Help Shape Cultural Access Washington

Students attend a field trip at the Burke Museum, 2011. Image courtesy of the Burke.

After nearly seven years of work by a wide coalition of Washington State cultural organizations and leaders, a bill called Cultural Access Washington (CAWA) passed through the state legislature last summer, making a path for a public vote. The bill would use funds generated by a small sales tax increase to make cultural experiences of all kinds more accessible to Washingtonians.

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Students attend a field trip at the Burke Museum, 2011. Image courtesy of the Burke.
Students attend a field trip at the Burke Museum, 2011. Image courtesy of the Burke.

After nearly seven years of work by a wide coalition of Washington State cultural organizations and leaders, a bill called Cultural Access Washington (CAWA) passed through the state legislature last summer, making a path for a public vote. The bill would use funds generated by a small sales tax increase to make cultural experiences of all kinds more accessible to Washingtonians.

Help make CAWA as strong as it can be! Before seeking voter approval, cultural organizations from all over the region will be tackling the bill through five main components, and discussing them at public meetings happening this month. You are invited to attend these meetings and give your input on what will eventually be the CAWA funding program! The full schedule is as follows:

Eligibility
Wednesday, August 24, 3:00 pm
Burien Community Center
Discussion points: Defining eligibility to ensure equity is the highest priority, funding the greatest number of cultural organizations possible under existing legislation.

Education
Wednesday, August 24, 1:00 pm
Renton Highlands King County Library
Discussion points: Distributing the educational funds in the most effective way, supporting the most effective opportunities for learning both in and out of the classroom.

Community Organizations and Initiatives – combined meeting
Wednesday, August 24, 10:00 am
Carco Theatre
Discussion points: Using CAWA funds as a catalyst for change and better practices in the cultural sector, defining eligibility to allow the greatest access to funding for organizations and individuals.

Regional Organizations
Tuesday, August 30, 3:00 pm
Woodland Park Zoo
Discussion points: Reporting and eligibility requirements, developing a shared definition of public access/public benefit.

Full Convening – Public Meeting
Wednesday, September 21, 4-6:00 pm
Washington Hall
The First Draft of  CAWA program recommendations and framework will be presented for review and feedback.

Check in on this post or contact willow.fox@4Culture.org for the latest updates.

 

Claude Zervas to Create Art for Swedish Skybridge

¾ Time, 2014, Collaboration with Joseph Park, acrylic paint, 8’ x 200’, Civic Square Fence, Cherry Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues, City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. Photo by Claude Zervas.

We’re excited to announce the next step in our ongoing work with Swedish as they complete the First Hill Mile, a one-mile pedestrian loop to promote walking and wellness in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood. Artist Claude Zervas has been selected to create art for a new 210-foot skybridge that will cross Minor Avenue between Columbia and Cherry Streets.

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¾ Time, 2014, Collaboration with Joseph Park, acrylic paint, 8’ x 200’, Civic Square Fence, Cherry Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues, City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. Photo by Claude Zervas.
¾ Time, 2014, Collaboration with Joseph Park, acrylic paint, 8’ x 200’, Civic Square Fence, Cherry Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues, City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. Photo by Claude Zervas.

We’re excited to announce the next step in our ongoing work with Swedish as they complete the First Hill Mile, a one-mile pedestrian loop to promote walking and wellness in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood. Artist Claude Zervas has been selected to create art for a new 210-foot skybridge that will cross Minor Avenue between Columbia and Cherry Streets.

The skybridge and the First Hill Mile are components of Swedish’s Public Art Program, which seeks to support wellness and spotlight Northwest artists by sharing the hospital’s art collection with the public. In this spirit, although the bridge will primarily be used by hospital visitors and staff, it will also be visible from Minor Avenue, bringing the healing power of art to the neighborhood.

Claude Zervas, whose body of work is a balance of process inspired by both science and art, is the perfect choice for this unique space. Zervas lives and works in Seattle, and has shown widely in the U.S. and Canada. Working with everything from paint to video to electronic sculpture, Zervas is known for his sophisticated approach to color and light, often influenced by nature. Zervas plans to use this approach to transform the visitor experience of the skybridge space, creating a work that is in tune with the flow of the building, but that also transcends it by reflecting on the natural world and connects to the environment.

Stay tuned to see how this and other projects transform Swedish and First Hill!

King County's Essential Tools: Equipment Grant Recipients

One of five lawns at the historic Dunn Gardens that will be cared for by a brand new mower. © 2014, courtesy of Dunn Gardens

When you take an art class, see a play, or check out an exhibit, it can be easy to overlook all the tools that go into making those experiences possible—but for the organizations who put them on, equipment is critical. Through our Cultural Equipment grant, we help fund the things that get used day-in and day-out. They’re not always the most glamorous—kiosks, shelving, data servers—but in the hands of King County’s cultural organizations, they make a big impact. We just awarded our 2016 Cultural Equipment grants! Here are a few highlights:

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2015 Centennial video shoot © 2014, courtesy of Dunn Gardens
One of five lawns at the historic Dunn Gardens that will be cared for by a brand new mower. © 2014, courtesy of Dunn Gardens

When you take an art class, see a play, or check out an exhibit, it can be easy to overlook all the tools that go into making those experiences possible—but for the organizations who put them on, equipment is critical. Through our Cultural Equipment grant, we help fund the things that get used day-in and day-out. They’re not always the most glamorous—kiosks, shelving, data servers—but in the hands of King County’s cultural organizations, they make a big impact. We just awarded our 2016 Cultural Equipment grants! Here are a few highlights:

The Arab Center of Washington noticed something missing from their otherwise successful 2015 Arab Festival at Seattle Center: performances by youth. To promote Arab arts among our region’s young people, the ACW has partnered with Waseem Sbait, a local musician, and Laila Taji, a community organizer, to offer classes centered around the derbekkeh, a durable and kid-friendly drum. After piloting an Arabic derbekkeh class this spring with a small group of preschoolers using borrowed drums, Waseem, Laila, and the ACW are ready to expand. Using their Equipment grant, they’ll purchase 10 derbekkeh drums and plan to offer a 4-week class this fall!

Every week, the Grounds Manager at the historic Dunn Gardens faces a daunting task: mowing 65,000 square feet of grass across five different lawns using a 16-year-old lawnmower. Additionally, in the fall months, that same mower is also used to clean up and shred fallen leaves which, together with the grass clippings, is used to make a mulch compost that nurtures the large planting beds originally designed by the famous Olmsted brothers in 1916. After many years of service, the lawnmower will be retired, and replaced by a John Deere 1023E Sub-Compact Utility Tractor, which will be able to support the work of preserving this piece of Seattle’s past.

Seattle Children’s Theatre, along with many other King County theaters, are doing the critical work of making their performances accessible to hearing-impaired attendees. SCT’s current Assistive Listening System is more than 20 years old and soon to be discontinued, but with help from an Equipment grant, this year they’ll replace it with Hearing Loop technology in both of their theatres. The process, which involves moving and then restoring some seats and carpeted areas to accommodate the equipment, will ensure a full and high quality audio experience for all hearing-impaired patrons at SCT. Look for the system to be up and running in time for SCT’s new season in October!

See the full list of this year’s Cultural Equipment grant recipients!

 

Help Set the SODO Track in Motion

SODO Track artwork by Kyler Martz.

For many years, Seattle’s community of artists and advocates imagined turning the SODO busway into a vibrant street art corridor. This summer, after years of conversations with the SODO BIA, Sound Transit, and Urban ArtWorks and nearly a year since teaming up with Planning Artist Gage Hamilton, we’re finally bringing that vision to life!

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SODO Track artwork by Kyler Martz.
SODO Track artwork by Kyler Martz.

For many years, Seattle’s community of artists and advocates imagined turning the SODO busway into a vibrant street art corridor. This summer, after years of conversations with the SODO BIA, Sound Transit, and Urban ArtWorks and nearly a year since teaming up with Planning Artist Gage Hamilton, we’re finally bringing that vision to life!

We’re kicking off the project in style, and you’re invited. Head to SODO and make this exciting launch event part of your Seattle Art Fair celebrations:

Saturday, August 6, 6:00-9:00 pm
Metropolist, 2931 First Avenue South, Suite A, Seattle
A suggested $20 donation at the door includes two drink tickets (21 and over) and a special guest music performance. See street art in progress on the big screen, enjoy food trucks, find out how you can help out with this project, and more!

The first phase of painting is underway! Artists from Germany, the Netherlands, Los Angeles, Portland, and, of course, Seattle are hard at work in SODO, painting through August 10. Get to know them at sodotrack.com, and get a peek at what they’re each creating for the SODO Track on Instagram by checking out #SODOtrack.

Artist Ola Volo at work on a mural for the SODO Track. Photo by @wiseknave.
Artist Ola Volo at work on a mural for the SODO Track. Photo by @wiseknave.

If you’d like to join the team, stay tuned to 4Culture this summer for information on a call for artists for a Muralist Roster. This list of pre-qualified artists will be used as a resource to staff projects for the SODO Track and throughout King County. We’ll be taking applications through October! The SODO Track will transform 2 miles of SODO building backs into an international arts destination over the next three summers. Artists from around the world will paint alongside the Pacific Northwest’s best, marking SODO as the creative gateway to Seattle, and making your experience of traveling through the neighborhood so exciting you won’t be able to look away.

Come See Us at Seattle Art Fair!

Image courtesy of Seattle Art Fair.

After incredible success in its first year, Seattle Art Fair is back August 4—7 at CenturyLink Field Event Center, and we’re excited to be part of the festivities! Whether you’re an artist, gallery-owner, arts administrator, or someone who just loves seeing great art, come chat with us—we’ll have a table at the Fair all weekend long.  Thanks to a great partnership with the team at Art Fair, we’re able to offer discounts to our friends and supporters—enjoy!

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Image courtesy of Seattle Art Fair.
Image courtesy of Seattle Art Fair.

After incredible success in its first year, Seattle Art Fair is back August 4—7 at CenturyLink Field Event Center, and we’re excited to be part of the festivities! Whether you’re an artist, gallery-owner, arts administrator, or someone who just loves seeing great art, come chat with us—we’ll have a table at the Fair all weekend long.  Thanks to a great partnership with the team at Art Fair, we’re able to offer discounts to our friends and supporters—enjoy!

We have lots to share about what’s going on in the arts in King County.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to see Andrew Hoeppner’s exhibition Monkey God at Gallery4Culture, now is the perfect time! We’ve extended the run of this fascinating show through August 8, and we’ll be celebrating it on Thursday, August 4, 6:00—8:00 pm. Openings for both Art Fair and Out of Sight will be happening that evening—if you’re attending, make sure to stop by our gallery in Pioneer Square on your way there or home!

One project we’re especially excited to share this summer is the launch of the SODO Track! For nearly a year, we’ve been working with Planning Artist Gage Hamilton, the SODO BIA, and Urban ArtWorks to transform more than 2 miles of building backs along the SODO Busway into a street art corridor unlike any other in the world. Help us kick off this project in style on Saturday, August 6, 6:00—9:00 pm at Metropolist in SODO.

Make sure to check out Satellite Seattle, an incredibly robust resource for anyone experiencing the arts in Seattle during Art Fair. It hosts information on events, shows, artists, and more, both at Art Fair and all around it. We highly recommend making it your go-to calendar throughout this busy weekend.

See you out there!

Restored: Hori Furoba at the Neely Mansion

Hori bath house temporarily moved to prepare for a new foundation © 2015, photo by Linda Van Nest, courtesy of Neely Mansion Association

After years of planning and investment, the Neely Mansion Association recently unveiled the restored Hori Furoba, one of the few known examples of an extant Japanese-style bath house built by Japanese Americans in this country. With partial funding from 4Culture, the Association was able to develop and implement a preservation plan for the bath house, and also celebrate its restoration with a public dedication and festival. About this tremendous effort, the Association writes:

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Hori bath house temporarily moved to prepare for a new foundation © 2015, photo by Linda Van Nest, courtesy of Neely Mansion Association
Hori bath house temporarily moved to prepare for a new foundation © 2015, photo by Linda Van Nest, courtesy of Neely Mansion Association

After years of planning and investment, the Neely Mansion Association recently unveiled the restored Hori Furoba, one of the few known examples of an extant Japanese-style bath house built by Japanese Americans in this country. With partial funding from 4Culture, the Association was able to develop and implement a preservation plan for the bath house, and also celebrate its restoration with a public dedication and festival. About this tremendous effort, the Association writes:

HoriWe are proud to announce that restoration of the historic 1930’s Hori Furoba at Neely Mansion has been completed and is now open for public viewing! A designated King County Landmark, this rare Japanese American bath house is a physical reminder of the immigrant families who farmed the surrounding area during the 1920s and 30s, and their lasting impact within the local community. The restoration efforts included planning, design, restoration of original wood elements, a new roof and foundation, and even an archeological dig. Nearly $70,000 in funds paid for the project, including grants from King County and 4Culture.

On Saturday, June 25 the public dedication and celebration for the Hori Furoba restoration was held on the grounds of Neely Mansion. At noon the dedication ceremony began with a description of the families who lived and worked in the mansion, including the Japanese-American Fukuda and Hori families. The history and process of the extensive restoration efforts for the Furoba were shared, followed by comments from Hori family members. The Reverend Ogui of the White River Buddhist Temple then blessed the newly restored building.

Seattle Matsui Taiko drummers performed vigorously and loudly on the front lawn, as visitors watched in appreciation. The Japanese Minyo Dancers were next with intricate dances and wearing colorful costumes. Both groups performed throughout the afternoon and encouraged the public to participate in the activities. Tours of the Hori Furoba took place all afternoon, featuring the replicated soaking tub and inside laundry area. In the Neely Mansion, Ikebana arrangements were placed in several of the main rooms and refreshments were available for all.

We would like to thank all of the members of the public that helped us celebrate this auspicious occasion, and special thanks to the Hori Bath House Restoration Committee, BOLA Architecture, SWCA, Big Fish Construction, King County, and 4Culture!

Guest Post: Seeds

Creative Justice 2016, Session 2 participants creating mosaics at Pratt Fine Arts. Photo by Timothy Aguero Photography.

Olisa Enrico-Johnson is a Mentor Artist in our Creative Justice program, an arts-based alternative to youth incarceration in King County. After leading a group of court-involved youth through three months of creating and dialogue, she shares her insights:

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Creative Justice 2016, Session 2. Photo by Timothy Aguero Photography.
Creative Justice 2016, Session 2 participants creating mosaics at Pratt Fine Arts. Photo by Timothy Aguero Photography.

Olisa Enrico-Johnson is a Mentor Artist in our Creative Justice program, an arts-based alternative to youth incarceration in King County. After leading a group of court-involved youth through three months of creating and dialogue, she shares her insights:

The first day of our 12 week session. Chairs set in a circle. A black journal on each chair. I sat on the floor waiting as they came in. The postures posited, who was this woman? What does she want from me? The thing about young people is that they can smell bologna from a mile away. Knowing this I left all of my processed fake mindset in my past. I know that if they do not trust me and my intentions that our time together will be fruitless so I make an offer of truth. I tell them that they can ask me anything on this day and this day only. Stumped by my offering they asked simple questions about my life, do you have children, how old are they, what’s your favorite color. The most important question hangs in the air “Why are you doing this program?” I shared my truth and in return they shared theirs. From our first story circle to our last they were as amazingly wonderful as I had hoped they would be.

We began the 12 week session with ‘getting to know you’ and each week we built together, created together and ate together. We examined the world around us and our place in it. We dipped our hands into the soil as we planted seeds that we would take turns watering, recording our hopes for our plants in our black journals. We hoped they would grow.

The seeds planted by Olisa and participants grew into plants. Photo by Tim Aguero Photography.
Session participants planted seeds that were nurtured into a garden. Photo by Tim Aguero Photography.

Each week we planted metaphorical seeds. I hoped they would grow. We talked about food deserts and created food art. We learned about the power that words have over water and contemplated our bodies as bodies of water that words in this world have power over. We shared stories of identity and interrogated how we fit into our worlds, discovering how our realities may or may not overlap. We wrote poetry. We laughed. We sang karaoke and discussed how music exists in our lives and in our culture. We wrote poetry, made mosaics, designed shirts and painted on canvas. Each week we dabbled in a new art form, a smorgasbord of creative endeavors. Most of these forms I had truly minimal experience in. That didn’t matter. We were trying new things and producing works of art!

Each week we gathered to examine the “Stories of Self” through artistic expression. From the beginning it was my desire to impart to them that we are all learning and that we have not arrived. I remember being 15 years old feeling as if I was done growing. The most important lesson I have learned over the years is that I am always learning. Life is a journey and we arrive at the destination when we die. It was my goal as the Mentor Artist to not only introduce them to art forms but to also expose myself to new art forms and in that way model the truth that we are all growing and that we must nourish ourselves, mind and body.

When we culminated for our final presentation the youth represented themselves. I received kudos for the work that they had done. I smiled and thanked people for their compliments. I would reply each time “It was them, their ideas, their work. Aren’t they amazing?” I led the journey but they walked the path. It is Indeed the journey that is the thing, it is the process of discovery, of uncovering our own human potential. Plant seeds in fertile soil, water them and let them bask free in the light of the sun. They just might grow.

Conductive Garboil Grant Open Now

Past Recipients Paul Rucker (Photo by Wendy Johnson), Christian French, and Jeppa Hall (Photo by Russell Daniels)

Seattle artist Su Job was a woman of extraordinary energy and drive, fiercely dedicated to her art and to the Pioneer Square neighborhood. She believed that the value of art should transcend the buying and selling of objects, and that artists should take responsibility in their communities to stimulate ideas, conversation and change. This grant opportunity seeks artists with many of the same attributes and attitudes.

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Past Recipients Paul Rucker (Photo by Wendy Johnson), Christian French, and Jeppa Hall (Photo by Russell Daniels)
Past Recipients Paul Rucker (Photo by Wendy Johnson), Christian French, and Jeppa Hall (Photo by Russell Daniels)

Seattle artist Su Job was a woman of extraordinary energy and drive, fiercely dedicated to her art and to the Pioneer Square neighborhood. She believed that the value of art should transcend the buying and selling of objects, and that artists should take responsibility in their communities to stimulate ideas, conversation and change. This grant opportunity seeks artists with many of the same attributes and attitudes.

Su passed away in 2008—in honor of her legacy and to carry out her vision, we partner with her estate and Artist Trust to offer an annual, unrestricted grant of $3,000 to artists who have demonstrated a profound ability to challenge the limits of creative discourse and its effects on our society, pushing the artistic act beyond accepted limits, and who have a connection to the Pioneer Square neighborhood. Artists or artist teams working in any media or discipline can apply for this grant. Su was interested in acknowledging persons who are committed to an artistic practice that connects with community and society.

Is that you? Download and read the full Call for Artists. Apply by Monday, August 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm PST. 

Landmarks Capital Awards Announced

Virginia V, Seattle © 2016, courtesy of Steamer Virginia V Foundation

4Culture’s 2016 Landmarks Capital program will support a diverse array of projects to revitalize historic places across King County. This year, among 42 applicants, seven were new to the program. Twelve applicants were recommended for funding, with awards ranging from $14,471 to $30,000.

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Steamer Virginia V Foundation_99 Virginia V at LUP
Virginia V, Seattle © 2016, courtesy of Steamer Virginia V Foundation

4Culture’s 2016 Landmarks Capital program will support a diverse array of projects to revitalize historic places across King County. This year, among 42 applicants, seven were new to the program. Twelve applicants were recommended for funding, with awards ranging from $14,471 to $30,000.

Landmarks Capital grants go towards design, materials, and labor to repair and restore designated landmarks. Properties may be held in public, non-profit, and private ownership. Projects are evaluated for their quality, impact, and feasibility, and additional priority is given to projects that address an urgent preservation or stabilization need.

This year’s projects represent a diverse range of property types and communities. The full list of awards may be viewed under the “Recipients” tab on the program webpage. Here are a few highlights:

  • First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Seattle (FAME), a first-time applicant, was awarded $15,000 to support the preservation of stained glass windows. This congregation was incorporated in Washington State in 1891, and its 1912 building is the oldest church founded by African Americans in Seattle. Memorial windows, imported from Italy, include the names of many of the church’s founders. FAME is developing a long-term plan to restore all of its stained glass windows, and 4Culture’s grant will help to address the most immediate stabilization and repair needs.
  • An award of $20,900 will fund urgent repairs to the milk shed at the Dougherty Farmstead in Duvall. The foundation of the milk shed has cracked, causing the building to shift and requiring that it be closed to public access. This historic farmstead, which dates to 1888, is now owned by the City of Duvall and operated in partnership with the Duvall Historical Society. It’s a popular destination for school groups and visitors with an interest in agricultural history.
  • The National Historic Landmark S.S. Virginia V is one of two remaining Mosquito Fleet ferryboats that once served the Puget Sound, and transported passengers between Tacoma, Vashon Island, and Seattle from 1922-1941. Today the Virginia V serves as a floating classroom for maritime history, hosting over 15,000 people per year through public programs, events, and charters. Landmarks Capital funding of $15,900 will go towards restoring the wheelhouse, including the cabin eyebrow and port side window sill.

Thanks to all who applied for Landmarks Capital funding this year. The commitment and dedication of so many landmark owners to the stewardship of their properties is truly inspiring. Thanks, too, to the grant review panelists who worked hard to make sure the process was fair and equitable, in their consideration of many deserving projects.

July at Gallery4Culture: Andrew Hoeppner

© 2016 Andrew Hoeppner. Coyote with Rabbit. Ceramic. 33 x 48 x 24 inches. Photo: Phillip Carpenter.

Andrew Hoeppner
Monkey God
July 7—August 8*, 2016
Opening: July 7, 6—8 pm
Closing: August 4, 6—8 pm
*Exhibition extends through August 8th to align with the Seattle Art Fair

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© 2016 Andrew Hoeppner. Coyote with Rabbit. Ceramic. 33 x 48 x 24 inches. Photo: Phillip Carpenter.
© 2016 Andrew Hoeppner. Coyote with Rabbit. Ceramic. 33 x 48 x 24 inches. Photo: Phillip Carpenter.

Andrew Hoeppner
Monkey God
July 7—August 8*, 2016
Opening: July 7, 6—8 pm
Closing: August 4, 6—8 pm
*Exhibition extends through August 8th to align with the Seattle Art Fair

Artist Andrew Hoeppner’s solo exhibition, Monkey God, investigates themes of human identity and our relationship to the natural world, transforming Gallery4Culture with vivid, illustrative ceramic objects.

Hoeppner’s practice is intuitive. He allows instinct and discovery to guide his process. Like a collection of sketches, this new body of work expresses a rawness and sense of urgency. Every notable sculptural decision is apparent, and he celebrates the alchemic beauty of glaze with wildly opulent surfaces that have developed with each piece.

The semiotic connections between the sculptures reflect his current interests in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting as well as American folk art, engaging the audience with approachable, real-life subjects and eliciting equal concern for object and sentiment.

Hoeppner states, “Monkey God is a metaphor I use to describe the perception of self. This exhibition explores the definition of humanity. What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to have language, the ability to read, think, and write? How have we developed a collective consciousness and the power to intuit? What makes me a man, and you a woman? What is our relationship to the natural world? In their own way, each object is an attempt to answer these questions.”

About the Artist: Originally from California, Andrew Hoeppner received a BFA in Ceramics from Sierra Nevada College in 2011. He then pursued post-baccalaureate studies at the University of Montana and completed an internship and international residency at Medalta in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. In 2014, Andrew graduated with a MFA in Sculpture from the University of Washington’s 3D4M program and traveled to Vallauris, France, progressing his work at the Vallauris Residency while studying the ceramic collection of Pablo Picasso and the paintings of Henri Matisse. Andrew is currently an Artist in Residence at Seattle’s Pottery Northwest, the Pacific Northwest’s premier ceramics facility. He was just awarded a 2016 Fellowship from Artist Trust.

Creative Justice Honored with PAN Award

Mentor Artist, Shontina Vernon. Creative Justice 2015: Session 1. Timothy Aguero Photography.

We are thrilled to announce that Creative Justice, our arts-based alternative to incarceration for young people in King County, has been recognized with a Public Art Network (PAN) Year in Review award!

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Mentor artist, Shontina Vernon. Creative Justice 2015: Session 1. Timothy Aguero Photography.
Mentor Artist, Shontina Vernon. Creative Justice 2015: Session 1. Timothy Aguero Photography.

We are thrilled to announce that Creative Justice, our arts-based alternative to incarceration for young people in King County, has been recognized with a Public Art Network (PAN) Year in Review award!

Piloted in 2015, the program is funded by Percent for Art revenue generated through the design and construction of the county’s new Children and Family Justice Center—which will collocate the region’s juvenile court and jail—and a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Forty eight youth facing criminal charges worked with mentor artists—Aaron Counts, Daemond Arrindell, Nikkita Oliver, Otieno Terry, and Shontina Vernon—instead of being detained. In exchange for their creative work and through partnership with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, participants received community service credit, cash stipends, and a range of court benefits. Of the 48 participants, 29 had their charges dismissed. King County is now asking that the program be expanded in 2016 and beyond.

Creative Justice is one of 38 outstanding public artworks to be honored by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. PAN is the only national program that specifically celebrates the most compelling public art. Three of the projects recognized this year were supported by Washington State organizations.

Of the award, Aaron Counts, Lead Engagement Artist for Creative Justice, said:

The Creative Justice team is grateful for this acknowledgement, and so proud of the work we’re doing. The school to prison pipeline is real, and far too many of our youth—most of them black, brown, and poor—are jailed despite major research that shows incarceration does not make communities any safer.

Rather than further stigmatize and isolate young people in crisis, Creative Justice rallies around them, providing creative development through meaningful interactions with supportive mentor artists. But more importantly, Creative Justice has asked our juvenile justice system to behave differently, too: by viewing our youth with a wider lens, trusting the community to address its own needs, and celebrating the strengths and creativity of young people who are trying to navigate a complex world.

Using the power of art to share our struggles and articulate our potential, Creative Justice is building a stronger community here in King County.

Learn more about the program, its impact, and the incredible creative work of our youth at creativejustice.4culture.org.