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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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.
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.

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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Stephanie Guerra: Stories Unlocked

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Rob Ellis, 1/365 I think I've got too much time on my hands? Digital Photograph. (cc) 2011

Rob Ellis, 1/365 I think I’ve got too much time on my hands?, Digital Photograph. (cc) 2011

 

Stephanie Guerra was awarded an Art Projects grant for her project, Stories Unlocked, an ongoing publication of writing by students incarcerated in King County Juvenile Detention Center and at-risk teens in our region. Here Stephanie shares why she does this work and why these young people are motivated to write.

On any given day, more than 100,000 teens are incarcerated in the United States. Countless more are considered at-risk for incarceration, based on factors such as homelessness, poverty, gang membership, substance abuse, grade retention, and more. Research shows that literacy is one of the most important protective factors against recidivism.

I’m a teaching artist and children’s author, and since 2005, I’ve been running creative writing programs in detention facilities in King County. Currently I’m teaching the teen girls at King County Juvenile Detention Center, and I’m moved and inspired by their writing. Their voices are unique and their stories are powerful.

Thanks to an Art Projects grant from 4Culture and a Youth Arts grant Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, I was able this year to realize a long-time dream to offer my incarcerated students a chance to share their stories and poems with the public. Together we launched storiesunlocked.com, a digital magazine of their work. I invite you to visit the web site and experience the voices of teens whom you may pass on the street, know personally, or otherwise intersect with in King County.

Sometimes we write for ourselves alone, but for many writers, an audience is a powerful motivator. The Stories Unlocked Project brought out a new level of focus and determination in my students. Especially after the initial site launch, I noticed their intense motivation to write more and better.

In their own words (names omitted to protect privacy):

“This web site is really inspiring. It’s true stuff, that’s why I like it.”

“It’s great because we finally get a chance to tell people what it’s really like.”

“People actually listen to us.”

“It truly means a lot to me that you guys are going out of your way to publish our writing. Having someone come in and offer this program to us is amazing because we didn’t realize how others want to hear what we have to say.”

These are just a few examples of the positive feedback I’ve received from the girls. This opportunity means a lot to them; they feel heard. During the Stories Unlocked Project, I’ve seen emotional breakthroughs, friendships built, and stellar work produced. I’m especially moved by the handful of students who’ve committed to novellas and are sticking with a project for dozens of pages. Many thanks to 4Culture and Seattle Office of Arts & Culture for making this possible. Thanks and congratulations to the young writers at the Stories Unlocked Project. I am so proud to share your work with the world.

People of the Central Area Series

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crowley

The Honorable Richard A. Jones grew up a block from Garfield High School, attended Seattle University and the University of Washington, and served his state as a lawyer, prosecutor, and King County and Federal Judge. As part of the digital project People of the Central Area, he shared his experience growing up in the Central District, and how the neighborhood informed who he became and how he approaches life and work.

One of the gifts that the Central District gave was that it put me in an environment where I really learned how to deal with a lot of different cultures, a lot of different folks, a lot of different histories and backgrounds. The community I was raised in really looked like the rainbow coalition of life. Yet, my block was almost 100 percent African American. There was only one Jewish family around the corner from us.

In the larger neighborhood, there was a little bit of everything (race, ethnicity, religion…) in our community. That has helped me over the course of my life, as I learned that there are different cultures; that people respond differently and react differently. It’s helped me, not only in the different types of work I’ve done in the past, but it’s been an enormous benefit to me as a judge.

Speaking about what it is like to still live in the neighborhood, Judge Jones continues…

Usually you’re taking on assignments and projects, pursuing your own career or what you want to do in life. You are not trying to make history. You are not trying to be a leader. It’s just you see something that needs to be done so you go and do it. You see people that need help and you help them. (pause) Then, you see folks that grew up the same way you did and it’s a question of reaching back and lifting up. It’s not a question of saying, ‘I got mine; you get yours.’

That’s not what we learned in the Central District. We grew up as a family. (pause) We talk about it takes a village… It was truly a village. I mean, everyone in the block knew each other. (pause) Before my mom even got home, she knew everything we’d done that day because as she walked home, she’d heard about it before she got to the front door.

Read the rest of the interview covering Judge Jones’ life in the Central Area. Interviewer and blog creator, Madeline Crowley, received funding for this project through 4Culture’s Heritage Projects.