The Neely Mansion Comes to Life

Scenes from If These Walls Could Talk, Staci Bernstein and Jane Kaplan, 2012 © Becka Brebner
Scenes from If These Walls Could Talk, Staci Bernstein and Jane Kaplan, 2012 © Becka Brebner

Stories of five families chronicled in video and live performance

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Stories of five families chronicled in video and live performance

Staci Bernstein, If These Walls Could Talk © 2012 Becka Brebner Photography

If you’ve driven along SR 18 past Auburn, you’ve seen that wedding cake house that guards the entrance to Green Valley Road. It’s the 120-year-old Neely Mansion, built by Aaron Neely for his growing family back when birds chirping and horses clip-clopping by were the only sounds for miles around. The mansion looks well-tended since its restoration in the late 1970s, but in recent years it’s been a little sleepy, almost dormant.

All that changed last Saturday night when, lights ablaze, the Neely welcomed a big crowd of folks from Auburn and all over King County to a film premier and open house for “If These Walls Could Talk.”  A recently re-energized Neely Mansion Association, with the support of 4Culture’s Historic Site(s) Specific, began work on this project only last spring.  The Association turned to filmmaker Staci Bernstein and theater director Jane Kaplan, who teamed up to produce a wonderful film about the five families that lived in the house from 1894 into the 1970s.  A connecting thread woven through all of their lives, and featured in the film, was the motivation of immigrants to find permanence in their new surroundings.

Seeing and hearing those poignant stories of Swiss, Japanese, and Filipino tenant farmers who called the Neely Mansion home, made the historic house come alive again. In addition to three showings of the film in the parlor, guests wandered into the dining room and upstairs to the bedrooms where staged vignettes with live actors made the stories all the more real.  Stay tuned for information on how to access “If These Walls Could Talk” in the near future, and for news on more exciting changes at the Neely Mansion.

For more information about the Historic Site(s) Specific Program, a collaboration of Arts, Heritage, and Preservation 4Culture, contact Charlie Rathbun, at 206-296-8675 or sign up for our Site Specific E-News.

Scenes from If These Walls Could Talk, Staci Bernstein and Jane Kaplan, 2012 © Becka Brebner

 

Arts & Social Change Symposium: Letter from the Director

Ethnic Arts Connection © 2010 Robert Wade Photography

Several months ago I wrote my Director’s message about the changing demographics of King County. According to the 2010 Census, King County’s population increased by 200,000 people between 2000 and 2010. Almost all of that population growth can be attributed to immigrants and refugees, some very poor and some recruited to work in the high tech industry, two ends of the economic spectrum.

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Ethnic Arts Connection © 2010 Robert Wade Photography
Ethnic Arts Connection © 2010 Robert Wade Photography

Several months ago I wrote my Director’s message about the changing demographics of King County. According to the 2010 Census, King County’s population increased by 200,000 people between 2000 and 2010. Almost all of that population growth can be attributed to immigrants and refugees, some very poor and some recruited to work in the high tech industry, two ends of the economic spectrum.

These new communities are now an integral part of King County.

4Culture does not provide many of the services that new residents initially seek: housing, transportation, education, translation services and basic needs such as food and security.  We can however encourage and support new communities to maintain, develop and share their forms of cultural expression (cultural festivals, music, dance, folk art and visual arts.) These activities provide opportunities for these residents to build community with their new neighbors and with each other. Arts and heritage organizations provide after school programs and activities that can help educate and train youth in creative and professional skills.  4Culture also presents and supports programs, performances and integrated art in public places that are accessible and free to all, regardless of income. While art and heritage may not be thought of as essential services, providing these opportunities and resources allows us to help celebrate diverse and unique cultures, allowing space for dialogue, exchange and community-building.

On October 12th and 13, 4Culture in collaboration with the Washington State Arts Commission, Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, Seattle Office of Civil Rights, Seattle Center’s Next 50 and The Association of American Cultures, is presenting a Symposium on how the arts can be a tool for social change. This is the primary mission of The Association of American Cultures (TAAC), founded in 1985 to act as an advocate for the support of artists and arts organizations who are concerned with the preservation of their culturally specific identities through the arts.

There are four objectives of the symposium:

  • Offer insight in how to engage and work with diverse communities and promote cultural listening;
  • Provide an opportunity for local arts agencies from urban and suburban cities to share tools for working with new populations in cultural programming;
  • Provide a forum for arts organizations to meet with social justice leaders and for community groups to meet with arts leaders;
  • Develop policies for change as part of the national advocacy agenda for The Association of American Cultures.

This is a symposium for arts administrators, artists, social service professionals, government representatives and social justice leaders.

And you.  I hope to see you there.

Jim Kelly

 

The Symposium will take place at Seattle Center in the Northwest Rooms and the Playhouse/Intiman. Attendance is by paid registration but the Exhibition Hall in the Northwest Rooms, featuring artwork by socially engaged artists, will be open to the public free of charge 9:00 am – 5:00 pm on Friday and 9:00 am – 4:00 pm on Saturday. Friday’s schedule will feature a Local Arts Agency intensive in the morning and an artist showcase and reception that evening. Both days will feature keynote addresses, workshops and artist presentations. To learn more about the Symposium and to register, visit the Arts & Social Change Symposium website. The Symposium for Arts & Social Change was sponsored in part by The Wallace Foundation.

Historic Site(s) Specific deadline in October!

Applications are due Thursday, October 25th at 5:00 pm

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Applications are due Thursday, October 25th at 5:00 pm

Ann Durant, Illuminated Barn © 2010 Anne Durant
Ann Durant, Illuminated Barn © 2010 Anne Durant

 

4Culture’s Arts, Heritage, and Preservation programs continue to seek collaborative proposals from King County’s creative community for implementation of innovative projects at historic sites. Historic Site(s) Specific invites King County-based artists, organizations, and creative individuals to consider one or more participating sites included in the Historic Sites roster, and to contact the site stewards to explore ideas for site-specific work that responds to the unique context, history and/or architecture of the sites.

The roster of Historic Sites contains 32 places in King County that have expressed interest in working with creative collaborators to interpret and enliven their sites through innovative performances, installations, etc. The deadline for submission of collaborative proposals is Thursday, October 25, 2012. Guidelines, application information and the roster of Historic Sites are available on the Site-Specific website.

The 4Culture Site-Specific program provides funding and resources for the commissioning and presentation of visual art, installation, and performance in non-traditional places throughout greater King County. The program is supported in part by a portion of King County’s lodging tax, and by generous funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

How I Got Here: My Story as the New Communications Intern for 4Culture

NPR All Songs Considered Listening Party at The Vera Project, 2012, photo by Dave Lichterman

 The 4Culture communications team is excited to welcome Raya Leary as intern. Raya will be assisting the team with all communications tasks as well as attending public events and supporting outreach. Say hello if you see her out and about or in our offices. She sits right at the front desk.

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NPR All Songs Considered Listening Party at The Vera Project, 2012, photo by Dave Lichterman
NPR All Songs Considered Listening Party at The Vera Project, 2012, photo by Dave Lichterman

 The 4Culture communications team is excited to welcome Raya Leary as intern. Raya will be assisting the team with all communications tasks as well as attending public events and supporting outreach. Say hello if you see her out and about or in our offices. She sits right at the front desk.

 

I moved to Western Washington from Spokane sometime in late 2006. After bouncing around a few towns on the southern edges of King County, my family settled in Seattle. I soon began exploring the venues, galleries and neighborhoods of the city and experienced the transformative nature of a unique cultural and creative identity.

Some years later I found myself in an unhappy job, and in the running for an unwanted promotion. I looked back at the time I spent involved with arts organizations and decided that being a part of championing local creativity and expression was an important drive in my life. I quit my job and took up internships with KEXP and The Vera Project, working toward a comprehensive skill set for future employment in the arts community. I’m still involved with Vera, but as KEXP came to an end, and I discovered my strengths and passions, I began looking for something new.

I’m not sure when I first heard about 4Culture, the name has long been floating around in my consciousness, but somewhere along the line I realized that what 4Culture does is impactful. To individuals and groups, to the non-profits I interned with, to our large and diverse county. I knew that working with 4Culture was the next step in expanding my role in the cultivation of our community.

My name is Raya Leary, and I am the new Communications Intern at 4Culture.

Call Still Open for Historic Site(s) Specific 2013 proposals

Ann Durant, Illuminated Barn © 2010 Anne Durant
Ann Durant, Illuminated Barn © 2010 Anne Durant

4Culture’s Arts, Heritage, and Preservation programs continue to seek collaborative proposals from King County’s creative community for implementation of innovative projects at historic sites. Historic Site(s) Specific invites King County-based artists, organizations, and creative individuals to consider one or more participating sites included in the Historic Sites roster, and to contact the site stewards to explore ideas for site-specific work that responds to the unique context, history and/or architecture of the sites.

Continue Reading ›

4Culture’s Arts, Heritage, and Preservation programs continue to seek collaborative proposals from King County’s creative community for implementation of innovative projects at historic sites. Historic Site(s) Specific invites King County-based artists, organizations, and creative individuals to consider one or more participating sites included in the Historic Sites roster, and to contact the site stewards to explore ideas for site-specific work that responds to the unique context, history and/or architecture of the sites.

The roster of Historic Sites contains 32 places in King County that have expressed interest in working with creative collaborators to interpret and enliven their sites through innovative performances, installations, etc. The deadline for submission of collaborative proposals is Thursday, October 25, 2012. Guidelines, application information and the roster of Historic Sites are available on the Site-Specific website.

The 4Culture Site-Specific program provides funding and resources for the commissioning and presentation of visual art, installation, and performance in non-traditional places throughout greater King County. The program is supported in part by a portion of King County’s lodging tax, and by generous funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

PONCHO’s Revitalized Hopes and Dreams for Arts and Students

Northwest Tap Connection © 2012 Cara Kennedy, Team Photogenic
Northwest Tap Connection © 2012 Cara Kennedy, Team Photogenic

Could we be at a Tipping Point for Arts Education?

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Could we be at a Tipping Point for Arts Education?

Northwest Tap Connection © 2012 Cara Kennedy, Team Photogenic
Northwest Tap Connection © 2012 Cara Kennedy, Team Photogenic

In the past few years, there has been a fair amount of public attention (but not enough) on the dire state and inequity of arts learning for K-12 students. The expectation that arts are an essential aspect to student education has been lost. This year in Seattle, not a single arts organization was deemed qualified for the Families and Education Levy. This is surprising given the great deal of research demonstrating the strong link that arts education has to academic success and social development. Long term studies show that students from low socio-economic status that have consistent arts rich learning are over twice as likely to earn a college degree compared to those that do not. Creative learning provides purpose, connection to concepts, collaborative ability and engagement that equate to deep learning.

In short, arts education is critical and we must demand arts learning for our young people.

Now, let me turn this depressing train of thought around…

Despite the cuts, I strongly feel that we are approaching a tipping point that has the possibility of pushing this train in the other direction. Malcolm Gladwell writes in his book The Tipping Point “… in order to create one contagious movement, you often have to create many small movements first…The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” Nationally and locally, big and small collaborative movements are happening that are generating momentum to put arts learning back on track.

Perhaps the largest local movement on this front is the Seattle K-12 Arts Learning Collaborative. The goal of this citywide effort is that all students in all Seattle Public Schools (SPS) have opportunities to learn through the arts, to succeed in school and in life. The community has come together in a powerful way—driven by the Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs and SPS with parents, the funding community and arts leaders such as Arts Corps, ArtsEd Washington, Arts Impact, PONCHO and Seattle Art Museum leading and owning the charge. This collective of leaders working together is extraordinary and VERY EXCITING!

Arts Community Information Meeting at The Paramount Theatre © PONCHO
Arts Community Information Meeting at The Paramount Theatre © PONCHO

We’ve been asked to write about this from the perspective of the oldest and newly transformed arts funding organization in Washington State—PONCHO (Patrons of Northwest Civic, Cultural and Charitable Organizations). PONCHO’s mission has been dedicated to enriching the quality of life in this region through increasing resources and community support for the arts since 1963. When I came on in 2009, the organization was asking important questions that have led to a significant transformation. The arts ecosystem is at a different place than it was 50 years ago—how can we better leverage our funding and community relationships to drive more powerful, lasting change?

PONCHO has answered this question with the launch of our first initiative-based investment strategy with a focus in arts education, with the idea that we can influence change through targeted investments—beginning with the development of creativity in our young people, the foundation. I am deeply inspired that the creative spark we see in our cultural community is mirrored in the current arts education efforts.  PONCHO believes that we can be an influential force to help our community move past the tipping point.

In addition to our work with the K-12 Arts Learning Collaborative, we have a partnered with The Raikes Foundation and School’s Out Washington to provide investment incentives for arts organizations to participate in the Youth Program Quality Initiative. The program provides nationally recognized assessment and coaching, raising the quality of art education programs and enhancing organization ability to measure and prove the essential impact of arts in education.

Lorna Kneeland © 2012 Team Photogenic
Lorna Kneeland © 2012 Team Photogenic

I am so proud to be at the forefront of such a critical moment for the arts and education in our region. All of these efforts are extremely exciting, but there is still so much work to do. I encourage parents, artists, business leaders and the broader community to speak up to your schools and school boards, provide funding to arts education projects, and demand arts as part of education.

Thank you 4Culture for being a long term supporter of arts and culture in our community and inviting us to share our story!

Lorna Kneeland, Executive Director, PONCHO
www.poncho.org

Historic Site(s) Specific Call for Proposals

Ann Watson-Durant, Barn Illumination © 2011

Call for Proposals
Historic Site(s) Specific 2013

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Ann Watson Durant, Barn Illumination © 2011 Phil Acuncious
Ann Watson-Durant, Barn Illumination © 2011

Call for Proposals
Historic Site(s) Specific 2013

4Culture’s Arts, Heritage, and Preservation programs seek collaborative proposals from King County’s creative community for implementation of innovative projects at historic sites. Historic Site(s) Specific invites King County-based artists, organizations, and creative individuals to consider one or more participating sites included in the Historic Sites roster, and to contact the site stewards to explore ideas for site-specific work that responds to the unique context, history and/or architecture of the sites.

The roster of Historic Sites contains 32 places in King County that have expressed interest in working with creative collaborators to interpret and enliven their sites through innovative performances, installations, etc. The deadline for submission of collaborative proposals is Thursday, October 25, 2012. Guidelines, application information and the roster of Historic Sites are available on the Site-Specific website.

The 4Culture Site-Specific program provides funding and resources for the commissioning and presentation of visual art, installation, and performance in non-traditional places throughout greater King County. The program is supported in part by a portion of King County’s lodging tax, and by generous funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Letter from the Director: The Arts are everywhere!

BrasilFest 2011, Photo ©Hugo Ludeña
BrasilFest 2011, Photo ©Hugo Ludeña

For the past several years, Equity and Social Justice has helped to shape and change policy, outreach, communications and planning in King County government.   Although 4Culture is no longer an agency of King County government, we firmly embrace the goals of this County practice, which strives to ensure all people have the opportunity to thrive and achieve their full potential regardless of race, income or language spoken.

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For the past several years, Equity and Social Justice has helped to shape and change policy, outreach, communications and planning in King County government.   Although 4Culture is no longer an agency of King County government, we firmly embrace the goals of this County practice, which strives to ensure all people have the opportunity to thrive and achieve their full potential regardless of race, income or language spoken.

In May, 4Culture surveyed organizations receiving Arts Sustained Support to better understand how they were reaching new populations reflecting the changing county demographics.  We also wanted to find out where arts organizations were providing programs and services. 4Culture serves all nine King County council districts, but arts organizations and individual artists are not spread equally throughout all nine districts. It will surprise no one that the arts are more concentrated in urban centers, such as the City of Seattle. So the question is: how many organizations are providing services outside their urban, suburban and rural homes?

What we discovered was fascinating.

According to the survey, every one of the thirty-nine incorporated towns and cities in King County is served by at least two arts organization funded by 4Culture. Seattle is the hub of arts activities, with over 160 arts organizations providing programs. Bellevue is served by 69 arts organizations; Burien, Kirkland, Renton and Shoreline are served by 40 or more arts organizations; Kent, Mercer Island, and Redmond by 30 or more.  Covington, Duvall, Enumclaw, Maple Valley and North Bend and Vashon Island are served by 10 or more organizations. I skipped the cities and town that were served by 20 or more organizations, but the point is clear. We’re proud to see that groups supported by 4Culture provide programs in every municipality of the County.

Some numbers:

  • Over 85% of respondents offer free or discounted tickets for low income populations, including seniors and students;
  • 79% of the respondents present performances or programs for youth; 50% of these organizations offer education programs at their own facilities or in schools;
  • Over 56% of the respondents have staff or Boards with people of color; 49% produce or present art programs by people of color;
  • 27% present performances or programs in languages other than English; 22% partner with cultural organizations that represent or work with English language learners.

In addition to quantitative data, survey respondents cited anecdotal examples of programs targeting underserved communities.

  • Youth Theatre Northwest, based on Mercer Island, is currently partnering with the White Center Arts Alliance to provide programs to youth of color in the South Seattle/White Center area;
  • The Pat Graney Company, a dance organization based in Seattle, works with incarcerated women through the Helen B. Radcliffe Work Release program and their own Keep the Faith Prison Project;
  • Experience Music Project partnered with the Smithsonian to develop a traveling version of their American Sabor exhibition, which documented the development of Latino music in America;
  • Burien Little Theatre collaborated with eSe Teatro, a King county Latino theatre group, to produce a bilingual staged play reading;
  • Ballet Bellevue has produced a summer dance program for low income children, mostly Cambodian;
  • Gage Academy of Art runs a free teen art program on weekends and works with Youth Care/Casa de la Familia to bring Hispanic/Latino youth who speak English as a second language to classes;
  • Vashon Allied Arts offers preschool art classes in Spanish, aimed at both English speaking students seeking to learn Spanish and Spanish speaking students seeking to learn English;
  • Wing-It Productions, an improvisational theatre company, has an Outreach Educational Program designed to serve at-risk and underserved students.  In the last three years, Wing-It has worked with more than 1,500 young people at the King County Juvenile Detention Center and has weekly workshops with students at Sanctuary Art Center, an art center for street involved youth.

Believe me, the list goes on.  Many more specific programs were cited in the survey responses. They confirm suspicions that the arts are everywhere.

We will soon survey heritage organizations with similar questions.

 

Jim Kelly

 

The Long Walk’s Mid-Point Mash-Up

Snoqualmie Floodplain Cabaret, photos: Steve Leroux

The Long Walk, now it its third iteration, is a time-based, “open-source” and participatory event in which artist Susan Robb and 50 self-selecting members of the general public will walk the King County Regional Trails System (RTS) over the course of four days – July 26th through 29th – from Golden Gardens Park to Snoqualmie Falls. Along the route they will experience a shift in their sense of time, a new understanding of the local geography, and the creation of an interstitial culture.

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Snoqualmie Floodplain Cabaret, photos: Steve Leroux
Snoqualmie Floodplain Cabaret, photos: Steve Leroux

The Long Walk, now it its third iteration, is a time-based, “open-source” and participatory event in which artist Susan Robb and 50 self-selecting members of the general public will walk the King County Regional Trails System (RTS) over the course of four days – July 26th through 29th – from Golden Gardens Park to Snoqualmie Falls. Along the route they will experience a shift in their sense of time, a new understanding of the local geography, and the creation of an interstitial culture.

Registration for The Long Walk is now full, but don’t fret, you can still participate in the following ways…

The Mid-Point Mash-Up
Friday, July 27th

6:00 – 9:00PM
McCormick Park – 26200 NE Stephens Street, Duvall, WA
Free, all-ages!

Come cheer on the Long Walkers on the second day of their journey and celebrate summer with residents of Duvall at the open-to-everyone exploration of place, the Mid-Point Mash-Up. Bring something for the grill – it’s a community BBQ too! And, if the sun has been shining, be sure to pack a bathing suit for an evening dip in the river.

Set in bucolic McCormick Park, this year’s Mash-Up includes unique musical theater by the Snoqualmie Floodplain Cabaret (aka the South Meadow Cabaret with performers Sari Breznau and Jed Dunkerley), the Bicycle Choir’s secularized spirituals, story-songs, Bulgarian harmonies, and early American shapenote music, Jessika Kenney and Eyvind Kang’s silhouetted reflections on travel in Zack Bent’s sculptural pop-up trailer, video projections in the park’s historic train depot by Rodrigo Valenzuela, a sonorous installation of ceramic chimes by Rumi Koshino and the Make Some Noise! workshop participants, and Joyce Wong’s socially-engaged palm reading project, An Excuse to Hold Your Hand.

Rumi Koshino

Both the Mid-Point Mash-Up and Make Some Noise! are made possible by 4Culture and King County Parks with the City of Duvall Cultural Commission and the Northwest Art Center.

The Long Walk grew out of a collaboration between Susan Robb and Stokley Towles as part of 4Culture’s Trails Project.

Can’t make it to Duvall, follow along via Twitter and Facebook!
www.thelongwalkseattle.com

Wooden Boat Festival on Lake Union: 4th of July!

Wooden Boat Festival, 2011, Photo courtesy of The Center for Wooden Boats
Wooden Boat Festival, 2011, Photo courtesy of The Center for Wooden Boats
Wooden Boat Festival, 2011, Photo courtesy of The Center for Wooden Boats

Center For Wooden Boats

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Wooden Boat Festival, 2011, Photo courtesy of The Center for Wooden Boats
Wooden Boat Festival, 2011, Photo courtesy of The Center for Wooden Boats

Center For Wooden Boats

Wooden Boat Festival, Lake Union Park, Seattle

June 30 – 4th of July

This year’s Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival at the south end of Lake Union is bigger than ever, with free boat rides, Dragonboat Racing, a new Microbrew Festival, Mariner Baseball, live bands on the new Microsoft Stage in Lake Union Park, and a new Independence Day collaboration with Family 4th at Lake Union producer, One Reel to link the fun all around the Lake!

A summertime tradition in Seattle, The Center for Wooden Boat’s festival features some 200 wooden boats ranging from rowing dinghies to the 133-foot classical schooner Adventuress.  During the festival, visitors will be able to board dozens of historic sailing and rowing vessels from the CWB collection, and board many of the historic private vessels brought to the show by their proud owners.  Classic rowboats can be rented, and free steam and sail rides will be running non-stop.

New this year is a partnership with One Reel, the non-profit producer of the Gas Works Park-based Family 4th at Lake Union, presented by Starbucks. One Reel will present a special day of live music in both Gas Works Park and at the Wooden Boat Festival in South Lake Union Park on the 4th, and broadcast the National Anthem and synchronized fireworks soundtrack live in both parks for spectators around the lake to enjoy.

Wooden Boat Festival, 2011, Photo courtesy of The Center for Wooden Boats
Wooden Boat Festival, 2011, Photo courtesy of The Center for Wooden Boats

Festival Highlights:

DRAGONBOAT RACING:  Racing on June 30th by the Seattle Flying Dragon Boat Club is special because spectators are invited to join the race, and because instead of going in a straight line they will race around a tight three turn Barrel Race course.  Join a team today at the Flying Dragons web site.

MARINER NIGHT AT THE MARINERS:  The Seattle Mariners Baseball club is supporting CWB by offering special reduced price tickets to their game on Monday, July 2 at 7:10pm against the Baltimore Orioles. Go online and purchase a $20 ticket for only $15 and almost half of the ticket price comes back to CWB as a donation! Purchase tickets today at mariners.com/CWB

QUICK AND DARING BOAT RACE:  Everett’s Thain Boatworks/Earthwise Ventures is sponsoring a race where teams have just 24 hours to construct a boat and then race it, sailing a leg, paddling the next and anything goes on the homeward leg. Boat building is Saturday and Sunday, and the Race is at 4:00 pm on the 4th of July.

NW MICROBREW & MUSIC:  Jillian’s Billiard is back run the beer garden and as a special new treat this year has put together a Northwest Microbrew and Music Night on the evening of Tuesday July 3rd.  Buy an $8 passport to taste the work of some of the Northwest’s best brewing minds, and all the money raised goes to support the Center for Wooden Boats. For more information on the Festival, visit CWB.org or call 206-382-2628.

The 36th Annual Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival

Dates:                   Saturday, June 30th through Wednesday, July 4

Time:                     Opens 10:00 am Daily

Location:              The Center for Wooden Boats at Lake Union Park, 1010 Valley St, Seattle, WA‎  98109

Cost:                     FREE!  Donations gratefully accepted.

Guest blogger Dan Leach from The Center for Wooden Boats contributed this post. Thanks, Dan! 4Culture supports The Center for Wooden Boats through various programs, including Sustained Support. 

The Long Walk’s Double Proposition

Join 4Culture, King County Parks, and artist Susan Robb for The Long Walk 2012, a time-based, open-source, and socially engaged art event.

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Join 4Culture, King County Parks, and artist Susan Robb for The Long Walk 2012, a time-based, open-source, and socially engaged art event.

Robb and 50 participants (*including YOU?) will walk more than 45 miles along the Regional Trails System from Golden Gardens Park to Snoqualmie Falls. Over the course of four days – Thursday, July 26th through Sunday, July 29th – this self-selecting group of trail trampers will experience the landscape in a unique way, camp in unusual locations, and engage with interactive artworks. Those not up for the trek can join the adventure at the all-ages exploration of place, the Mid-Point Mash-Up in Duvall on Friday, July 27th or follow along via Twitter and Facebook.

The intention of the project, according to Robb:

The Long Walk is a double proposition. First, it interrogates the Parks slogan “your big backyard.” This slogan suggests that the County parks and trails are our home; that we should feel content here. We should stretch out and roam. And that is precisely what the Long Walkers (will) do. The second proposition is a bit loftier; something for the critics to mull over. The Long Walk questions the materiality of art-making through its open-endedness. By operating on a real scale, in real time, The Long Walk vanishes as we make it. Its traces are not really measurable, even if participants will remember it well. Unlike more traditional work, The Walk does not seek to reference something outside of itself, but rather evolves as a uniquely twined experience of time and geography, community and endurance, and lived aesthetics with self-direction.

50 stranger-participants become a cohesive group with its own interstitial culture. 

Walking has a way of fostering transformation. Perhaps walking in groups taps into something established during our ancestors’ transcontinental migrations. Possibly lodged deep in our minds, triggered by some primordial instinct, is knowledge that the people we walk with are “our people”, our family, our tribe. 

By slowing down to footstep speed we become intimately connected with our home’s architecture and topography. On a one-to-one scale map, we witness a metamorphosis from city to suburb, farmland to forest. We also meet and entertain our neighbors—the trail users and trail-side communities.

“But how is this art?”

Socially engaged work like The Long Walk liberates us from objects and fixed meaning, moving us toward subjects and mobility. However, this “piece” of art is not completely free form. Events are curated to spur collective experiences and alter the social terrain. Even if by design, the outcomes cannot be predicted.   

To this end, artists are invited to create work on, about, and with the trails and their users. This year, Colorado Springs-based artist Eric Steen will work with the Snoqualmie Brewery to craft a short run beer infused with edible and medicinal plants that grow along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. Michelle Penaloza, from Eugene, will guide participants in the development of itinerant poems, meditations on the journey. Seattle-based artist and radio producer Jenny Asarnow will create a series of audio stories/confessionals of those living and working near the Sammamish River Trail. At the Mid-Point Mash-Up in Duvall’s McCormick Park- Missouri-based artist Joyce Wong will reach out to the community through her palm-reading project “An Excuse to Hold Your Hand”; Seattle’s Rumi Koshino will lead a community chime-making workshop that will culminate in a sonorous installation; and The Snoqualmie Floodplain Cabaret (which includes performers Jed Dunkerley and Sari Breznau) will perform a bizarre variety of musical theater that would impress even David Lynch. Other participating artists include Travis Souza, Web Crowell, Rodrigo Valenzuela, The Bicycle Choir, and Art House Brooklyn’s Sketchbook Project. All projects and interventions are intended to help participants slow down, delve deep into the meaning of landscape and home, and create a temporary culture.

The Long Walk is open to anyone 21+ who can hike an average of 18 miles/day. Participation is free but limited – sign up via Brown Paper Tickets starting on Wednesday, June 20th at 1pm!

www.thelongwalkseattle.com 

The Hidden Shadows of Cancer: The Photographs of Ruby Lhianna Smith

4Culture is proud to present a special photo exhibition by Ruby Lhianna Smith in our Gallery through June.

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4Culture is proud to present a special photo exhibition by Ruby Lhianna Smith in our Gallery through June.

[vslider name=”ruby”]

Twenty-eight of Smith’s black and white archival inkjet prints will be installed salon-style on the Gallery4Culture wall, facing the heavily traversed streetscape on Prefontaine where both passersby and visitors to the Gallery can view them.

Ruby Lhianna Smith: “Cancer is a hidden disease. I have it right now even though you cannot see it—but it causes pain and makes me nauseous. It appears only as the shadows on an X-ray. Photography for me is a search for the shadows. An image that has no shadows is not very interesting; it’s the shadows that make photographs beautiful. I started this project as a way to show my classmates what it’s like to have cancer—but as the project has grown more people have become interested and now I am using photography to show the world the story of my experience.”

The installation will be celebrated as a part of First Thursday on June 7th, 6:00 – 8:00 pm at 101 Prefontaine Place South, Seattle, WA 98104. Members of the public are invited to attend. The exhibit was made possible through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Seattle Children’s Hospital and Photo Center NW.

Ruby, who turned eighteen last week, created her remarkable photographs throughout her stay at Seattle Children’s Hospital with Artist In Residence John Blalock. This work was funded by a grant from the Livestrong foundation in cooperation with the Creative Center (NY).  Ruby’s work has continued through the  “Not Now”  program at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Blalock mentored Ruby and printed and mounted work for this show. This summer he will be facilitating “The Ruby Project” at Photo Center Northwest, a ten-week photography program for young-adult cancer patients and survivors.

Update June 5, 2012: We are deeply saddened to hear that Ruby passed away late last week, the day we began to hang her work at Gallery4Culture. Our thoughts are with her family and friends. The exhibit will remain up for the month of June and be celebrated at First Thursday Artwalk this week. We are grateful for the opportunity to share this young artist’s work with the community.

Per the artist’s and her family’s request, individuals who wish, may make a contribution in Ruby’s name to a special memorial set up at the Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. Donations in memory of Ruby will be used to support The Therapeutic Play Fund, which supports art & music therapy at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Proceeds from the artist’s artwork sales will also be directed to the Ruby Lhianna Smith memorial.

 

Ruby Lhianna Smith on her photography, video

Letter From The Director: Bird Watching, Bicycles, Ecology and Art

© Robert Morris, Johnson Pit #30, 1979, Earth, grass, Photo by Spike Mafford

On June 2nd bicyclists are invited to participate in the Earthworks Tour Inaugural Ride, a half-day exploration of four extraordinary land art and reclamation projects in the Green River Valley.  It’s free and fun for the whole family.

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© Robert Morris, Johnson Pit #30, 1979, Earth, grass, Photo by Spike Mafford
© Robert Morris, Johnson Pit #30, 1979, Earth, grass, Photo by Spike Mafford

On June 2nd bicyclists are invited to participate in the Earthworks Tour Inaugural Ride, a half-day exploration of four extraordinary land art and reclamation projects in the Green River Valley.  It’s free and fun for the whole family.

The tour will link four remarkable reclamation sites: the Robert Morris Earthwork in SeaTac, the Herbert Bayer Earthwork in Kent, Lorna Jordan’s Waterworks Gardens in Renton, and the Green River Natural Resources area, also in Kent. Three of the sites were created in 1979, but despite their physical presence for more than 30 years, they are not well-known to local residents.

In 1979, King County Arts Commission (4Culture’s predecessor agency) sponsored the groundbreaking Earthworks: Land Reclamation as Sculpture symposium. Artists Robert Morris and Herbert Bayer were commissioned to create landscape sculptures for specific sites throughout King County.

Robert Morris was at the forefront of Minimalism and Land Art in 1979 when he was invited by King County Arts Commission to reclaim a former gravel pit overlooking the Green River Valley. Untitled (Johnson Pit # 30) , a tiered, grassy earthwork now surrounded by a residential neighborhood, is the result.

© Lorna Jordon, Waterworks Gardens, 1997, Stone, concrete, mosaic, landscaping
© Lorna Jordon, Waterworks Gardens, 1997, Stone, concrete, mosaic, landscaping

Shortly after that, the Kent Arts Commission, which had just been established by the City of Kent, boldly and ambitiously decided to create a stunning large scale art project. The Kent Arts Commission commissioned Bauhaus master Herbert Bayer to integrate a stormwater retention system into a public artwork.

That same year, the City of Kent Public Works reclaimed an abandoned sewage lagoon and transformed it into the largest constructed multi-use wildlife refuge in the nation, the Green River Natural Resources Area.

Almost 20 years later, artist Lorna Jordan changed the expectations for what integrated art in wastewater infrastructure could be. Rather than erecting a chain link fence around a dull wastewater treatment facility, Jordan proposed creating a public park in which walkers and joggers could actually see stormwater being filtered. Located in Renton, Waterworks Gardens was called a must-see place in Sunset magazine when it opened in 1998.

Now you’ll have the opportunity to visit all four sites and experience site specific performances and installations along the way.   There are three different loops for bicyclists of all skill levels. The Easy Ride is only 12 mostly flat miles. A great ride for families with children.  For the more adventurous, an Intermediate Loop is 20 miles, but for the most part still relatively flat. For hardcore riders, the Advanced ride is 23-miles and includes a steep hill climb.

Earthworks Tour Map, The Inkwell Collective
Earthworks Tour Map, The Inkwell Collective

The Cascade Bicycle Club, the city of Renton and 4Culture are helping the Kent Arts Commission with this project, which received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Mayor’s Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative. By the time you say that out loud, you could have completed the Easy Loop.

So get out on what I’m sure will be a pleasant, warm, sunny late spring morning and discover some of the wonders of south King County.

To learn more about the Earthworks ride including trail maps and registration for the inaugural event (free, remember,) go to www.KentArts.org/earthworks .

 

Jim Kelly

Christopher Martin Hoff

©2008 Christopher Martin Hoff, Harborview Construction

Christopher Martin Hoff has died, suddenly and too young. He touched many of us at 4Culture in his role as painter and community member. He exhibited his artwork and painted in the neighborhood – Hoff was a plein-air painter and could be found on the street painting most days, rain or shine. Hoff sought and found poetics in urban street scenes and the incremental changes in the built environment brought by builder and graffiti artist alike. An ongoing series of paintings chronicling the building going on at the site of the World Trade Center in New York was facilitated by the Port Authority.

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©2008 Christopher Martin Hoff, Harborview Construction
©2008 Christopher Martin Hoff, Harborview Construction

Christopher Martin Hoff has died, suddenly and too young. He touched many of us at 4Culture in his role as painter and community member. He exhibited his artwork and painted in the neighborhood – Hoff was a plein-air painter and could be found on the street painting most days, rain or shine. Hoff sought and found poetics in urban street scenes and the incremental changes in the built environment brought by builder and graffiti artist alike. An ongoing series of paintings chronicling the building going on at the site of the World Trade Center in New York was facilitated by the Port Authority.

©2011 Christopher Martin Hoff, Untitled Watercolor Painting, The Long Walk Seattle
©2011 Christopher Martin Hoff, Untitled Watercolor Painting, The Long Walk Seattle

We are proud to have his artwork in King County’s Public Art Collection – some terrific paintings of his are installed  at Harborview Medical Center. His painting of the construction of Harborview may be viewed on the 6th floor of the Norm Maleng Building. Hoff’s artist statement given at the time of the purchase:

“My paintings seek aesthetic beauty in the artifacts and organization of our ‘built environment.’ They are the physical manifestations of an active approach to experience which invites one to see the ‘ordinary’ as a source of unlimited creative potential.”

Christopher joined Susan Robb for The Long Walk last summer, and created some lovely watercolor paintings that you can find on the Facebook page for TLW. He also was the recipient of a 4Culture Individual Artist Grant. A friend’s remembrance closes by urging her artist friends to pursue their work with something of the diligence and engagement Hoff brought to his life and artwork, a fitting way to honor him and not a bad approach to the limited time we share here on earth.

Christopher Martin Hoff’s website.

Thanks to The Stranger for their remembrance.

A 2010 interview with Hoff via The Puget News.