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:

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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.

 

Introducing Hello 4Culture

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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.

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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

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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 

Guest Post: the Youth-Led Campaign to Educate, Entertain and Empower

Photo by Tim Aguero.

Jamil Suleman served as the Mentor Artist to the most recent session of Creative Justice, our program offering an arts-based alternative to incarceration for court-involved youth in King County. In this Guest Post, Jamil shares insight into what the group of participants learned and accomplished:

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Photo by Tim Aguero.
Photo by Tim Aguero.

Jamil Suleman served as the Mentor Artist to the most recent session of Creative Justice, our program offering an arts-based alternative to incarceration for court-involved youth in King County. In this Guest Post, Jamil shares insight into what the group of participants learned and accomplished:

I’ve done this before, but there was something different about this group…

The process for me as a Teaching Artist focusing on Hip Hop Culture is usually the same every time, no matter the location or age bracket. Take a group of young people, have them produce music and film, lace the classes with relevant cultural studies that influence the content to be more socially conscious, crank out a legit business plan for merchandise and performances, and build a mini-movement in a handful of months. The result is a cohesive group of artists who, after taking some risks to express themselves, if everything worked out as planned, come out with a stronger sense of self-confidence and reaping the rewards as a team.

There’s nothing like seeing all the weeks of hard work pay off when your shirts sell out after you rocked a set of music that really puts your thoughts and feelings out there. To share your story, and to see it being appreciated by people from all backgrounds, is a life changing experience that sets the tone for a young person’s dreams and pursuits from there on forward. It’s experiential proof. Now, there is no doubt, if they put their mind to it and work hard with a small group of their friends, they can do it.

It can be done.

We started with a group of youth, some who knew each other, and some who were completely new to the area. We’d come in, twice a week, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, and start with a brief activity or meal. Considering the political climate we are in, with everything from the protests at Standing Rock to the election of Donald Trump occurring during our session, you can imagine the dialogue was always lively. It was these conversations that gave a foundation for our art work.

Once we started to form a cohesive core, we looked at all of the various social and cultural issues we discussed and experienced, and decided to pick a campaign to focus our creative project on. With #BlackLivesMatter and #NoDAPL going viral, the youth chose their own movement: #FreeTheYouth. Stemming from the idea of the everyday struggle, the class picked #FreeTheYouth as a way to give voice to youth experiencing incarceration and the school to prison pipeline. That message is what fueled the music, video, shirt design, and the overall purpose of our Creative Justice session.

Photo by Tim Aguero.
Photo by Tim Aguero.

And in early December, after having wrapped up our last session of Creative Justice 2016, I look at our class of young high schoolers, who’ve gone through their own personal journeys of ups and downs in and out of the courts and foster homes…beaming. They did it. And each one of them is taking home $40 tonight after selling several of their #FreeTheYouth shirts and wristbands they designed while in class. One of our students had a breakthrough moment when she performed in front of a crowd for the second time, now without needing her lyrics. Fear conquered, mission accomplished.

Proof. It can be done.

That’s the main mission for me. To be able to be given a real opportunity, to be vulnerable with students, to be their friend, their ear, their family member…to just be there for them. After having worked several jobs in the field, I can say with confidence that Creative Justice really gets to the core of what our youth and community needs. The heart to heart relationships we build, that lay the groundwork for the foundation of educating and learning from one another, and using our creative talents to express that growth. It allows us to build the necessary trust with each other, so when we make our art, it can be true and authentic, and when we share it, it’s that much more impactful.

I was right about this group being different. I felt, this time, that I was closer to my purpose while teaching with Creative Justice, and the dynamics of the class really prove that. There are always obstacles, and you can expect that things won’t be easy some times. But the way we were able to navigate throughout the quarter allowed us to grow in ways I wasn’t expecting, which gave us a synergy that I feel lasts past the program, and resonates with our entire community.

Photo by Tim Aguero.
Photo by Tim Aguero.

#FreeTheYouth is a movement, and it’s not going anywhere until our youth are free. Free from the shackles of judgement from systems that have been created to silence us. In the time and age we live in, it’s going to be up to our youth to make sure we make it through, for them and their children. After having gone through this session with a dozen very strong and confident young people, who are now seeing their own potential to inspire, I have faith.

It can be done.

#FreeTheYouth

January at Gallery4Culture: David Jaewon Oh

David Jaewon Oh. Stefani, 2014. Digital C-print. 25 x 38 inches.

David Jaewon Oh
Combatants
Gallery4Culture
January 5—26, 2017
Opening: January 5, 6:00—8:00 pm

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David Jaewon Oh. Stefani, 2014. Digital C-print. 25 x 38 inches.
David Jaewon Oh. Stefani, 2014. Digital C-print. 25 x 38 inches.

David Jaewon Oh
Combatants
Gallery4Culture
January 5—26, 2017
Opening: January 5, 6:00—8:00 pm

David Jaewon Oh’s Combatants captures the strength, honesty, and endurance of women in combat sports. The sights and sounds of the often male-dominated gyms where they train come to life in this series of intimate photographic portraits that explore personal identity and gender roles.

Although there has been an increase in the number of women participating in boxing and ultimate fighting over the past two decades, they continue to be underrepresented in the media, seen as novelty acts, and confined by the paradox of accepted norms. Since 2012, Oh has traveled to Washington, Oregon, California, New York, and British Columbia, capturing the changing face of the field and helping to break stereotypes related to athleticism and physical ability.

Oh states, “I’ve photographed a world champion boxer who had to wait tables at a pancake spot a few days after winning her title, a single mom who lost everything after a natural disaster and needed a way to cope, a woman who was drawn to the sport as a way to build her sense of self, and a teenager who just “likes to fight.” I’m working with fighters who are participating in, arguably, one of the more historically male-dominated sports and yet, it serves as an opportunity for them to find their identity and strength as women.”

About the Artist: David Jaewon Oh was born is Seoul, South Korea and now resides in Seattle, Washington. He received a BFA in Photomedia from the University of Washington, where he was honored with the Harold and Sylvia Tacker Award in Photography. His work is focused on the subjects of culture and gender in sports. Recent projects include the documentation of an LGBTQ running club and the Rat City Rollergirls. Combatants is his first solo exhibition in Seattle, but images from the series have been shown at Black Box Gallery in Portland, Oregon, Gallery CLU in Los Angeles, California, and featured in online and print publications such as VSCO, Float Photo Magazine, Vice Fightland, and Good Sport Magazine. Oh was awarded a 2016 GAP Grant from Artist Trust.

Website: upsetspecialistphoto.com

Up next: Chris McMullen’s C.S.E. (Collaborative Stacking Extravaganza!)

Guest Post: Providing Access in South King County

Jean McFee Raichle, Summer Flowers. Image courtesy of The Art of Alzheimer’s.

Led by Barbara McMichael, SoCoCulture provides South King County, arts, heritage, and botanical organizations with networking opportunities, advocacy support, and professional development. Here, Barbara provides an update on a recent meeting designed to help the group’s members improve their services and engagement with the public:

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Jean McFee Raichle -- Summer Flowers -- Elderwise ® creative outreach class
Jean McFee Raichle, Summer Flowers. Image courtesy of The Art of Alzheimer’s.

Led by Barbara McMichael, SoCoCulture provides South King County, arts, heritage, and botanical organizations with networking opportunities, advocacy support, and professional development. Here, Barbara provides an update on a recent meeting designed to help the group’s members improve their services and engagement with the public:

At a recent meeting, our topic was access—we put together a panel of terrific folks who are working to provide meaningful cultural access to both artists and audiences with special needs.

Marilyn Raichle, founder of The Art of Alzheimer’s, talked about discovering how her mother, who had dementia, found a way to express herself even after she became nonverbal. With a paintbrush in her hand, Raichle’s mom created beautiful art with interesting content and vibrant colors. With this newfound evidence that her mother still had a creative spark and stories to share, Raichle has been working to spread the word about this way to connect. Earlier this year at Seattle City Hall, she presented The Artist Within, an exhibit that featured the art of dozens of individuals living with dementia. The disease affects about 100,000 people in Washington State alone.

The Jack Straw Cultural Center has developed several different audio production programs for blind and visually impaired individuals of all ages. Joan Rabinowitz, executive director at Jack Straw, noted that some of these programs have been running for more than 20 years. The Blind Youth Audio Project is an extracurricular workshop series that runs in conjunction with a University of Washington-based summer youth employment program for blind and visually impaired high school students. Students can get involved in radio theater production, interviewing, music recording and mixing, or soundscaping projects. Another program involves visually impaired high school students interviewing visually impaired adults about their careers, and how they achieved their goals. These and other initiatives have been collaborations with organizations including Humanities Washington, the Washington State School for the Blind, Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences, and the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind. And Jack Straw would love to find groups to partner with in South King County.

Our other two panelists focused on programming for special needs youth. Sammamish Arts Commissioner Lin Garretson has developed Special Arts 2Go, which partners special needs kids with high school student mentors to work together on hands-on art projects facilitated by professional instructors. Students are encouraged to express their creativity in a variety of mediums. Garretson said that the events are geared for youngsters on the autism spectrum, but that students with other special needs are welcome. Both they and their teen mentors have been enthusiastic about the program, and both sets of young people have benefited from the teamwork. The program has become immensely popular and has grown significantly in just a short period of time.

And South King County’s own Elisa Lewis, founder of the Maple Valley Youth Symphony, shared the story of how her organization formed a Jam Club when she learned that a couple of musicians in the Youth Symphony had special needs siblings. When the Jam Club started out it served just a couple of children. But as word spread about this Music Therapy based music education program, Jam Club has expanded over the last couple of years to include musicians from second grade through high school. Jam Club participants work toward musical and social goals, and perform with the Maple Valley Youth Symphony on specially selected pieces at every concert.

This program has had the additional advantage of connecting the parents of these kids and giving them a chance to share experiences and resources.

Marilyn, Joan, Lin and Elisa all provided inspiring and concrete examples of how to reach out to under-served populations in our communities. In South King County and elsewhere, let’s dedicate ourselves to doing more to dismantle barriers to participation!

Artists, submit your exhibition proposals for Gallery4Culture's 2017-2018 season!

Andrew Hoeppner. Monkeys, 2016. Ceramic, glaze, and 24K gold. Photo: Joe Freeman

Gallery4Culture showcases contemporary art, presenting the work of outstanding independent artists living in King County. Our 1,000 sq. ft. exhibition space is located on the street level of the 4Culture administrative offices in the heart of Seattle’s Pioneer Square.

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Andrew Hoeppner. Monkeys, 2016. Ceramic, glaze, and 24K gold. Photo: Joe Freeman
Andrew Hoeppner. Monkeys, 2016. Ceramic, glaze, and 24K gold. Photo: Joe Freeman

Gallery4Culture showcases contemporary art, presenting the work of outstanding independent artists living in King County. Our 1,000 sq. ft. exhibition space is located on the street level of the 4Culture administrative offices in the heart of Seattle’s Pioneer Square.

Visual artists working in all media and genres are invited to submit solo, collaborative and group exhibition proposals for our next season, which runs from September 2017-July 2018. Emerging artists and those whose approach to studio practice is underrepresented in commercial venues are especially encouraged to apply.

Selected artists will receive curatorial direction, communications/PR support, and a $500 honorarium to help defray expenses.

Visit the 4Culture OPPORTUNITIES page and scroll to King County, WA + Gallery4Culture to find the detailed call, materials checklist, and a link to the online application.

The deadline for submissions is Monday, January 9, 2017.

Contact Jordan Howland at 206.263.1589 with questions.

galleries.4culture.org