll stay with us as a Project Manager until August, when she’ll move into her own private consulting practice. We’re thrilled to welcome our own Kelly Pajek as Public Art Director! Kelly’s two years at 4Culture as a Project Manager are the latest chapter in a public art career that spans more than two decades and several cities, including New York.

We know our community joins us in congratulating Jim, Deb, Cath, and Kelly and in thanking them for their amazing work on behalf of King County!