Youngstown Puts Its Preservation Grant to Work

Youngstown Cultural Arts Center and Delridge Way SW, photo by Denny Sternstein

David Bestock has worked as Director of the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center for the last three years, managing everything from facilities, to programs, to community relations. He and his tenacious staff work to ensure that arts and culture, as well as affordable housing and other vital resources, continue to be accessible to all King County residents, especially those in Delridge.

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Youngstown Cultural Arts Center and Delridge Way SW, photo by Denny Sternstein
Youngstown Cultural Arts Center and Delridge Way SW, photo by Denny Sternstein

David Bestock has worked as Director of the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center for the last three years, managing everything from facilities, to programs, to community relations. He and his tenacious staff work to ensure that arts and culture, as well as affordable housing and other vital resources, continue to be accessible to all King County residents, especially those in Delridge.

We were so psyched this summer to receive 4Culture’s largest Preservation Special Projects award to date! At the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association (DNDA), we received $15,100 to use for developing a Needs Assessment for the Historic Cooper School, which now houses the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center and Cooper Artist Housing. With over 65,000 square feet of cultural space in our nearly 100-year old building, we house seven nonprofit organizations, an alternative public high school, and 36 live/work artist lofts. Little to no major improvements have been done in the past ten years, and even during that multi-million dollar remodel—including seismic retrofit and an overhaul of all major systems and spaces—there were projects that had to be cut short because of funds. So work is sorely needed here at our well-used facility.

Thanks to 4Culture and the Preservation Special Projects grant, we were able to contract Rolluda Architects to lead a team of subcontractors in evaluating current facilities needs and help us plan for improvements. Major work is needed to resolve a foundation settling issue and a compromised pipe under our building. Plus, we have big dreams to convert our Kitchen into a commercial/teaching kitchen, and increase capacity in our already dynamic Theater and Recording Studio.

Cabiri aerialists perform in Youngstown’s theater, where the ground is settling. Photo by Suzi Pratt.
Cabiri aerialists perform in Youngstown’s theater, where the ground is settling. Photo by Suzi Pratt.

We now have a thorough Needs Assessment, with analysis and recommendations for all our systems—mechanical, electrical, etc.—as well as projects we’ll need to address within the next five years including the settling issue, new HVAC units, painting of our historic windows, and so much more. Our Needs Assessment also includes price estimation, so it is already being used as a fundraising tool for a budding capital campaign. In fact, as soon as the Needs Assessment was complete, we turned right around and applied to the Building for Culture grant opportunity, and we’ve since found out that we’ve been recommended to receive $100,000 towards improvements!

Big thanks to everyone involved, most notably 4Culture and Rolluda Architects. Come by Youngstown for a visit!

This project was funded by our Preservation Special Projects grant.

llluminating the Darkest Days of the Year in South King County

A Bonsai Solstice, photo courtesy of the Pacific Bonsai Museum

SoCoCulture is a coalition of arts, heritage and botanical organizations throughout South King County, all working together to connect King County residents to the cultural vitality of the area. In this guest post, Barbara McMichael shares an exciting roster of South King County activities to fill your holidays:

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A Bonsai Solstice, photo courtesy of the Pacific Bonsai Museum
A Bonsai Solstice, photo courtesy of the Pacific Bonsai Museum

SoCoCulture is a coalition of arts, heritage and botanical organizations throughout South King County, all working together to connect King County residents to the cultural vitality of the area. In this guest post, Barbara McMichael shares an exciting roster of South King County activities to fill your holidays:

These short days of December would be especially dreary if it weren’t for the myriad light-filled, festive events happening across South King County! It seems as if every community is a-twinkle, and SoCoCulture has compiled a list of free events for you to enjoy this month. Here are some highlights—we invite one and all to join us!

The biggest razzle-dazzle is Ivar’s Clam Lights at Gene Coulon Park in Renton. Thousands of sparkling lights onshore are reflected back by the waters of Lake Washington, and the park has on-site eateries where you can purchase a warming cup of chowder or cocoa. The show runs 5:00—9:00 PM every night between now and January 1. Free parking and free admission!

The City of Des Moines is hosting a big bonfire on the beach and serving up refreshments in conjunction with a visit from the Argosy Christmas ships, which are decked out with holiday lights as they sail along Puget Sound. On Thursday, December 17 at 9:00 PM, Kent’s Rainier Youth Choirs will be performing onboard the Christmas Ship when it stops offshore at Redondo.

The multicultural theatre company Live Paint! is coming to South King County to present a program that shares the traditions of festivals of light in places around the world: Sweden’s St. Lucia Day, Thailand’s Loi Krathong, and India’s Diwali. They’ll be at the Muckleshoot Library on Saturday, December 19, at 2:00 PM.

Or you can make a lantern of your own! The tri-dimensional farolito is popular throughout Latin America. Attend a farolito-making workshop at the Kent Library on Saturday, December 19, 2:00 PM.

Finally, we recommend a visit any time of the year to the lovely Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way. But for an especially glowing visit, come by on Sunday, December 20, 4:00—7:00 PM, when the outdoor Museum is illuminated by candlelight for A Bonsai Solstice. Admission is free, and hot chocolate and crepes will be available. Just remember to BYOF – Bring Your Own Flashlight.

LGBTQ Activism in Seattle’s Civil Rights and Labor History

One of the first Gay Pride marches through downtown Seattle., late 1970s. Photo courtesy of the Northwest Lesbian and Gay History Museum Project.

Kevin McKenna, Associate Editor for the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, received funding through 4Culture’s Heritage Projects to complete a new LGBTQ Activism section of this unique internet resource, which will launch this December. He shares with us why he got involved and what kind of resources will be available:

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One of the first Gay Pride marches through downtown Seattle., late 1970s. Photo courtesy of the Northwest Lesbian and Gay History Museum Project.
One of the first Gay Pride marches through downtown Seattle., late 1970s. Photo courtesy of the Northwest Lesbian and Gay History Museum Project.

Kevin McKenna, Associate Editor for the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, received funding through 4Culture’s Heritage Projects to complete a new LGBTQ Activism section of this unique internet resource, which will launch this December. He shares with us why he got involved and what kind of resources will be available:

This will be an invaluable resource to members of our LGBTQ community who wish to know more about its history through publicly available primary sources on the web, as well as researchers who can use the website to identify collections in the area to pursue their research further. The LGBTQ Section will include essays on Seattle and King County’s LGBTQ community, like the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health’s response to AIDS, which became a model for effective outreach and prevention of HIV and AIDS in urban American communities. In addition to essays, the website will include original interviews with community activists covering a wide range of various issues related to LGBTQ communities. Interviewees include ACTUP Seattle co-founder Phil Bereano, Ingersoll Gender Center founder Marsha Botzer, co-founder of the Wildrose women’s bar and lesbian feminist Bryher Herak, and longtime gay rights advocate Roger Winters. The website will also contain profiles of past and present organizations in Seattle and King County related to LGBTQ issues and communities, a timeline of local milestones in LGBTQ history alongside national milestones, and a collection of photos and documents compiled from various libraries, archives, organizations, and individual donors.

Click here for information about 4Culture’s Heritage Projects funding program.

You are Invited: Canções Profundas (Deep Songs)

The Azores. Photo by Steve Peters

Steve Peters recently premiered an evening-length work of field recordings and improvising musicians with help from a 4Culture 2014-15 Art Projects grant. Canções Profundas (Deep Songs) traces the journey of his Portuguese ancestors from the Azores Islands, and his own journey in search of a lost piece of family history. Steve will perform the piece on Sunday, November 15 at Luso Food & Wine in White Center. Here he shares the ups and downs of his creative process.

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The Azores. Photo by Steve Peters
The Azores. Photo by Steve Peters

Steve Peters recently premiered an evening-length work of field recordings and improvising musicians with help from a 4Culture 2014-15 Art Projects grant. Canções Profundas (Deep Songs) traces the journey of his Portuguese ancestors from the Azores Islands, and his own journey in search of a lost piece of family history. Steve will perform the piece on Sunday, November 15 at Luso Food & Wine in White Center. Here he shares the ups and downs of his creative process.

The Azores are a chain of nine volcanic islands in the mid-Atlantic, an isolated region of Portugal. American whaling ships began arriving in the 18th century, hiring Azorean men as crew. My great-great grandfather Caetano Freitas came to the United States from the island of Flores on an American whaling ship in 1865, settling on California’s central coast and marrying Maria Isabel Avellar, also from Flores. They had seven children, and one of their grandsons was my maternal grandfather, Francis, a musician—I inherited his saxophone. Sadly, we know little else about them.

I visited Portugal in 2014 to make field recordings on the islands of São Miguel, Faial, and Flores. I returned home with many hours of recordings—environmental sounds, religious ceremonies, community celebrations, and music—and no clear idea of what I would do with them. It’s rare that I ever start working on a piece with a predetermined form in mind. Instead, I usually begin with a vague notion of what the piece is “about,” and start collecting bits and pieces that seem relevant. I accumulate piles of material, and then I begin playing around with the bits, hoping they’ll eventually coalesce into something resembling what I was originally thinking about. So it’s always a surprise to see what the thing I’m making actually turns out to be. Each piece has its own agenda. At certain points in the process, tensions arise between what the piece is wanting to become and what I think I want it to be. I know from experience that if I set out to make something with a clear concept in mind and it turns out exactly as I envisioned it, the results are usually pretty boring. I have to learn this again every time.

Sound artist Steve Peters. Photo by Mark Lewin
Composer Steve Peters. Photo by Mark Lewin

I went to the Azores with some solid ideas about what I hoped to record, and how those sounds might fit together. It was easy enough to log and edit the recordings, but assembling them into a form that is meaningful, beautiful, and interesting was considerably more challenging. The only way forward was to simply begin: start with a sound, then add another and another, and keep moving forward one step at a time, adjusting along the way and remaining open to any possibilities. In this way it became something I hadn’t exactly anticipated: a surprisingly linear narrative or documentary arc. My work is usually amorphous and doesn’t resolve in a tidy conclusion—it certainly doesn’t tell a story that ends at a logical destination. And yet, I could not have devised a more classic linear narrative structure if I’d tried. I now see that it could hardly have been otherwise. It’s clear that this piece wanted to tell a story. The narrative threads were there all along, waiting to be woven together. Who am I to refuse?

One Hook At A Time: A History

Crew of Alma at Fishermen’s Terminal, Seattle © ca. 1940, courtesy of Jim Bergquist and Deep Sea Fishermen’s Union of the Pacific. From Left to right: Johnny Tveit, Eric Ericksen, Ralph Ericksen, Art Clavel, Jack Ward and Jon Jorgensen.

Last year, The Deep Sea Fishermen’s Union, a first time applicant, was awarded funding through 4Culture’s Heritage Projects program to publish a history of the union and commercial fishing in the Pacific Northwest. One Hook at a Time, written by Jeff Kahrs and edited by members of the union, brings this captivating and often dangerous history to life, with never-before-seen images and personal stories. Here, President Jan Standaert give us some insight into the Union’s motivation behind the project:

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Crew of Alma at Fishermen's Terminal, Seattle © ca. 1940, courtesy of Jim Bergquist and Deep Sea Fishermen's Union
Crew of Alma at Fishermen’s Terminal, Seattle © ca. 1940, courtesy of Jim Bergquist and Deep Sea Fishermen’s Union of the Pacific. From Left to right: Johnny Tveit, Eric Ericksen, Ralph Ericksen, Art Clavel, Jack Ward and Jon Jorgensen.

Last year, The Deep Sea Fishermen’s Union, a first time applicant, was awarded funding through 4Culture’s Heritage Projects program to publish a history of the union and commercial fishing in the Pacific Northwest. One Hook at a Time, written by Jeff Kahrs and edited by members of the union, brings this captivating and often dangerous history to life, with never-before-seen images and personal stories. Here, President Jan Standaert give us some insight into the Union’s motivation behind the project:

The history of commercial fishing in the Pacific Northwest is a critical cog in the history of the Pacific Northwest, and the Deep Sea Fishermen’s Union has been motivated from the start by its desire to tell about the important role fishing—particularly hook and line fishing—has played and continues to play in the history of King County. Though King County has been enriched by companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Adobe, Getty Images, and so many more, the fishing industry is still a multi-billion dollar industry in the county. The important role these more traditional industries play should not be forgotten. Our project was created to draw attention to the life of fishermen and the important part our Union has played in developing this fishery and ensuring a decent wage for working people.

So it is no surprise when someone wanders into the Union wondering what their father or grandfather did. They may now work at Microsoft, but many local people trace their family back through photographs and family stories to our history. It was one of the reasons we wanted to put the book together and why we’ve worked so hard on our outreach. It is only by telling our story to the public that they can understand how the hard work of fishermen becomes the fish they buy at local grocery stores and markets.

The book is available for purchase at the Union’s offices in Ballard (be sure to call ahead) and for free through the Seattle Public Library. For more information on the Heritage Projects program, click here.

History at Our Feet: Preserving the Ballard Sidewalk Mosaics

Circa 1905 Mosaic, 20th Ave NW at NW 59th St, Ballard neighborhood, Seattle, WA. Photo by Benson Shaw, 2015.

Ballard community-member Benson Shaw received a 2015 Preservation Special Projects grant to help save an often-overlooked piece of Seattle history. Find out how the work is going, and learn more about these century-old urban art pieces:

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Circa 1905 Mosaic, 20th Ave NW at NW 59th St, Ballard neighborhood, Seattle, WA. Photo by Benson Shaw, 2015.
Circa 1905 Mosaic, 20th Ave NW at NW 59th St, Ballard neighborhood, Seattle, WA. Photo by Benson Shaw, 2015.

Ballard community-member Benson Shaw received a 2015 Preservation Special Projects grant to help save an often-overlooked piece of Seattle history. Find out how the work is going, and learn more about these century-old urban art pieces:

Have you ever noticed the cultural assets literally at our feet, embedded in our walkways? Surviving artifacts from earlier times remind us that the past efforts of others affect our life today—they suggest that our actions now will affect future lives.

Many sidewalks in several Seattle neighborhoods are home to blue and white tile mosaics displaying street names. You can find them in Madison Valley, northeast Seattle, First Hill near Harborview, and a few other neighborhoods. Ballard is the mother lode with about fifty mosaics displaying historic street names that have since been changed: 61st St was once Chestnut, 60th St was Baker, Market St was known as Broadway.

I’m the self-appointed guardian of our Ballard mosaics, armed with a Preservation Special Projects Grant from 4Culture, funded by the King County Lodging Tax. I’m researching our mosaic history, developing a location and condition survey and map, writing specifications for preservation and restoration, and opening channels to tell the mosaic story. My preliminary findings can be found here. Lots more to do!

Seattle Municipal Archives, City of Ballard Records, Collection ID: 9106-06, Box 2.
Seattle Municipal Archives, City of Ballard Records, Collection ID: 9106-06, Box 2.

The mosaics at intersections along 20th Ave NW from Leary Ave to NW 64th St are circa 1905—relics from the years just before Ballard was annexed, ceasing to be an incorporated city, independent of Seattle. The Seattle Municipal Archives now holds the City of Ballard’s government records, and the University of Washington and Seattle Public Library offer access to the weekly Ballard News on microfilm. These sources tell how Ballard streets were planned and constructed: when property owners petitioned the Ballard City Council for neighborhood improvement, the City Engineer created design specifications and estimated project costs. At the time the work of building Ballard’s streets was undertaken, wood plank sidewalks were used—around 1903, cement sidewalks replaced them, and the mosaic street names appeared in 1905. What’s missing from this account? The “why” behind the installation of the mosaics. I’ll continue looking for this in my research.

Aging materials and rapid redevelopment in Ballard are threatening old and new mosaics. I’m working with BOLA Architects, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development, and many others to provide detailed requirements for preservation, restoration, and replacement. Will this project continue into a restoration phase, to replace missing tile, regrout, and stabilize the existing mosaics? Stay tuned! In the meantime, tell me about similar mosaics in your neighborhood. I know the Ballard ones, but I want to locate others around the region—email me with the intersection, and a photo if you’d like! You can also explore the Ballard mosaic locations pinned on this Google Map, with photos by Luke McGuff.

An Artist's Perspective on the SODO Busway

Clarence The Cloud Creator by Dallas-based artist Michael Reeder, for Forest for the Trees, a recurring public art project in Portland, Oregon, curated by Gage Hamilton. Photo by Anthony Taylor.

The SODO busway spans two miles of 5th Avenue South, welcoming over 43,000 public transit riders into downtown Seattle each weekday. This open-air tunnel of building-backs has the potential to become a vibrant street art experience. 4Culture is convening artists, community-members, and SODO business-owners to begin the process of bringing that dream to life. In July 2015, Gage Hamilton, a Portland, Oregon-based artist and curator, was selected as Planning Artist to head up the project. Since then, Gage has been working to survey and inventory the SODO Corridor—here, he gives an update on his work. Check back often as this project progresses!

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"Clarence The Cloud Creator" by Dallas-based artist Michael Reeder, for Forest for the Trees, a recurring public art project in Portland, Oregon, curated by Gage Hamilton. Photo by Anthony Taylor.
Clarence The Cloud Creator by Dallas-based artist Michael Reeder, for Forest for the Trees, a recurring public art project in Portland, Oregon, curated by Gage Hamilton. Photo by Anthony Taylor.

The SODO busway spans two miles of 5th Avenue South, welcoming over 43,000 public transit riders into downtown Seattle each weekday. This open-air tunnel of building-backs has the potential to become a vibrant street art experience. 4Culture is convening artists, community-members, and SODO business-owners to begin the process of bringing that dream to life. In July 2015, Gage Hamilton, a Portland, Oregon-based artist and curator, was selected as Planning Artist to head up the project. Since then, Gage has been working to survey and inventory the SODO Corridor—here, he gives an update on his work. Check back often as this project progresses!

The first month of working on the SODO corridor has been exciting for me because I have a pretty big imagination. Even when I’m walking the corridor to analyze the nuts and bolts of the project, I can’t help but visualize the possibilities. To keep myself focused on the initial steps in this process, I make a point of narrowing in on one or two things at a time for each potential wall. For example, wall surface…is it paintable? If it’s not ideal for most artists, is there someone that could still work well with it? Will it hold up? What if we need to bolt in a scaffolding brace? Then I consider the ground below the wall…what kind of equipment can it support? How much space and mobility does it provide to the artist? Can the ground be improved to make it more accessible? Once I have a sense of if we can paint a wall and what it will take, then I begin to consider visibility, flow, and proximity to decipher whether we should paint the wall.

DALeast, Breaking Tempo, 2012
“Breaking Tempo” by DALeast, 2012

What excites me about this project is that in all of my research I haven’t seen anything quite like it.

I’ve experienced many neighborhoods around the globe in which you are surrounded by art everywhere you look—Brick Lane, Kakaako, Wynwood, Wabash, Easter Market, Grand River, and more—but none of these have a thematic approach, nor are they anticipating their viewers in motion. The Steve Powers tour in Philadelphia is probably the best example of a thematic project frequently viewed in motion, although it is, of course, all one artist’s. The rest of these projects seem to be favoring immersive experience and a democratic or opportunist approach, rather than seeking a narrative or specific identity. The challenge is taking advantage of the SODO corridor’s structure and flow to make it something specific and unique without being too heavy-handed and disrupting the artists’ creative visions. I’m really interested in creating a broad guideline, even something as simple as “movement.”

I’ve been meeting with artists, property owners, business operators—a variety of stakeholders in this dream. If you think we should be talking too, send me an email at gage.m.hamilton@gmail.com.

Creative Justice Mentor Artist Daemond Arrindell Embraces Challenge

Mentor Artists Daemond Arrindell leads Session 3 of the pilot year of Creative Justice. Photo by Tim Aguero.

With the pilot year of Creative Justice—4Culture’s arts-based alternative to youth incarceration in King County—almost complete, we are reflecting on lessons learned and looking towards the future. We asked Session 3 Mentor Artist, Daemond Arrindell to provide some insight into his experience working with participants and helping to shape this ground-breaking new program. The call is open for 2016 Mentor Artists—apply now!

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Mentor Artists Daemond Arrindell leads Session 3 of the pilot year of Creative Justice. Photo by Tim Aguero.
Mentor Artists Daemond Arrindell leads Session 3 of the pilot year of Creative Justice. Photo by Tim Aguero.

With the pilot year of Creative Justice—4Culture’s arts-based alternative to youth incarceration in King County—almost complete, we are reflecting on lessons learned and looking towards the future. We asked Session 3 Mentor Artist, Daemond Arrindell to provide some insight into his experience working with participants and helping to shape this ground-breaking new program. The call is open for 2016 Mentor Artists—apply now!

Last month saw the culmination of eight weeks of work for the participants of Creative Justice Session 3. The members of the group who took the stage at a celebratory closing presentation expressed pride, gratitude, and seemed to have enjoyed themselves afterwards. But, when I say “work,” I mean just that—they worked hard to get to a place where they could celebrate, and it was far from easy.

This group was at a disadvantage compared to the other Creative Justice session participants—their session took place during the summer. They had less time to get to know one another, build trust, take risks, and try on new versions of themselves. Summer is code for “break”—and it takes a great deal to compel anyone, much less a teenager, to give up part of their summer break to enter a classroom. Some of the participants knew each other, which in some ways is an asset as they supported each other, but also created cliques. If you were to sit down with any of the participants to engage in conversation, you’d find an individual with intelligence, who is inquisitive and has a mind of their own. But in a group, it’s not so easy to be an individual, especially amongst peers. So there was posturing, bravado, one-upping, and a lot of energy that was difficult to direct.

A big focus for this session was definitions and labels. All of the participants have been labelled—by family and friends, their social groups, society. Adolescence is a time when we really begin to define who are, and those labels can limit our scope, our self-worth and sense of what is possible. Each time that we got together, we began with a meal and a discussion. The topics: strength, beauty, power, respect, second chances, prison reform, self-sabotage. The discussions were rarely easy because these young people don’t typically get asked for their opinions on such matters—but that’s exactly why they should be asked. The objective: to recognize that words and definitions can be reclaimed and re-defined for ourselves, that we have agency.

Participants worked with graphic artist Greg Thornton to create their own t-shirts to visually demonstrate the principles that are important to each of them. Singer/songwriter Naomi Wachira visited them and gave a live, impromptu performance—as she began to strum her guitar and her voice filled the entire building, the participants were enthralled. It was the quietest the group had been the entire summer. They also watched a documentary called “Rubble Kings,” about the gang warfare that took place in the Bronx during the late 1960s, and how those kids transformed that violent energy into something positive—Hip-Hop.

Their final presentation followed the same format as their weekly gatherings. We began with a meal, but this time, the participants got to ask the questions. They went around to the tables of our guests and led conversations on the topic of their choosing. Some focused on second chances, others on the prison system. To close it all out they performed their script, which though edited by me was written completely by the participants. It provided an opportunity for them to share how the topics we had just discussed affect their lives personally.

It’s honestly hard to believe that it’s over—spending a little more than four hours with this group of young people each week doesn’t seem like that much, and very little of it came easy, but then they say nothing worth having ever does. All in all, that’s the deeper message, I think—to keep going, in spite of the work and challenge, so that we can become better people on the other side. That we, and the work, are worth it. Each young person walked into the sessions with a past filled with choices they made for themselves, and some choices that were made for them. The results? They still remain to be seen, but the process of trying to “Turn the Page,” which takes heart, patience, forgiveness, and courage, has begun.

– Daemond Arrindell

Making Art, for Life

Eunice Kim lives and maintains a studio in the Cascade foothills of Ravensdale, a small town located in Southeast King County. For more than a decade, Kim has been committed to a safer, sustainable approach to printmaking that utilizes nontoxic techniques. She is a recipient of a 2015 4Culture Art Projects grant. Here she shares a little about the making and presentation of her work. 

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Eunice Kim lives and maintains a studio in the Cascade foothills of Ravensdale, a small town located in Southeast King County. For more than a decade, Kim has been committed to a safer, sustainable approach to printmaking that utilizes nontoxic techniques. She is a recipient of a 2015 4Culture Art Projects grant. Here she shares a little about the making and presentation of her work. 

Eunice Kim, Porous #22, collagraph with chine collé, 23.5 x 23.5 inches (image) 28 x 28 inches (paper), 2005. Courtesy of the Artist. Eunice Kim creates printmaking plates via her own nontoxic process.  The artist forms, shapes, and polishes dot marks on her matrices--which she likens to miniature sculptures--entirely by hand manually, and prints them in a solvent-free environment.
Eunice Kim at work in her studio. Courtesy of the Artist. Eunice Kim creates printmaking plates via her own nontoxic process. The artist forms, shapes, and polishes dot marks on her matrices–which she likens to miniature sculptures–entirely by hand manually, and prints them in a solvent-free environment.

My printmaking journey began when, as an undergraduate art student, I pulled my very first print off the press.  I was instantly hooked.  Following many years of complete immersion in the medium, however, I was riddled with various allergies, sensitivities, and health issues as a result of exposure to caustic chemicals and solvents commonly used in traditional printmaking processes.  Making art was making me sick, and I found myself at crossroads: find an alternate way of working or give up printmaking.  The latter, of course, was not an option. I opted to take a five-year hiatus from printmaking to detox and regain health,and to find a way to do printmaking differently.

In early 2004, I began my investigation into a safer, sustainable approach to printmaking that foregoes the use of hazardous mordants and various organic solvents. Through this research in alternative processes, I arrived at a unique dot-based visual language that is specific to my work and intent, and informed by cultural, personal and formative experiences.

This October, I am thrilled to partner with Davidson Galleries with support from a 2015 4Culture Art Projects grant to mount a very special installation of my work produced via nontoxic printmaking techniques. Eunice Kim 2005-2015: Ten Year Survey will showcase nearly 80 select collagraphs from the past decade and present a rare opportunity to view the artworks in one comprehensive setting.  I invite you to come out and join us, take in the show, and perhaps take away a small inspiration for embarking on a safer, sustainable art making journey of your own.

To broaden the impact of this exhibition and ensure availability of my work to the public, two regional institutions–Swedish Medical Center and University of Washington Medical Center, have each received a gift of artwork for acquisition into their permanent art collections.  I can’t think of better or more fitting stewards to entrust my work to, and am honored to be able to support these organizations’ mission to heal and inspire.

Eunice Kim, Tessellation (144-3) #12, collagraph monoprint, 36 x 36 inches, 2012.
Eunice Kim, Tessellation (144-3) #12, collagraph monoprint, 36 x 36 inches, 2012.

Eunice Kim 2005-2015: Ten Year Survey

Opening Reception with the Artist: First Thursday, October 1, 2015, 6-8pm

Exhibition Dates: October 2 – 31, 2015

Gallery Hours: Tues – Sat, 10:00 am – 5:30 pm

Davidson Galleries, Pioneer Square, 313 Occidental Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98104

Free and open to public

 

 

 

Guest Post: Van Wolfe on VanFest 2015, an Open 4Culture Project

Photo by Mitch Barchi

In a region that features dozens of outdoor music festivals every year, Maple Valley’s VanFest is unique. Organized by 21-year-old Van Wolfe, the festival, which took place on August 15, is all about community – it features underground music in an all-ages setting, and profits go to the Maple Valley Food Bank. We helped fund VanFest through our Open 4Culture grant program, which exists to reach people and organizations new to 4Culture, and to fund projects happening outside of Seattle. We checked in with Van to get a recap of VanFest Five:

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Photo by Mitch Barchi
Photo by Mitch Barchi

In a region that features dozens of outdoor music festivals every year, Maple Valley’s VanFest is unique. Organized by 21-year-old Van Wolfe, the festival, which took place on August 15, is all about community – it features underground music in an all-ages setting, and profits go to the Maple Valley Food Bank. We helped fund VanFest through our Open 4Culture grant program, which exists to reach people and organizations new to 4Culture, and to fund projects happening outside of Seattle. We checked in with Van to get a recap of VanFest Five:

VanFest was a resounding success this year! In this fifth year, the vision of bringing the intimacy of DIY music to a large beautiful outdoor environment was realized in full. Being able to bring the community together to see 35 bands on four stages out in the park was an amazing opportunity, and marks the beginning of a full-fledged, year-round effort to bring arts and culture into the forefront of Maple Valley once again.

From the stage that we partnered with KGRG-FM‘s The Post to put on, which featured the best of large melodic rock, to the Tent where we had great hip-hop representation, to the Nicolas Stage, where the band SEACATS performed a talk show instead of a musical set, and everything in between, VanFest showcased a variety of the best music currently being made by and for the young people of the Pacific Northwest. VanFest’s youth access program, providing half price tickets to those in high school or younger, helped make the event more  available to the teenagers of Maple Valley and beyond who might be interested in new and relevant underground music.

All in all, the festival was friendly, fun, affordable, and ran smoothly. 4Culture’s contribution was a major factor in allowing an event like this to run at the level that it needs to, with the quality necessary to really start a movement in the city.

Piper’s Orchard Tours & Call for Volunteers from Artist Shin Yu Pai

Keepsake, part of the HEIRLOOM project by Shin Yu Pai. Courtesy of the Artist

Shin Yu Pai is a poet and photographer whose current work focuses on place-based writing, installation, and public art. She has received two 4Culture Art Projects grants, as well as a Heritage Project Award. She was awarded funding from Art Projects in 2015 for HEIRLOOM, which she shares a bit about with us here.

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Keepsake part of the HEIRLOOM project by Shin Yu Pai. Courtesy of the Artist
Keepsake, part of the HEIRLOOM project by Shin Yu Pai. Courtesy of the Artist

Shin Yu Pai is a poet and photographer whose current work focuses on place-based writing, installation, and public art. She has received two 4Culture Art Projects grants, as well as a Heritage Project Award. She was awarded funding from Art Projects in 2015 for HEIRLOOM, which she shares a bit about with us here.

Throughout this summer, I’ve been working on an ongoing public poetry installation project in the trees of Piper’s Orchard in Carkeek Park. HEIRLOOM is part of Heaven & Earth 7: Propagation, an exhibition of outdoor art curated by Thendara Kida-Gee and David Francis. As part of my project, I am “printing” words on apples using adhesive stencils applied to the fruit that are exposed to the rays of the sun. As apples ripen and the stencils are removed, words are revealed on apples throughout the trees. At the base of the orchard, a sign about the project includes a link to a QR barcode that directs smart phone users to a website where visitors can listen to a recording of a full-length poetic text about Piper’s Orchard set to an ambient soundtrack of sonic recordings made in the orchard throughout the seasons.

My project has faced some challenges in terms of natural and human interventions – ripe apples falling from branches, picking. From day to day, what’s physically on the trees changes – the rapid ripening of apple skins, bug infestations, rot. I never know what I’ll see when I go back into the orchard to work, which has been a very different process than creating for the written page.

This Saturday, I’ll return to the orchard to install the last batch of vinyl stencils for HEIRLOOM. I’d like to invite blog readers to join in the experience. Volunteers will help to install dozens of stencils, but more than that, I’d like to as anyone interested in participating, or seeing HEIRLOOM unfold, to take on the role of “apple stewards” Come back to the orchard every day, or as often as possible, to see the subtle changes in color through the ripening process and capture the experience before the apples fall from the trees or disappear. Send me your photos or post them to Facebook with the hashtags #FriendsofPipersOrchard #shinyupai or #theheirloomproject.

Volunteer work party this Saturday, August 15, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Piper’s Orchard in Carkeek Park, located at 950 NW Carkeek Park Rd. For more information on volunteering, contact City Fruit or Friends of Piper’s Orchard. Or just show up at Piper’s Orchard on Saturday!

Orchard tours and art talk/poetry readings scheduled for Saturday, August 29, 2-3 and 3-4 p.m. Meet at the Environmental Learning Center and wear hiking shoes.

HEIRLOOM is funded with support from Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture and The Awesome Foundation. Recording and production made possible through the Artist Residency Programs at Jack Straw Cultural Center. Find out more.