Guest Post: Kent Arts Commission launches Kent Creates

Approaching Storm by John Armstrong – an Inaugural Exhibit Winner

4Culture is opening up shop in Kent, with Hello 4Culture, and we thought it was a good time to check in with Ronda Billerbeck, the Cultural Programs Manager for the City of Kent and Director of the Kent Arts Commission, to see what she’s working on these days. We were excited to learn about one of their new programs, which includes an dynamic way to participate in the arts. We asked Ronda to share her news:

Continue Reading ›
Approaching Storm by John Armstrong – an Inaugural Exhibit Winner

4Culture is opening up shop in Kent, with Hello 4Culture, and we thought it was a good time to check in with Ronda Billerbeck, the Cultural Programs Manager for the City of Kent and Director of the Kent Arts Commission, to see what she’s working on these days. We were excited to learn about one of their new programs, which includes an dynamic way to participate in the arts. We asked Ronda to share her news:

The Kent Arts Commission is proud to announce the launch of Kent Creates. This web platform for sharing art, culture, and creative endeavors is meant to be a community of imagination and inspiration for anyone who creates or seeks to be inspired by creativity.

Kent Creates is for artists, musicians, writers, crafters, illustrators, dancers, filmmakers, hobbyists, and other creatives to share their work and meet people with similar interests. Creative work of all kinds may be shared on KentCreates.com  – drawings, cartoons, recipes, do-it-yourself how-to videos, short films, and anything else creative minds can dream up.

The project started as a dream to involve and engage the public on a new level. Instead of commissioning an artist to make a piece of art to be passively experienced and enjoyed by the public, Kent Creates encourages Kent residents to be the artists.

We recognized a national trend – Individuals taking a more hands-on role in their participation of arts and culture, and often using technology to that end. Kent Creates is a response to these shifts in the way we generate and consume creative material.

The Kent Arts Commission believes strongly in the power of art to transform the lives of individuals and communities, and that creative pursuits are truly for everyone – not just professional artists. We know Kent – and the larger Puget Sound region – is home to a wealth of creativity including writers, musicians, singers, photographers, filmmakers, and others keeping traditional ethnic arts alive. We are pleased to implement Kent Creates to build connections through showcasing that creativity.

An Inaugural Exhibit was held in October and November of 2015 to launch and test Kent Creates; it garnered 48 submissions including photography, collage, painting, piano composition, poetry and more. The Kent Arts Commission voted on submissions and, in keeping with the Commission’s commitment to pay artists for their work, the top five pieces received $100 honorariums. The winners’ work also appears on the featured carousel on the Kent Creates homepage.

The five winners from the Inaugural Exhibit are: John Armstrong (photography), Mary Ann Cagley (encaustic photo transfer), Jamie Greene (watercolor), Arries McQuarter (piano composition), and Naoko Morisawa (mosaic collage).

The next exhibit for Kent Creates is open January 23 through March 31 and focuses on the theme of “Home.” The call for entries reads:

What does ‘home’ mean to you? In today’s world, many people move far away from the place they were born and raised, to distant cities, states, and countries. As a result, our communities are more diverse with people from varied ethnic, religious, socio-economic, and geographic backgrounds. Despite our differences, home is a common concept, one that elicits strong feelings, memories, and hopes. Is home where you currently live? Is it where you’re from? Is home a place or is it a feeling? Is it a group of people, a memory, or even a period of time? What is HOME?

Work may be submitted through March 31, 2017 – at which time the exhibit will close. The Kent Arts Commission will select the top five pieces, which will receive $100 honorariums and featured status on the site.

Kent Creates is free to use and anyone, anywhere can sign up; there is no requirement to live in Kent.

 

From Our Director: All Are Welcome Here

Continue Reading ›

“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” – Alphonse Karr, French novelist (1808-90)

Will the new administration eliminate the NEA, NEH, and CPB? We hear rumblings from the other Washington that Republicans in Congress are newly emboldened to achieve the long-desired goal of shutting down federal support for the arts and humanities and the commercialization of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting. After all, there is nothing in the Constitution about supporting public television or that arts and humanities contribute to the public good.

The above quote translates to “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Yes, we will once again be pitched in a fight to save the pittance the federal government invests in community creativity, and civics. Advocates for arts and humanities in the Congress—and they are many—have successfully resisted these efforts in the past and they will be geared up to resist again. It helps mightily when Congress hears from you.

We have recently been asked how the elimination of the NEA would impact 4Culture. Many are concerned that 4Culture would have to reduce grants if federal funds evaporate. Not to worry. 4Culture is in no way dependent on NEA funding, except for partial support we receive for initiative projects. While 4Culture won’t be seriously impacted, we know that important state and local programs could lose critical funds, and we empathize with the anxiety facing every group whose services depend upon the NEA’s dollars. And we add our voice to all those who believe in creativity as the currency of tolerance.

We state as clearly and strongly as we can: all are welcome at 4Culture. We acknowledge that government institutions have historically not been strong partners to people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people, trans people, the poor, the disabled, and more. 4Culture commits to amplifying the voices of those who have been excluded, and to building trust in our relationships with these communities.

As our region’s leaders reaffirm the values of inclusiveness and openness even at the risk of losing federal funding, we stand with them. 4Culture has long prided itself on finding creative ways to meet the needs of all county residents—that will never change.

Sincerely,
Jim Kelly

 

Preservation Sustained Support Kicks Off Two Years of Funding

“Heartbomb” photo event, Nuclear Reactor Building at University of Washington © 2015, photo by John Shea, courtesy of Docomomo WEWA.

Through our Sustained Support grant, we assist with the day-to-day needs of organizations doing cultural work in King County. The funding provided by this grant rolls out over two-year cycles, with another one kicking off in fall 2016.

Continue Reading ›
“Heartbomb” photo event, Nuclear Reactor Building at University of Washington © 2015, photo by John Shea, courtesy of Docomomo WEWA.

Through our Sustained Support grant, we assist with the day-to-day needs of organizations doing cultural work in King County. The funding provided by this grant rolls out over two-year cycles, with another one kicking off in fall 2016.

We’re proud to be funding 18 organizations and municipalities through Preservation Sustained Support for the next two years! The panel awarded a total of $99,000 in funding, with 9 applicants receiving increased funding due to their increased activity levels and preservation-specific programming. Applicants represented 7 of 9 King County Council districts. Here are a few highlights:

The City of Bothell is great example of how municipalities can put Preservation Sustained Support funds to work through a variety of projects. They installed a historical road sign commemorating “Lazy Husband Road,” a road built by inmates sent to the Bothell Stockade as a result of the Lazy Husbands Act of 1913. They’ve nominated a small district of World War II-era cottages to their local historic register, and are planning the same for two 1930s former bank buildings on Main Street. They’ll continue to focus on Main Street revitalization over the next two years as they develop design guidelines, help property owners interested in façade restoration, and extend Main Street to connect it with new downtown development and UW Bothell Campus.

Docomomo WEWA focused their advocacy efforts this year on their Save the Reactor campaign, a collaboration with Historic Seattle and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation to prevent demolition of the National Register-listed Nuclear Reactor Building at the University of Washington. Although the building was torn down in July 2016, Docomomo raised broad community awareness about what we can learn from our built environment, and they continue to advocate for other historic resources on the Seattle campus and other properties owned by the UW.

2016 was the first time the Volunteer Park Trust applied for Sustained Support funding, seeking support for their upcoming goal of restoring the park’s great lawn. It’s an ambitious project—they’ll construct a new amphitheater slightly north of the current one, allowing them to restore the lawn to its original Olmsted design and reconnect the pathway from the Volunteer Park Reservoir to the lower loop road. With support from neighbors, performance groups, Seattle Parks, the Landmarks Board, and, now, Sustained Support funding, they’ll move forward with design and plans for a Capital Campaign to fund landscape restoration and construction.

Check out the full list of Preservation Sustained Support recipients online, and make sure to keep an eye out for the great work they’re all doing!

Introducing Hello 4Culture

Continue Reading ›

In 2017, we’re getting out of the office, putting down the phone, and talking with our community face-to-face.

On the third Tuesday of every month, 4Culture staff members will be at both the Kent Library and Third Place Commons from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm sharing information about all of our opportunities, from grants to gallery space. Whether you’re an old pro at applying for funding and artists calls or this is the first time you’ve heard of us and just want to talk about King County culture, we invite you to come see us! Bring your questions, ideas, frustrations, plans, and let’s chat.

We’ll still be here at our Pioneer Square office and available by phone or email, but we know it can be tough to get in and out of Seattle, and sometimes you just can’t beat an in-person conversation. Here are the details:

Hello 4Culture
Every 3rd Tuesday starting February 21, 2017
10:00 am—2:00 pm
Kent Library, 212 2nd Ave N, Kent WA 98032
Third Place Commons, 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park, WA 98155

No need to RSVP or register—just drop by any time. We look forward to talking with you.

Audition for the Touring Arts Roster

Splinter Dance Company © 2013 Commence Vision

Performers, did you know that our Touring Arts Roster can help you reach new audiences? This online tool, which features more than 200 performers from across King County, connects you with organizations and individuals of all kinds who are looking for dynamic live experiences. Plus, we offer reimbursement incentives for nonprofits when they book you through the Roster, strengthening our region’s creative cultural community.

Continue Reading ›
Splinter Dance Company © 2013 Commence Vision

Performers, did you know that our Touring Arts Roster can help you reach new audiences? This online tool, which features more than 200 performers from across King County, connects you with organizations and individuals of all kinds who are looking for dynamic live experiences. Plus, we offer reimbursement incentives for nonprofits when they book you through the Roster, strengthening our region’s creative cultural community.

If you’re a King County performing artist in just about any genre and this sounds like it might be up your alley, audition for the Roster this month! Auditions will be held Saturday and Sunday, February 18 and 19, at Renton’s Carco Theatre. We ask that all those who’d like to audition fill out and submit an Intent to Audition form so we can schedule you for a 30 minute—1 hour time slot. Good luck, and see you on stage!

February at Gallery4Culture: Chris McMullen

Continue Reading ›

Chris McMullen, C.S.E. (Collaborative Stacking Extravaganza!), 2016

Chris McMullen
C.S.E. (Collaborative Stacking Extravaganza!)
February 2–23, 2017
Opening: First Thursday, February 2, 6:00–8:00 pm

Chris McMullen’s interactive installation, C.S.E. (Collaborative Stacking Extravaganza!), challenges viewers both mentally and physically as they work together to operate two towering wood and steel cranes—stylized versions of the ubiquitous machines that punctuate the Seattle skyline. This kinetic engagement, the stacking and arranging of materials, encourages face-to-face communication and grounding in our increasingly fractured world.

Based on the mechanics of cranes and lifting devices that were powered by humans instead of fossil fuels prior to the Industrial Revolution, the room-filling sculptures link the disciplines of art, architecture and engineering, speak to the pace of development in our region, and refute the assumption that every problem has a high-tech solution.

McMullen states, Viewers will have to use depth perception, hand-eye coordination, synchronized interaction, and shrewd communication skills to activate the cranes. The object is to overcome logistical difficulties. When multiple operators are present, alliances can be formed and competition may ensue. I’m interested to see how people interact with the work, how they perceive the challenge, and what they ultimately find as a result of their participation. Pushing the boundaries of art, which is so often static, into something that can be touched and moved provides an opportunity to directly affect human relationships.”

About the Artist:
Chris McMullen, a native of Reno, Nevada, has been working with steel in his Seattle, Washington studio since 2000. His practice is characterized by kinetic sculpture and installation that requires human involvement and is informed by his background in graphic communication. McMullen’s work is held in the collections of the City of Seattle, the City of Redmond, and the Science Museum of Oklahoma and has been featured at Bellwether, Bellevue’s Biennial Sculpture exhibition, the Redmond Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, Bumbershoot, Maker Faire, Coachella, and Winston Wächter Fine Art. Recent exhibitions include Out of Sight at King Street Station and Metalmorphosis at the Bellevue Art Museum. McMullen is a recipient of 4Culture’s Individual Artist Project Grant as well as Artist Trust’s Grants for Artists Projects (GAP).

www.chrismcmullenproductions.com

Up next: Deanne Belinoff’s Space: Inside/Out 

Welcoming the 2017 Creative Justice Mentor Artists

The 4Culture Public Art initiative, Creative Justice, offers an arts-based alternative to detention for court-involved young people in King County, Washington.

Continue Reading ›

The 4Culture Public Art initiative, Creative Justice, offers an arts-based alternative to detention for court-involved young people in King County, Washington.

During each 16 week project session, participants engage in a variety of creative experiences and are provided opportunity to explore individual interests while developing skills in group collaboration. Creative Justice incorporates concepts of social art practice and uses a curriculum framework that considers how oppressions such as racism and classism intersect with the root causes of incarceration. The program utilizes art to amplify youth voices, as each session culminates in a community-based action or event produced and lead by the participants.

The Creative Justice sessions are facilitated by highly accomplished Mentor Artists who bring expertise in their specific disciplines as well as a wealth of community connection and cultural competence. The program is successful largely due to the talented core team of artist activists and the type of learning environment they provide. Launching year three with Aaron Counts and Nikkita Oliver again leading the program, we look forward to great things from the 2017 Mentor Artist cohort.

bradpuet-jojo-headshot
Photo courtesy of Brad Puet.

Brad Puet is a photographer whose documentary work showcases the street and its lifestyle as his subject. A successful self-taught artist, his award winning work has exhibited in Tehran, London, Berlin, Tokyo, Jalisco, New York and Los Angeles. He regularly contributes to: Huffington Post, and About.com; and has been published in the Washington Post, Photo Magazine, VICE, Slate magazine, and The Guardian-UK. Brad is a proud co-founder of Grryo, formerly We Are Juxt, an international social photography collective. A dedicated youth mentor and community builder for many years, Brad (aka JoJo) is responsible for launching two local young artist movements: Isangmahal, and Seattle Youth Speaks. He regularly conducts workshops and presentations in partnership with area youth art-based organizations; and teaches social photography at Seattle Central College.

ap-silasblak-kelly-o
Photo by Kelly O.

Silas Blak is a poet/emcee, a chef, and a mentor advocate by trade. He is a veteran of hip hop and a scholar of the verb. He has a strong passion for collaboration amongst the community and so has spent the excess of the last 10 plus years making music that speaks to issues we face in society and abroad. A valued and celebrated member of the region’s hip hop community since the 90s, Silas Blak has been recognized most recently for his new recording projects on Cabin Games label [#BlakFriday: The Mixtape; and Editorials: (wartunes)]. His truly original style and adept skill spitting complex bars about subjects most rappers seldom approach earned him a 2016 Stranger Genius Award nomination. Silas Blak has mentored youth at the Boys and Girls club, Alder detention facility, and Powerful Voices as an instructional coordinator and case manager; and at Evergreen High as a chef instructor.

Photo by Khadeidrah Cochran.
Photo by Khadeidrah Cochran.

Returning for a second year with Creative Justice, Olisa Enrico-Johnson (aka “Spyc-E”), shares truth and soul through performance and teaching. Rockin’ the mic for over two decades, Olisa lives her belief that artists and the arts are vital to the state of culture and society. She facilitates building connectivity, and has nurtured all-inclusive creative environments throughout the town via projects like Love-City-Love and Arts in Motion. Olisa holds a BFA in Performance and an MFA in Theater Pedagogy. Her efforts as a board member for theconciliationproject.org, promote open and honest dialogue about racism in America through active and challenging dramatic works. Whether it be as staff at Chief Leschi Schools, in the Creative Justice classroom, or through her work with any number of local partner projects, Olisa teaches students of all ages and stages always incorporating principles of community and shared responsibility.

Celebrating Our County's Namesake

Artwork by Yeggy Michael, which will be featured in the 2017 limited edition MLK calendar.

30th Annual King County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
Thursday, January 12, 12:00– 1:00 pm
5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Avenue, Seattle

Continue Reading ›
3_yeggy
Artwork by Yeggy Michael, which will be featured in the 2017 limited edition MLK calendar.

30th Annual King County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
Thursday, January 12, 12:00– 1:00 pm
5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Avenue, Seattle

2017 marks 30 years of celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King in the county that bears his name with the annual King County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration! The Celebration recognizes the impact that Dr. King had on our community and our nation, and reminds us to keep striving toward his dream of equity and justice.

Alexs Pate, author, professor, and founder of the Innocent Classroom program for K-12 educators will present the celebration’s keynote address. Innocent Classroom focuses on ending educational disparities by closing the relationship gap between educators and students of color. Pate launched Innocent Classroom in 2012 with a vision to rebuild teacher-student relationships in school districts with some of the nation’s widest gaps in achievement. Since that time, more than 2,300 educators in 170 schools and programs have participated in Constructing the Innocent Classroom workshops.

We’re thrilled that arts and culture will be central to this year’s celebration, featuring a performance by Touring Arts Roster group the Seattle Women’s Steel Pan Project and work by artist Yeggy Michael in the annual limited edition 2017 MLK calendar distributed at the event and throughout King County.

The Seattle Women's Steel Pan Project performs at the 2014 Global Dance Party, photo by Christopher Nelson
The Seattle Women’s Steel Pan Project performs at the 2014 Global Dance Party, photo by Christopher Nelson.

The Seattle Women’s Steel Pan Project is a multi-generational, multi-ethnic women’s Caribbean steel drum band dedicated to creating a space for women and girls in music through arts education. The project, based out of the Martin Luther King Community Center in Seattle, started in 2013 and is made up of women from a variety of musical and artistic backgrounds. The calendar, featuring both Yeggy Michael’s piece and a quote by King, is a daily visual reminder of our county’s namesake and his work to advance equity and justice for all.