You are Invited: Dr. King Celebration

Alfredo Arreguin, Bittern’s Moon, Acrylic on Canvas. Image: © 2004, Courtesy of the Artist

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Alfredo Arreguin, Bittern's Moon, Acrylic on Canvas. Image: © 2004, Courtesy of the Artist
Alfredo Arreguin, Bittern’s Moon, Acrylic on Canvas. Image: © 2004, Courtesy of the Artist

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Please join 4Culture and King County as we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at a free, public event on January 14th from Noon – 1 1pm at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Seattle. This year’s event will feature inspiring words from the Honorable Judge Saint Clair and music by esteemed folk singer, Naomi Wachira. All are welcome!

 

 

 

 

Max Cleary: Getting to Where I’m Going

Max Cleary, Getting to Where I’m Going. © 2015 (video still)

4Culture is proud to present Getting to Where I’m Going by Max Cleary on e4c, our storefront media gallery. Cleary’s work will launch on e4c’s screens on First Thursday, January 7 at 6 pm and will run in conjunction with works by fellow media artists, Joseph Gray, Barbara Robertson, Tess Martin and Evertt Beidler from 7 am to 10 pm daily.

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Max Cleary, Getting to Where I'm Going. © 2015 (video still)
Max Cleary, Getting to Where I’m Going. © 2015 (video still)

4Culture is proud to present Getting to Where I’m Going by Max Cleary on e4c, our storefront media gallery. Cleary’s work will launch on e4c’s screens on First Thursday, January 7 at 6 pm and will run in conjunction with works by fellow media artists, Joseph Gray, Barbara Robertson, Tess Martin and Evertt Beidler from 7 am to 10 pm daily.

Getting to Where I’m Going presents a collection of personal truths, findings, and reminders that Cleary has written down over time. He began collecting them in his sketchbooks when he first arrived to Seattle, five years ago. After sifting through these quips, he selected and illustrated ideas that have affected him and stuck with him the most “in getting to wherever it is I am in life at any given time.”

“My work focuses on being within a constant state of reaching or trying, where an end point is never firmly realized. To be on the verge of becoming is a desperate and vulnerable place to be, but it is also one of truth. You’re concerned with an end point and what your vision of that end is. You are filled with a sort of hope in your belief that you will arrive there at some point. You begin, you attempt, and hopefully you arrive at a place of fulfillment. I’m interested in that middle stage of reaching and in the idea of it perpetuating, to never successfully reach that destination.”

Cleary is originally from Honolulu, Hawaii and currently lives and works in Seattle. He received his BFA in Photomedia from the University of Washington in 2014.

We hope you’ll stop by to see his work on our screens!

This is What It's All About

Creative Justice Mentor Artist Nikkita Oliver. Photo by Tim Aguero.

Creative Justice is 4Culture’s arts-based alternative to incarceration for King County youth. Spoken-word artist, teaching artist and anti-racist organizer, Nikkita Oliver led the final  project session of our inaugural year of programming. Oliver believes that the power of the arts is in the power of our voices, and works alongside young people, helping them develop creative skills and tell their stories. From September 15 through December 3, she mentored twelve teen participants twice per week as they spoke truth to power through writing, performance, poetry, theater, music, and visual arts, even publishing a chapbook—Things I Need You to Know—at the end of their session. Here, Nikkita shares her thoughts on the experience: 

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Creative Justice Mentor Artist Nikkita Oliver
Creative Justice Mentor Artist Nikkita Oliver. Photo by Tim Aguero.

Creative Justice is 4Culture’s arts-based alternative to incarceration for King County youth. Spoken-word artist, teaching artist and anti-racist organizer, Nikkita Oliver led the final  project session of our inaugural year of programming. Oliver believes that the power of the arts is in the power of our voices, and works alongside young people, helping them develop creative skills and tell their stories. From September 15 through December 3, she mentored twelve teen participants twice per week as they spoke truth to power through writing, performance, poetry, theater, music, and visual arts, even publishing a chapbook—Things I Need You to Know—at the end of their session. Here, Nikkita shares her thoughts on the experience: 

I began the 4th session of Creative Justice’s inaugural year with so much love and hope, as well as a bit of fear and trepidation. I have been a performance artist for years, so I feel less and less stage fright. Yet there is nothing quite like the anxiety welling up inside me just before I start a new teaching artist residency with youth. Young people can spot a fake from a mile away! They know if you are genuinely engaging with them, they know if you want to be there, they know if you truly care. They always demand authenticity and honesty from the moment they meet you—as they should.

Teaching is a constant dance. Each day has a different rhythm and you can fight it or be responsive to it. I have learned to be responsive; to expect and accept with humility that my plans will likely change. Teaching art requires the artist to be a learner! I have learned to be flexible and listen to the dynamic and self-determined hearts, minds and spirits that invite me to be a part of their creative process. As much as I may think I have something to teach, I have so much more to learn and those lessons often come from the youth.

Each day the youth artists brought their full, whole selves—their hopes and dreams, their struggles and fights, their growing edges and gains, their addictions and triumphs. No day was without a mountain or two to climb. No day ended without a mountain peak summited. It would be easy to look at the numbers, the attendance, the chapbook, the photos, the final celebration and miss the many important nuances—the daily challenges, the daily gains, the silent prayers, the open hearts, the bowed backs that stood a little straighter, the turned down heads that looked up for at least a short moment, or the attention span that extended a few seconds longer. I live for the small day-to-day moments because that is where the change happens exponentially yet often goes unseen.

Oliver led the participants in Session 4 in publishing a chapbook of their writing, titled Things I Need You to Know.
Oliver led the participants in Session 4 in publishing a chapbook of their writing, titled Things I Need You to Know. Photo by Tim Aguero.

While I am incredibly proud of the chapbook, the photography, and the powerful culminating 4th session celebration, I am most inspired by the day-to-day achievements. There were hard days. Days where the youth didn’t like me, didn’t like each other, and didn’t like their selves, but they kept coming back for more! They did not let fear nor hard feelings stop them from completing what they started. They allowed their selves to be challenged and accepted discomfort as a place to grow. They kept working on their selves. They continued digging into their creativity exposing places of hope, trauma, power, struggle, and resilience. In the end, while I may have facilitated a creative process, they did the work of Creative Justice.

Everyday many youth who are court-involved are forced to take risks for survival, and sometimes those risks come with unexpected consequences. However, the reality is that youth everywhere take risks—some youth simply have more safety nets to catch them when they fall and more opportunity to make mistakes from which they can learn and grow. Art is a risk. It is an opportunity to make mistakes and figure out which ones are worth keeping. In my opinion, this is what Creative Justice is about and why we must keep striving to build more art-based alternatives to incarceration in King County.

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.

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?

Local Arts Agencies: A Time of Opportunity

Theater Simple recently performed their outdoor fantasy Wonderland in Ballard, Kent, Bellevue, and Auburn. © 2013 Theater Simple, Wonderland, photo by Henry Alva

4Culture supports a growing network of more than twenty local arts agencies (LAAs)—volunteer arts commissions located in many of King County’s cities. LAAs advocate for arts programs within municipal governments, which are often the primary cultural service providers for residents in suburban and rural King County. LAAs regularly put on free performances, concerts, exhibitions, and arts education, and manage grants, public art selection, and cultural planning for their communities. Since its inception, 4Culture has convened a roundtable meeting of LAA staff coordinators every two months. This network serves as a regional peer group of arts staff and commissioners, sharing information, best practices, program development, and advocacy. Everyone is welcome at these meetings.

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© 2013 Theatre Simple, Wonderland, photo by Henry Alva
Theater Simple recently performed their outdoor fantasy Wonderland in Ballard, Kent, Bellevue, and Auburn. © 2013 Theater Simple, Wonderland, photo by Henry Alva

4Culture supports a growing network of more than twenty local arts agencies (LAAs)—volunteer arts commissions located in many of King County’s cities. LAAs advocate for arts programs within municipal governments, which are often the primary cultural service providers for residents in suburban and rural King County. LAAs regularly put on free performances, concerts, exhibitions, and arts education, and manage grants, public art selection, and cultural planning for their communities. Since its inception, 4Culture has convened a roundtable meeting of LAA staff coordinators every two months. This network serves as a regional peer group of arts staff and commissioners, sharing information, best practices, program development, and advocacy. Everyone is welcome at these meetings.

4Culture also supports the growth and development of LAAs with annual funding and collaborative programming. This year, the Maple Valley Creative Arts Council set a great example for how LAAs can positively impact their communities through the arts. Using a 4Culture grant, they plan to turn a neglected alleyway into a much-needed after school gathering place for high school teens in partnership with neighboring businesses and the city of Maple Valley.

With the dramatic growth and diversity of our Northwest region, many cities are looking for ways to distinguish themselves and to build a renewed sense of cultural identity. In many cases, these communities are comprised of immigrants from all corners of the world. This is a perfect time and opportunity for the arts to take a leading role in promoting cultural awareness, engaging people of all cultures, crossing generational boundaries, overcoming language barriers, sharing ethnic traditions, and celebrating the differences and the humanity that we all share. This is a time when local governments all over King County should be investing more than ever in cultural opportunities, and embracing the growing cultural richness of our region.

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.