An Evening of Art and Water in Georgetown

Sans façon, Fire Hydrant Drinking Fountains: Group, photo courtesy of the artists.

What can artists offer in the context of a city-wide water infrastructure project? Plenty.

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Sans façon, Fire Hydrant Drinking Fountains: Group, photo courtesy of the artists.
Sans façon, Fire Hydrant Drinking Fountains: Group, photo courtesy of the artists.

What can artists offer in the context of a city-wide water infrastructure project? Plenty.

King County and Seattle are realizing an ambitious plan to protect the health of our waterways. A complex network of facilities, treatment, and conveyance, King County’s control plan in Seattle is designed to dramatically limit combined sewer overflows—or CSOs—caused by excess stormwater in the sewer system on rainy days. CSOs exist only in older Seattle neighborhoods, where one set of pipes carries both sewage and stormwater. The facilities built in those neighborhoods include a provision for 1% for public art.

…the CSO system is everywhere, it affects us all….miles of pipes, treatment and tanks, networking water around the city—movement and drama underground the mind can barely imagine. This is where artists can excel, expressing big ideas, connections seen and unseen, tapping feelings and emotions, exposing the essence of what it is to be human and relate to the world around us.
-From the CSO Art Master Plan

In March of last year we announced that Sans façon had been selected to develop a CSO Art Master Plan. The plan is now complete and the planning artists are ready to share their recommendations for how art experiences can create an emotional connection to the CSO system for citizens at an event that is free and open to the public. In the first hour, Sans façon will present the CSO Art Master Plan curatorial framework, ethos, and opportunities for commissioned artists. In the second hour, a panel discussion will focus on artists working in the context of water utilities and infrastructure. Join us!

Art + Water at Oxbow in Georgetown
June 16, 2016, 7:00—9:00 pm
6118 12th Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98108

Washington Hall Reopening

The Central District’s Washington Hall is fully restored and ready for audiences. Photo by Kji Kelly, Historic Seattle.

On Wednesday, June 1, Historic Seattle will mark the reopening of Washington Hall with a free celebration hosted in conjunction with anchor partner organizations 206 Zulu, Hidmo, and Voices Rising. From 5:00—8:00 pm, all are invited to visit the newly restored Hall and enjoy music and light refreshments.

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The Central District's Washington Hall is fully restored and ready for audiences. Photo by Kji Kelly, Historic Seattle.
The Central District’s Washington Hall is fully restored and ready for audiences. Photo by Kji Kelly, Historic Seattle.

On Wednesday, June 1, Historic Seattle will mark the reopening of Washington Hall with a free celebration hosted in conjunction with anchor partner organizations 206 Zulu, Hidmo, and Voices Rising. From 5:00—8:00 pm, all are invited to visit the newly restored Hall and enjoy music and light refreshments.

“Washington Hall has served a cross-section of citizens for more than 100 years, and we are proud to have successfully restored this beloved building so that it can continue to meet the needs of the community and provide a home for arts and culture,” says Historic Seattle’s Executive Director, Kji Kelly.

Built in 1908 for the Danish Brotherhood, Washington Hall originally served as a fraternal lodge, settlement house, and center for social and cultural activities of Seattle’s Danish immigrant population. Over time the Hall became a hub for social and cultural activities reflecting a broad array of ethnic communities. This is a building that many have called home, as it served as an affordable rental facility and hub for activities within the local Jewish, Filipino, African American, Korean, Eritrean, Ethiopian and other communities.

The "Hall for All" has served the community since 1908. Photo by Kji Kelly.
The “Hall for All” has served the community since 1908. Photo by Kji Kelly.

Washington Hall has also served as a popular performing arts venue, hosting musicians and speakers such as Marian Anderson, Mahalia Jackson, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Jimi Hendrix, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Joe Louis. Many of these events were held at Washington Hall because it was the only venue of significant capacity in Seattle that would allow people of color to perform.

Although the Hall had consistently been used as a performance space since its construction, it had fallen into disrepair and was in danger of demolition before Historic Seattle negotiated a purchase in June 2009, with help from 4Culture. Since acquiring the building, Historic Seattle has conducted a 7-year campaign totaling nearly $10 million to finance four phases of construction. This campaign culminated in November 2015 with a King County Building for Culture grant to fully fund the recently completed final phase of construction.

Upon the reopening of Washington Hall, the anchor partner organizations will manage its operations and continuing use, and will ensure that the “Hall for All” continues to serve the Central District community’s needs for performance, gathering, and meeting spaces. Historic Seattle will retain ownership of the property and ensure its long-term maintenance and stewardship. This self-sustaining operating model guarantees that Washington Hall will be a vibrant, affordable, diverse arts and cultural facility that serves Seattle and King County’s arts, heritage, and preservation communities.

Following the June 1 opening celebration, this summer will see all kinds of performances and events at Washington Hall! Mark your calendar for this month’s happenings:

Jazz Intoxication with HistoryLink
Friday, June 10, 7:00—10:00 pm
Relive the first documented jazz performance in Washington state, exactly 98 years later in the place where it happened!

King Khazm: Diaries of a MAD
Friday, June 17, 8:00 pm
Hip Hop emcee and producer King Khazm presents a double album release and theatrical interpretation of how a bi-racial, disabled youth was able to overcome challenges in Seattle’s Southend.

Guest Post: Breaking Ground on the New Burke Museum

Last summer, we announced our Building for Culture initiative. This historic $28 million investment in our cultural infrastructure is now in motion all over King County, including, most recently, at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Alaina Fuld, Director of External Affairs at the Burke, recaps a major milestone in the museum’s ambitious plan to build the New Burke:

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Last summer, we announced our Building for Culture initiative. This historic $28 million investment in our cultural infrastructure is now in motion all over King County, including, most recently, at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Alaina Fuld, Director of External Affairs at the Burke, recaps a major milestone in the museum’s ambitious plan to build the New Burke:

Elected officials, Burke and University of Washington leaders, and University Temple Children’s School students break ground on the New Burke. Photo: Burke Museum.
Elected officials, Burke and University of Washington leaders, and University Temple Children’s School students break ground on the New Burke. Photo: Burke Museum.

First dates and first dinosaur sightings. A room full of adults clamoring to touch a mammoth tusk. A teenager experiencing a new sense of pride in his culture. “A-ha” moments and deep relationships that span decades.

These were just a few of the stories shared as more than 500 people gathered on Wednesday, May 18, to celebrate breaking ground on the New Burke: a new, flagship facility for the Washington State Museum of Natural History and Culture planned to open in 2019.

The new, 113,000 sq. ft. building located on the University of Washington (UW) Seattle campus will be 60% larger than the current facility. The New Burke will have an innovative “inside-out” design, integrating exhibits and learning areas with visible research labs and collections storage throughout the museum.

“[In the new facility] the Burke will be better able to share the story of the Northwest and our place in the world. It will inspire understanding, wonder and pride in this place we call home,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Architectural rendering showing the paleontology collections space in the New Burke. Illustration: Olson Kundig, Stephanie Bower Architectural Illustration.
Architectural rendering showing the paleontology collections space in the New Burke. Illustration: Olson Kundig, Stephanie Bower Architectural Illustration.

For nearly eight decades, the Burke collections lacked a permanent home, moving between UW buildings. Today, the absence of climate control and backup power in the current facility, erected in 1962, now threaten the long-term viability of our state’s natural and cultural heritage collections—a total of more than 16 million objects.

In the New Burke, climate control and backup power will protect the collections for decades to come. State-of-the-art labs will serve more students, researchers and artists. More education space will allow the Burke to potentially double the number of Pre-K–12 students served each year.

Students from the University Temple Children’s School—located across the street from the site of the New Burke—joined project donors and officials for the ceremonial groundbreaking. The group used shovels, pick axes and other field tools used by Burke archaeologists and paleontologists for the “dig.”

[youtube width=”610″ height=”493″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HE01_bZJtog[/youtube]

The groundbreaking was the culmination of a year filled with exciting steps toward the New Burke: completing design of the new building; receiving funding from the State of Washington, King County and the City of Seattle; success in private fundraising; and receiving approval from the UW Board of Regents to break ground.

To-date, $67 million of the total $99 million project budget has been raised. The museum will request $24.2 million from the State of Washington in 2017, and continue to raise private funds.

Consultation with diverse community groups about the exhibits and education programs being developed for the New Burke will also be a major focus for the coming years.

“The Burke Museum has been exploring our shared heritage and natural history for 135 years,” said Constantine. “This new building will help continue that tradition for a new, and very different, century.”

View more photos from the New Burke Groundbreaking Ceremony. Learn more about the New Burke: newburke.org.

May 2016 is Arts Education Month

The King County Council designates May 2016 as Arts Education Month in King County.

At its May 16 meeting the King County Council issued a proclamation designating May 2016 as Arts Education Month in King County, extolling the benefits of a complete arts education and recognizing the efforts of arts educators and advocates throughout the county for their commitment to providing a comprehensive arts education for all students. Thank you King County Council for your support of this critical issue!

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The King County Council designates May 2016 as Arts Education Month in King County.
The King County Council designates May 2016 as Arts Education Month in King County.

At its May 16 meeting the King County Council issued a proclamation designating May 2016 as Arts Education Month in King County, extolling the benefits of a complete arts education and recognizing the efforts of arts educators and advocates throughout the county for their commitment to providing a comprehensive arts education for all students. Thank you King County Council for your support of this critical issue!

Supporting that work, 4Culture and ArtsEd Washington have just released the Cornerstones of Creativity (C3) Report that details the results of a county-wide survey conducted in 2015 of all 19 King County school districts that included one-on-one interviews with district leadership and a follow-up online survey.

The Six Key Features for Equity in Arts Education were identified through research conducted by ArtsEd Washington and supported by 4Culture.
The Six Key Features for Equity in Arts Education were identified through research conducted by ArtsEd Washington and supported by 4Culture.

Cornerstones of Creative Capacity is a research project designed to support equity in arts education by identifying the current arts education infrastructure reality in school districts throughout King County, Washington and determining infrastructure essentials to sustain arts education as defined by state policy and law.

The Six Key Features for Equity in Arts Education were identified through this research. They are intended as guideposts to support administrators, educators, and partners as they work to provide high-quality arts education equitably to all students within their districts. We encourage you to engage with this material and to share widely among colleagues, advocates, funders, and community partners.

More information on this project, as well as the detailed findings and implications, can be found in the Cornerstones of Creative Capacity Full Report from which the Key Features are drawn.

Guest Post: Do You Know Where Your Water Comes From?

One in special series of collagraphs Eunice Kim has created for Nontoxic Nontoxic Printmaking at Cedar River Watershed. Learn to print this and more on a portable "mini" press! Photo courtesy of the artist.

Eunice Kim is an internationally recognized printmaker living and working in Ravensdale, Southeast King County. She received a 2015 Tech Specific grant for her project Nontoxic Printmaking at Cedar River Watershed. Here, she tells us a little bit about the upcoming program.

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Eunice Kim is an internationally recognized printmaker living and working in Ravensdale, Southeast King County. She received a 2015 Tech Specific grant for her project Nontoxic Printmaking at Cedar River Watershed. Here, she tells us a little bit about the upcoming program.

Do you know where your water comes from? Join us and find out!

Our Greater Seattle area has some of the best drinking water in the world and its source is the pristine 91,000-acre Cedar River Watershed. To bring attention to this amazing natural resource, I am partnering with the Watershed’s Education Center on site to produce Nontoxic Printmaking at Cedar River Watershed, a unique hybrid of art, education, and environmental activism. In keeping with Tech-Specific theme, my project employs the oldest technology for mass communication: printmaking. That’s right. Before there was radio, television, or internet, there was the printing press!

Pristine Cedar River Watershed is the primary source of clean, safe drinking water for the Greater Seattle area. Photo courtesy of the Cedar River Watershed Education Center.
The pristine Cedar River Watershed is the primary source of clean, safe drinking water for the Greater Seattle area. Photo courtesy of the Cedar River Watershed Education Center.

For this special engagement, I have created a new series of collagraph plates via nontoxic printmaking techniques, in direct response to host organization’s mission to educate the public about stewardship, biodiversity, and sustainability of the Cedar River Watershed. And this June, I, with portable “mini” press in tow, will serve as an artist-in-residence at the Cedar River Watershed Education Center conducting hands-on workshops and providing visitors opportunity to create artworks through environmentally sound processes. Learn to work with eco-friendly water-based inks that do not require harsh solvents for cleanup (good ol’ soap and water does the job) and take away collagraphs you have inked and printed yourself as keepsakes of your visit to the Cedar River Watershed. No prior art experience is necessary!

Nontoxic Printmaking at Cedar River Watershed
Free and open to the public. Participation is on drop-in basis; all ages welcome.

Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19, 2016, 11:30 am—3:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday, June 25 and 26, 2016, 11:30 am—3:30 pm

 

This program is made possible by generous support from 4Culture, Akua Inks, Cedar River Watershed Education Center, and Puffin Foundation West. A big thank you to all the sponsors!

Collections Care Grant Now Open

Mardi Gras Float, Mardi Gras parade in the Central District, unidentified royalty riding a float, circa 1955. Photo courtesy of MOHAI, Al Smith Collection.

Storage systems, display mounts, digital scanners: Collections Care may not be our most glamorous grant program, but it’s a favorite! We love seeing the stories that emerge when our region’s historians and archivists get the support they need to care for precious artifacts. Collections Care is critical—things like shelves and cases can mean the difference between a piece of history being lost or sticking around for generations to come.

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Mardi Gras Float, Mardi Gras parade in the Central District, unidentified royalty riding a float, circa 1955. Photo courtesy of MOHAI, Al Smith Collection
Mardi Gras Float, Mardi Gras parade in the Central District, unidentified royalty riding a float, circa 1955. Photo courtesy of MOHAI, Al Smith Collection.

Storage systems, display mounts, digital scanners: Collections Care may not be our most glamorous grant program, but it’s a favorite! We love seeing the stories that emerge when our region’s historians and archivists get the support they need to care for precious artifacts. Collections Care is critical—things like shelves and cases can mean the difference between a piece of history being lost or sticking around for generations to come.

Al Smith Portrait Seattle photographer Al Smith (1916-2008) at the MOHAI opening of his exhibition Jazz on the Spot, 1994. Credit MOHAI, Howard Giske photo
Seattle photographer Al Smith (1916-2008) at the opening of his exhibition Jazz on the Spot, 1994. Courtesy of MOHAI, photo by Howard Giske.

MOHAI offers a perfect example of this. Using their 2015 Collections Care grant, the museum is bringing an incredible local story to life. Al Smith spent most of the 20th century living and photographing in Seattle’s Central District—the result is an astonishing body of work of more than 50,000 photographs, almost all of which were entrusted to MOHAI by Smith’s family in 2014. Staff have partnered with the Black Heritage Society of Washington State to assess and catalog the massive collection, and to work with the community to identify the myriad neighbors, friends, family, and coworkers who populate Smith’s soulful photographs. MOHAI’s long-term plans for the collection include digitization and an exhibit—all possible because the collection is being painstakingly cared for early on.

Applications are due Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm PDT. This grant is open to nonprofit heritage and historical organizations with collections that focus on King County history, and supports planning, training, cataloging, assessments, inventories, materials, and other collections-related projects. Make sure to read the updated guidelines carefully. Don’t forget—you can save, quit and resume your application as many times as needed until the deadline, so start early!

As with all of our grants, we offer free, drop-in workshops to help you with your application. Bring your questions to one of the workshops listed below, or feel free to contact Brian J. Carter, 4Culture’s new Heritage Lead, at brian.carter@4culture.org, or 206-263-1586.

4Culture Offices
June 9 and 20, 12:00—1:00 pm
June 2 (First Thursday – FREE Parking), 6:30—7:30 pm

Tukwila Heritage Center
May 11, 3:00—4:00 pm

Wing Luke Museum
May 31, 12:00—1:00 pm

Guest Post: Highline Historical Society Expands its Reach

The Highline Historical Society celebrates the opening of Latinos in Highline. Photo by Nancy Salguero McKay.

Nancy Salguero McKay is the Curator of Collections and Exhibits at the Highline Historical Society, soon to be the Highline Heritage Museum. As the organization grows and changes, Nancy shares some insight into how she approaches her work, and into how she and her colleagues work to reflect and engage their communities:

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Photo courtesy of the Highline Historical Society.
The Highline Historical Society celebrates the opening of Latinos in Highline. Photo by Nancy Salguero McKay.

Nancy Salguero McKay is the Curator of Collections and Exhibits at the Highline Historical Society, soon to be the Highline Heritage Museum. As the organization grows and changes, Nancy shares some insight into how she approaches her work, and into how she and her colleagues work to reflect and engage their communities:

We tell the stories of the Highline region and its people! We create exhibits, public programming, and the opportunity to add artifacts to our community collections. We are creating a bridge from the earliest pioneer recollections to the newest immigrant stories. We are the Highline Historical Society, and soon the Highline Heritage Museum. The museum is presently under construction. We are planning to open to the public during the winter of 2016.

Our passion is for our visitors to have access to a broad spectrum of information sources and cultural perspectives. We want our stories to spark discussions and to share differences and similarities. We are creating a place where visitors can connect with the stories and with each other. We envision ourselves sitting at a round table where no one is the leader and stories are heard respectfully regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disabilities or ethnicity.

An example reflecting our mission is a newly installed exhibit at the City of SeaTac. The Latinos in Highline—Moral Courage exhibit is more than a re-telling of immigration experiences. It is inspired by families starting a new life in the Highline area who showed moral courage. Every immigrant is willing to face not only physical danger but emotional pain, disapproval, even financial insecurity! They have the courage and the moral values to be honest at the risk of community rejection or retaliation. This is about families passing these values to the next generation. This exhibit will be mounted at multiple locations around Highline.

We are providing a meeting ground for everyone to express his or her voice. We are inviting visitors to respond and add cultural artifacts and historical records to display. This exhibit is about bringing the immigrant voice to the round table.

For me, the Latinos in Highline exhibit is a personal matter. As an immigrant myself I know how it feels to face painful circumstances and to overcome obstacles. It is personal to bring to the table a woman’s voice in gender differences, or as a millennial to embrace intergenerational changes, or as a person with a hearing disability using hearing aids. History is a personal matter to everyone. We all have many voices we represent; we thrive in celebrating our uniqueness and in discovering our similarities.

Visit our new website. We feel it reflects our community. We invite everyone to preserve their stories, to collect their treasures, to engage in discussions, to keep remembering, to discover new points of view, to be inspired by people, to explore our collections, to share their voices and to learn together. Our goal is to capture diverse stories. It is not just about bringing stories from a variety of different races; it is about celebrating a variety of life experiences free of bias and prejudice.

Celebrating Preservation Month

Photo courtesy of Friends of Mukai

May is Preservation Month, a time to celebrate victories as well as to shine a light on threatened places. Two historic sites in King County are emerging from many years of neglect and uncertainty, through the vigilant attention and persistent advocacy of citizens in their respective communities.

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Photo courtesy of Friends of Mukai
Photo courtesy of Friends of Mukai

May is Preservation Month, a time to celebrate victories as well as to shine a light on threatened places. Two historic sites in King County are emerging from many years of neglect and uncertainty, through the vigilant attention and persistent advocacy of citizens in their respective communities.

The Skykomish Hotel was brought back from the brink of total dilapidation last year, when the Town of Skykomish gained control of the property through a Sherriff’s sale. Skykomish then entered into a lease-purchase agreement with Revive Historic Skykomish LLC, managed by Keith Maehlum, vice president of Hal Real Estate. In March of this year, the deadline officially passed for the former owner to reclaim the property, and now its future is secure under new ownership.

Mr. Maehlum has over 20 years of real estate investment and renovation experience, and with the support of 4Culture has begun stabilizing the Skykomish Hotel and planning its full rehabilitation. The vision for the building includes dining and retail space on the first floor, with lodging on the upper floors. This rehabilitation project is transforming a decaying and hazardous building into an economic catalyst and community asset for Skykomish residents.

Purchased over two decades ago with public funds, yet never consistently open to the general public, the Mukai House and Garden on Vashon Island has been at the center of a four-year legal battle between past board members and the nonprofit Friends of Mukai. On April 4, 2016, the Washington State Court of Appeals ruled that the Friends organization is the lawful governing board and the property’s rightful owner, and they were finally granted full access to the landmark Mukai House and Garden.

With funding from 4Culture, Friends of Mukai has already started work with Tacoma-based Artifacts Consulting to draft a restoration plan for the property. For the past several years, even without control of the site, the Friends have offered public programs to share the Japanese and agricultural heritage represented by the Mukai House and Garden. Now, they will be able to directly preserve and tell the story of this important and evocative place.

The Friends of Mukai will recognized for their work with a State Historic Preservation Officer’s Special Achievement Award, conferred at a ceremony on May 17 in Olympia. 4Culture’s own former Preservation Lead, Flo Lentz, will also receive special recognition for Historic Career Achievement. In her 13 years at 4Culture, Flo provided guidance, encouragement, and resources in support of advocates for Skykomish Hotel, Mukai, and many other significant places. Her work established a model for 4Culture’s Preservation program in helping to create brighter futures for endangered historic places.

Poetry on Buses: Your Body of Water

Poetry on Buses 2016-2017, portrait of Jourdan Keith, Poet Planner. Photo by Timothy Aguero Photography.

Poetry on Buses is back! In celebration of National Poetry Month, we are proud to partner with the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture to announce a brand new season of this beloved public art program. In addition to an online poetry portal showcasing one new poem for each day of the year, this year brings community-sourced poetry in new languages, on more transit systems, and all centered on a new theme: water.

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Jourdan-Pull-Quote
Poetry on Buses 2016-2017, portrait of Jourdan Keith, Poet Planner. Photo by Timothy Aguero Photography.

Poetry on Buses is back! In celebration of National Poetry Month, we are proud to partner with the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture to announce a brand new season of this beloved public art program. In addition to an online poetry portal showcasing one new poem for each day of the year, this year brings community-sourced poetry in new languages, on more transit systems, and all centered on a new theme: water.

All King County residents are invited to submit a poem to the program online May 15 through September 30! Poems must be no more than 50 words in length and must explore the theme of water. More information—as well as the full body of poetry from last year’s program—is available at poetryonbuses.org.

Developed by Jourdan Keith, Poetry on Buses’ 2016 Poet Planner, the theme “Your Body of Water” is a poetic exploration of our connections to water. “We are all bodies of water, connected to one another through the water web,” says Keith. “Your body of water is connected to streams, rivers, lakes, tides, waterfalls, toilets and faucets…to present homes, childhood homes, and ancestral ones by memory, by the water cycle, and by stories. Come tell your story through poetry!” Keith brings more than 15 years of experience as a poet, playwright, creative non-fiction writer, and founding Director of Urban Wilderness Project to the program.

Joining Keith in leading King County in poetic exploration are an incredible team of community liaisons, who work  collaboratively with poets and Poetry on Buses staff to shape bilingual workshops tailored to the needs of King County’s diverse communities. Held from May to September, this series of free poetry workshops encourages the public to submit a poem, and is focused on the Chinese, Ethiopian, Punjabi, Spanish-speaking, African American, and Tlingit communities. Everyone is welcome to attend a workshop!

• May 1, Punjabi Workshop, Khalsa Gurmat Center, 1:30-4 p.m.
• May 15, Ethiopian Workshop, Ethiopian Community Center, 1-3:30 p.m.
• May 27, Tlingit Workshop, NW Film Forum, after party at Vermillion, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
• June 4, Spanish workshop, Seattle Central Library, 12:30-3:30 p.m.
• July 29, Chinese Workshop, Redmond Senior Center, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
• August 12, Chinese Workshop, Chinese Information Services Center, 3-5 p.m.
• August 13, English/African American Workshop, Life Enrichment Bookstore, 6-8 p.m.
• August 20, Spanish Workshop, Burien Community Center, 1-4 p.m.
• September 11, Punjabi Workshop, Khalsa Gurmat Center, 1:30-4 p.m.
• September 18, Ethiopian Workshop, Assimba Ethiopian Cuisine, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

An expanded Poetry on Buses program is made possible through a partnership between 4Culture, the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Sound Transit, King County Metro, King County Wastewater Treatment Division, King County Water and Land Resources Divisions, and Seattle Public Utilities. Poetry on Buses is managed by the Public Art staff at 4Culture and the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture using both transit- and water-related Percent-for-Art Dollars and Equity Initiative funds allocated for the commissioning and management of art in public space. It is supported through a grant from Amazon Literary Partnership.

Welcoming New Heritage Lead Brian J. Carter

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In March 2016, Brian J. Carter joined the 4Culture staff to lead the Heritage Program following the retirement of Eric Taylor. We are thrilled that Brian agreed to accept this position.

We first got to know Brian when he served as the Deputy Director and Head Curator at the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) in Seattle. Brian joined 4Culture’s Heritage Advisory Committee in 2008 and served on that body until he accepted the position of Museum Director of the Oregon Historical Society in 2012. Brian returned to Seattle in 2014 to accept the position of Director of Interpretation at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Brian is currently on the board of the Association of African American Museums, holds an undergraduate degree in History from Stanford University, and a Masters in Museum Studies from the University of Washington.

Brian becomes only the third person in thirty-five years to lead the Heritage Program in King County. The experience he brings to this position makes him uniquely qualified to steer the heritage program to new heights in the coming years. Local history museums play an important role in defining a community’s sense of place—history museum professionals steward artifacts, stories, documents and, in some cases, historic buildings with the help of volunteers. The goal of 4Culture’s Heritage Program is to provide training in best practices, technical assistance for capacity building, exhibit design and implementation, financial management, building membership and support, and much more to dedicated museum professionals and volunteers.

Cities and towns in King County should embrace their local history museums, sharing their stories with new residents who are flocking to our region. Each suburban or rural community has a story about their town, its original indigenous inhabitants, its settlers, and its business activity that is different from their neighboring communities. They make King County interesting.

Say hello to Brian when you see him. He’s a font of great ideas that will advance the field.

Jim Kelly

Two New Public Art Experiences Coming to First Hill

Lead Pencil Studio, Signpost, 2011, Spokane Falls Community College, Washington Arts Commission, Spokane, WA. Photo by Lead Pencil Studio.

Since 1960, Swedish Medical Center has recognized the healing power of art through an ever-growing art collection, which now includes over 2,500 works. Now, as Swedish works to expand and improve its First Hill Campus in Seattle, they’re not only expanding the collection but bringing it outside hospital walls. Two artists have been selected to create public art for the First Hill Mile, a mile-long loop designed to promote walking and wellness in the First Hill neighborhood. A key component of the Mile will be a series of new “curb bulbs” or “curb extensions,” which will offer park-like experiences at the scale of a neighborhood corner and, with the help of 4Culture, will be infused with public art experiences.

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Lead Pencil Studio, Signpost, 2011, Spokane Falls Community College, Washington Arts Commission, Spokane, WA. Photo by Lead Pencil Studio.
Lead Pencil Studio, Signpost, 2011, Spokane Falls Community College, Washington Arts Commission, Spokane, WA. Photo by Lead Pencil Studio.

Since 1960, Swedish Medical Center has recognized the healing power of art through an ever-growing art collection, which now includes over 2,500 works. Now, as Swedish works to expand and improve its First Hill Campus in Seattle, they’re not only expanding the collection but bringing it outside hospital walls. Two artists have been selected to create public art for the First Hill Mile, a mile-long loop designed to promote walking and wellness in the First Hill neighborhood. A key component of the Mile will be a series of new “curb bulbs” or “curb extensions,” which will offer park-like experiences at the scale of a neighborhood corner and, with the help of 4Culture, will be infused with public art experiences.

Artist John Grade will create work for a curb bulb at the intersection of Seneca Street and Minor Avenue. Grade, whose work can be seen locally at the Museum of History & Industry and in the future at Sea-Tac Airport, will bring his signature style of exploring natural forces to this urban site. Much as the First Hill neighborhood itself does, Grade’s work will bring together the old and the new, offering, in his words, “an invitation to notice the natural world we sleep through.”

John Grade, Canopy Tower and detail, 2015, Austin Contemporary Museum, Austin, TX, photo by Brian Fitzsimmons.
John Grade, Canopy Tower and detail, 2015, Austin Contemporary Museum, Austin, TX, photo by Brian Fitzsimmons.

Site-specific art and architecture firm Lead Pencil Studio—whose 2011 piece Signpost, for Spokane Falls Community College, is pictured above—will create work for a site at Seneca Street and Boylston Avenue. At this intersection that is changing and developing, they plan to create work that will define its character as a gateway or threshold in the neighborhood. The studio sees an opportunity to highlight the Pacific Northwest’s propensity for dramatic light, and make a connection to the environment and humanity.

The art will be experienced by neighborhood residents, Swedish patients and visitors, and pedestrian and motor traffic traveling through the area, and could take many different shapes—works may feature gathering spaces, seating elements, plantings, and more. Both artists see this as an opportunity to extend Swedish’s mission out in the community, and to collaborate with each other and the larger team on an exciting urban walking experience. Stay tuned to see what comes to life on First Hill!