It's Delicious! Writer Katherine Pryor on working with King County schools

Katherine Pryor received a 2015 Art Projects grant for “Read Your Greens” engaging with elementary schools in King County to build community and food literacy.

Katherine Pryor, MA, is the author of the children’s books Zora’s Zucchini and Sylvia’s Spinach. In addition to writing, she’s worked to create better food choices at institutions, large corporations, and food banks. Learn more at KatherinePryor.com, or on Twitter or Instagram @readyourgreens.

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Katherine Pryor w Zora cropped
Katherine Pryor received a 2015 Art Projects grant for “Read Your Greens” engaging with elementary schools in King County to build community and food literacy.

Katherine Pryor, MA, is the author of the children’s books Zora’s Zucchini and Sylvia’s Spinach. In addition to writing, she’s worked to create better food choices at institutions, large corporations, and food banks. Learn more at KatherinePryor.com, or on Twitter or Instagram @readyourgreens.

I’ve considered myself a writer since I was seven years old, so I suppose it makes sense that I would find my niche as an author for the seven-and-under crowd. My new book, Zora’s Zucchini, is the story of a little girl who brings her community together by sharing excess zucchini from her abundant summer garden, and I use the book as a way to talk to kids about sharing to reduce food waste. I wanted to bring this message to food-insecure communities, but didn’t know how.

That’s where 4Culture came in. When I saw the Art Projects grant call for Community Engagement proposals, I knew this could be the perfect opportunity to connect with King County schools serving kids in need. Over the 2015-2016 school year, I visited nine elementary schools in King County where at least 40% of students were eligible for Free & Reduced Meals—although at most schools, the numbers were closer to 70-80%. I read my books in gardens, libraries, gyms, and classrooms. I worked with librarians, teachers, garden educators, and nutrition advocates from Solid Ground and Lettuce Link to create meaningful programs for the children at each school. I discussed my writing process, and encouraged the children to think of themselves as storytellers.

It’s important to me to reach these kids because I was one. I was the kid with the free lunch punchcard, the kid scouring the refrigerated grocery store aisle for generic milk and orange juice to buy with our WIC coupons. With help from federal nutrition programs and the compassionate encouragement of my teachers, my hard-working parents made sure I grew up healthy, educated, and confident enough to pursue a creative profession.

Visiting schools with high rates of food insecurity to talk about food was intimidating. As I faced a gymnasium of 100 kids, I knew by sheer statistics that many members of the audience receive their primary meals of the day at school, and that some of the kids were experiencing hunger at home. Yet I was determined to leave them feeling empowered. I encouraged the kids to think about what they would do in Zora’s position. In short, what would they do with too much food?

“Sell it,” a young entrepreneur always said.

“Share it with homeless people,” someone would offer.

“Give it to my neighbors,” another kid would pipe up.

It’s easy to forget about the innate generosity and creativity of the human race. We’re surrounded by so much pain, witness to so much violence and senseless loss. Then a first grader with limited access to food describes her desire to share what she has with others, and suddenly the world makes a little more sense. We are makers. We are givers. We seek community, and strive to make those communities the best places they can be.

These are kids whose voices are worth fostering. We know there is a direct correlation between access to books and access to food, but I’m grateful for the many people out there working to change that. Visiting schools who could not usually afford to bring in an author has been one of the highlights of my writing career. I’m already scheming how to do it again next year.

Landmarks Capital Awards Announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Announcing 2016 Projects Grant Recipients

Merna Ann Hecht, Stories of Arrival, 2015. Photo courtesy of Jack Straw Cultural Center, photographer Sherwin Eng.

We kick off every year with our Projects grants. They fund a staggering range of work by individuals and organizations in arts, heritage, and historic preservation, and they set in motion a lot of fantastic King County cultural experiences for the upcoming year! The February and March deadlines brought almost 500 applications, with a large percentage of first-time applicants—something we’re especially excited about. Across all three disciplines, we funded 171 projects, for a total of just over $1 million. Here are just a few projects to keep an eye out for this year:

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Merna Ann Hecht, Stories of Arrival, 2015. Photo courtesy of Jack Straw Cultural Center, photographer Sherwin Eng.

We kick off every year with our Projects grants. They fund a staggering range of work by individuals and organizations in arts, heritage, and historic preservation, and they set in motion a lot of fantastic King County cultural experiences for the upcoming year! The February and March deadlines brought almost 500 applications, with a large percentage of first-time applicants—something we’re especially excited about. Across all three disciplines, we funded 171 projects, for a total of just over $1 million. Here are just a few projects to keep an eye out for this year:

In the Individual Arts category, Merna Ann Hecht received funding for her project Stories of Arrival, which brings the poetic voices of high school age refugees and immigrants—all of whom are English Language Learners—to the wider community. Look for an anthology release celebration and poetry reading as part of Tukwila’s annual Cultural Heritage Festival.

As part of this year’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, Mikala Woodward was awarded funding for her Heritage project Drawing the Line: Lake Washington’s Historic Shoreline, a temporary outdoor installation marking Lake Washington’s historic shoreline. The installation will stretch about 2.5 miles along Lake Washington Boulevard in Southeast Seattle, and will happen on a Bicycle Sunday in July, when the street is closed to car traffic and many people are out on foot, bicycles, and skates.

North porch roof repair, Kirkland Womans Club © 2012, courtesy of Kirkland Woman's Club
North porch roof repair, Kirkland Womans Club © 2012, courtesy of Kirkland Woman’s Club.

With the funding they received this year through Preservation, the Kirkland Woman’s Club will conduct a Needs Assessment of their nearly-100-year-old building. Built in 1924, the KWC building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is in need of both functional and aesthetic updates. A professional Needs Assessment will ensure that the club’s members have a thorough understanding of the building’s structural and mechanical systems as they begin this ambitious project.

From the Group Arts pool, Longhouse Media will launch an expanded iteration of their hugely successful project, YOU ARE ON INDIGENOUS LAND. Mark your calendar now for Georgetown’s Art Attack on Saturday, October 12, when they’ll offer a gallery show of new work, a Native Art Market, and cross-community dialogue opportunities throughout the month. A broad range of art will be offered, including prints, murals, traditional Tlingit stick ‘n’ poke tattoos, Náakw Dancers and coastal jams with hand drums, and more.

And, a bonus, just because we’re so excited about this year’s projects—check out the trailer for Ruben Perez Rodriguez’s film Fight Fam, which received Art Projects for Individuals funding:
[vimeo width=”600″ height=”493″]https://vimeo.com/125708558[/vimeo]

Head to our website to see the full lists of Projects grant recipients in Arts, Heritage, and Historic Preservation. Thank you to all who applied—the size and variety of this year’s applicant pool are a testament to the strength of the cultural work being done in King County. To those who did not receive funding this year, we strongly encourage you to keep applying!

We also thank those who served on grant review panels for their dedication, wisdom, and ability to make difficult decisions. Our 2016 Projects Grant panelists were:
Tarik Abouzied, Michael Blum, Sheila Coppola, Jonathan Cunningham, Savvy Dani, Jason Everett, Dr. David Francis, Gabriela Denise Frank, Jessica Kottke, Alexandra Madera, Dr. Natalie Martinez, Julie LaRue, Richard Nelson, Michael Owcharuk, Darby Riley, Samuella Samaniego, Sarah Samudre, June Sekiguchi, Suzanne Simmons, Tyler S. Sprague, Zachary Stocks, Dani Tirrell, Mary Jane Topash, Aimee van Roekel, Danielle Villegas, Inye Wokoma, and Eugenia Woo.

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!

Guest Post: Bookmarks and Landmarks in South King County

Century-old apple trees in the orchard at Mary Olson Farm. Photo by Rachael McAlister, White River Valley 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 details on a brand new program created by a group of South King County historical organizations:

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Century-old apple trees in the orchard at Mary Olson Farm. Photo by Rachael McAlister, White River Valley Museum.
Century-old apple trees in the orchard at Mary Olson Farm. Photo by Rachael McAlister, White River Valley 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 details on a brand new program created by a group of South King County historical organizations:

Ask the executive director of any local historical house museum and they’ll tell you: if they had a nickel for every time they met somebody who said, “I’ve always meant to check that place out,” they’d never have to apply to 4Culture for Sustained Support funding again. Drawing new visitors into these beautiful old landmark residences means that the nonprofit organizations running them have to go beyond hosting the traditional tours and teas.

Over the next few months, three historical sites are piloting a new initiative that was proposed by SoCoCulture and quickly grew into a generous collaboration among several cultural organizations in South King County. Bookmarks & Landmarks aims to bring readers to the following sites by hosting events that discuss books dealing with some of the themes that each site strives to interpret.

First up, the Greater Kent Historical Society will welcome participants to Bereiter House on May 21 for a discussion of The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. This bestseller celebrates the 1936 U.S. men’s Olympic eight-oar rowing team comprised of University of Washington students who came from the working class. Guest speakers will include rowing historians, current rowing enthusiasts, and a special appearance by local Olympic rowing champion Al Rossi, who brought home Olympic Bronze in 1952.

On June 18, the historic Mary Olson Farm in Auburn will host a program centered on the novel The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin. The book tells the story of a reclusive Washington apple grower at the beginning of the 20th century – a perfect fit for the Mary Olson Farm, which has been restored to reflect its roots as a subsistence farm from that same era, and features a century-old orchard containing many heirloom apple varieties.

And on July 16, just outside of Auburn, the landmarked Neely Mansion will focus on Looking Like the Enemy, a memoir written by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald about her removal from Vashon Island during World War II and incarceration in a Japanese American internment camp, even though she was an American citizen. The author and other local members of the Japanese American community will participate on a panel to recount their experiences from that time. In the 1930s, the Neely Mansion was home to Japanese American farmers who built a traditional bathhouse on the grounds. Over the intervening decades, the structure had fallen into disrepair, but recently the bathhouse was recognized as a King County landmark, and its restoration is being completed this spring.

Pre-registration is required to take part in any or all of these Bookmarks & Landmarks programs, but participation is free, thanks to the generous sponsorship of 4Culture, the King County Library System, Humanities Washington, and realtors Kathi Jones (John L. Scott) and Vickie Chynoweth (Keller Williams).

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.

Guest Post: Greg Ruby Rediscovers a Jazz Pioneer

Leon Hutchinson, Adam “Slocum” Mitchell, Glover Compton, Frank D. Waldron. Photo courtesy of the Washington State Black Heritage Society.

In 2015, I received funding from both 4Culture Heritage Projects and 4Culture Arts Projects to preserve, interpret, and promote musical compositions created by Seattle jazz pioneer Frank D. Waldron, one of the most important figures in early Seattle jazz. Born in 1890, Waldron settled in Seattle in 1907, and by 1912 was performing throughout the Pacific Northwest. In 1919, he established the Waldron School of Trumpet and Saxophone at 1242 Jackson Street, the epicenter of Seattle’s burgeoning jazz district. There he taught generations of Seattle’s young musicians including world famous jazz stars Quincy Jones and Buddy Catlett. In 1924, Waldron self-published a 32-page saxophone tutorial book, Frank D. Waldron’s Syncopated Classic. Utilizing nine of his original compositions as a vehicle to demonstrate the latest techniques of the era, he left behind a brilliant written collection of 1920s instrumental music.

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Leon Hutchinson, Adam “Slocum” Mitchell, Glover Compton, Frank D. Waldron. Photo courtesy of the Washington State Black Heritage Society.
Leon Hutchinson, Adam “Slocum” Mitchell, Glover Compton, Frank D. Waldron. Photo courtesy of the Washington State Black Heritage Society.

In 2015, I received funding from both 4Culture Heritage Projects and 4Culture Arts Projects to preserve, interpret, and promote musical compositions created by Seattle jazz pioneer Frank D. Waldron, one of the most important figures in early Seattle jazz. Born in 1890, Waldron settled in Seattle in 1907, and by 1912 was performing throughout the Pacific Northwest. In 1919, he established the Waldron School of Trumpet and Saxophone at 1242 Jackson Street, the epicenter of Seattle’s burgeoning jazz district. There he taught generations of Seattle’s young musicians including world famous jazz stars Quincy Jones and Buddy Catlett. In 1924, Waldron self-published a 32-page saxophone tutorial book, Frank D. Waldron’s Syncopated Classic. Utilizing nine of his original compositions as a vehicle to demonstrate the latest techniques of the era, he left behind a brilliant written collection of 1920s instrumental music.

Waldron never recorded his music. While Waldron’s work compares to contemporaries like Jelly Roll Morton, W.C. Handy, and Spencer Williams, Waldron’s geographical remoteness in Seattle prevented his compositions from being recorded, and he and other local musicians were left out of the history books. Jackson Street After Hours: The Roots of Jazz in Seattle author Paul de Barros helped coordinate research on Waldron, utilizing genealogy databases, Seattle City directories, newspapers, and other sources. This allowed us to create a thorough timeline of Waldron’s life, during which we learned that while he was previously thought to have arrived in Seattle in 1919, the directories showed a listing in Seattle dated to 1907. Waldron’s contribution to the First World War effort was made through patriotic songs. “The Kaiser’s Got the Blues (Since Uncle Sam Stepped In)” was his first self-published composition with a copyright date of February 25, 1918.

I had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to view an original copy of this piece of music at the Library of Congress Performing Arts reading room. During this trip, I also tracked down a previously unknown work of Waldron’s from 1932 titled, “Valse Queen Ann,” copyrighted on April 15, 1932. Holding this piece of handwritten music by Waldron was a joyful experience. I was fortunate to interview saxophonist Barney Hilliard, who studied with Waldron while in his teens. He commented, “He would sit on his piano bench and talk me through all the fingerings…‘if you keep working with me, you will play as well as you would ever want to play. Charlie Parker can stand up and play along with an orchestra without music and I can teach you to do that if you keep working with me.’” The Black Heritage Society of Washington State provided access to the three only known photographs of Waldron: an iconic image of Waldron with the Wang Doodle Orchestra from 1915, a picture of Waldron performing with the Odean Orchestra at the Nanking Café at 1616 ½ 4th Avenue, and a 1925 photo of him with Hutchens, clarinetist Adam “Slocum” Mitchell, and pianist Glover Compton.

Left: Frank D. Waldron’s Syncopated Classic, from the collection of Paul de Barros. Right: Syncopated Classic digitally restored by Michael McDevitt
Left: Frank D. Waldron’s Syncopated Classic, from the collection of Paul de Barros. Right: Syncopated Classic digitally restored by Michael McDevitt.

Waldron self-published Syncopated Classic in 1924—it is unknown how many copies of the book were initially created. I have completely re-notated all nine songs, attending to the detail of each nuance and making every attempt to replicate the originals. Additionally, with the only available cover of Syncopated Classic a photocopy made by de Barros 25 years ago, I worked with artist and graphic designer Michael McDevitt to restore the cover and table of contents. The digital formatting of the written music, cover and table of contents will allow for a reprinting of Syncopated Classic as this project seeks future funding to publish a book combining Syncopated Classic, a definitive biography of Waldron, and audio recordings of the original manuscript. Additionally, the digital files of Syncopated Classic are in the process of being uploaded to the Black Heritage Society of Washington State’s archive.

My band, Greg Ruby and the Rhythm Runners, a six piece vintage jazz ensemble, will continue share Waldron’s compositions this month! This collaborative effort features musicians from the Pacific Northwest, New Orleans and New York. You can catch our upcoming shows here:

Wednesday, March 23, 9:00 pm
Century Ballroom, 915 E Pine, Seattle

Thursday, March 24, 12:15 pm
KPLU 88.5 FM, Live on air hosted by Dick Stein

Thursday, March 24, 8:00 pm
Cornish Presents – PONCHO at Kerry Hall, 710 East Roy St, Seattle

Friday, March 25, 8:30 pm
East Side Stomp at the Aria Ballroom, 15300 NE 95th Street, Redmond, WA

Saturday, March 26, 7:30 pm
Seattle Folklore Society, Phinney Center Concert Hall, 6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle

Sunday, March 27, 7:00 pm
Traditions Café Concert Series, 300 5th Avenue SW, Olympia

Wednesday, March 30, 7:00 pm
Whatcom Jazz Music Art Center, WJMAC Room at the Majestic, 1027 N Forest St, Bellingham

Take a listen to the Rhythm Runners playing Waldron’s composition “Low Down:”

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