Preservation Sustained Support Kicks Off Two Years of Funding

“Heartbomb” photo event, Nuclear Reactor Building at University of Washington © 2015, photo by John Shea, courtesy of Docomomo WEWA.

Through our Sustained Support grant, we assist with the day-to-day needs of organizations doing cultural work in King County. The funding provided by this grant rolls out over two-year cycles, with another one kicking off in fall 2016.

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“Heartbomb” photo event, Nuclear Reactor Building at University of Washington © 2015, photo by John Shea, courtesy of Docomomo WEWA.

Through our Sustained Support grant, we assist with the day-to-day needs of organizations doing cultural work in King County. The funding provided by this grant rolls out over two-year cycles, with another one kicking off in fall 2016.

We’re proud to be funding 18 organizations and municipalities through Preservation Sustained Support for the next two years! The panel awarded a total of $99,000 in funding, with 9 applicants receiving increased funding due to their increased activity levels and preservation-specific programming. Applicants represented 7 of 9 King County Council districts. Here are a few highlights:

The City of Bothell is great example of how municipalities can put Preservation Sustained Support funds to work through a variety of projects. They installed a historical road sign commemorating “Lazy Husband Road,” a road built by inmates sent to the Bothell Stockade as a result of the Lazy Husbands Act of 1913. They’ve nominated a small district of World War II-era cottages to their local historic register, and are planning the same for two 1930s former bank buildings on Main Street. They’ll continue to focus on Main Street revitalization over the next two years as they develop design guidelines, help property owners interested in façade restoration, and extend Main Street to connect it with new downtown development and UW Bothell Campus.

Docomomo WEWA focused their advocacy efforts this year on their Save the Reactor campaign, a collaboration with Historic Seattle and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation to prevent demolition of the National Register-listed Nuclear Reactor Building at the University of Washington. Although the building was torn down in July 2016, Docomomo raised broad community awareness about what we can learn from our built environment, and they continue to advocate for other historic resources on the Seattle campus and other properties owned by the UW.

2016 was the first time the Volunteer Park Trust applied for Sustained Support funding, seeking support for their upcoming goal of restoring the park’s great lawn. It’s an ambitious project—they’ll construct a new amphitheater slightly north of the current one, allowing them to restore the lawn to its original Olmsted design and reconnect the pathway from the Volunteer Park Reservoir to the lower loop road. With support from neighbors, performance groups, Seattle Parks, the Landmarks Board, and, now, Sustained Support funding, they’ll move forward with design and plans for a Capital Campaign to fund landscape restoration and construction.

Check out the full list of Preservation Sustained Support recipients online, and make sure to keep an eye out for the great work they’re all doing!

Sustained Support Open, with New Opportunities for Cities

Students participate in Seattle Architectural Foundation’s City Stories program. SAF received Preservation Sustained Support funding for the 2015-16 cycle. © 2015, photo by Caroline Nye Stevens, courtesy of Seattle Architectural Foundation.

Where would King County be without our amazing cultural organizations? Large and small, urban and rural, they bring our region’s history to life, connect us with amazing art, safeguard the buildings and locations that define us, and so much more. Through our Sustained Support grant, we assist with the day-to-day needs of these organizations over two-year cycles. It’s available for nonprofit organizations, artistic agencies, and cities supporting cultural activities—see more information on that below—and is open now!

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Students participate in Seattle Architectural Foundation's City Stories program. SAF received Preservation Sustained Support funding in the 2015-16 cycle. © 2015, photo by Caroline Nye Stevens, courtesy of Seattle Architectural Foundation
Students participate in Seattle Architectural Foundation’s City Stories program. SAF received Preservation Sustained Support funding for the 2015-16 cycle. © 2015, photo by Caroline Nye Stevens, courtesy of Seattle Architectural Foundation.

Where would King County be without our amazing cultural organizations? Large and small, urban and rural, they bring our region’s history to life, connect us with amazing art, safeguard the buildings and locations that define us, and so much more. Through our Sustained Support grant, we assist with the day-to-day needs of these organizations over two-year cycles. It’s available for nonprofit organizations, artistic agencies, and cities supporting cultural activities—see more information on that below—and is open now!

Read the full guidelines carefully, and apply by October 19, 2016 at 5:00 pm.

This year, we want to make sure the public knows that Preservation Sustained Support not only provides grants to nonprofit organizations, but also to cities that are contributing to historic preservation. With Sustained Support grants cities can receive operating funds for everyday costs such as salaries, consultant fees, marketing materials, and supplies for two consecutive years. This program is open to all cities in King County with:

  • A historic preservation program established by city ordinance, or historic preservation services contracted through interlocal agreement to the King County Historic Preservation Program (KCHPP).
  • City staff dedicated part or full time to historic preservation tasks, including but not limited to overseeing historic surveys, landmark designations, design review, and public education.

If you live in Auburn, Newcastle, Issaquah or any of the other 17 cities that are eligible to apply, and wish your city could do more in the way of preservation, contact your city manager or local elected officials and let them know about this opportunity! If you have questions about application requirements or eligibility, know that staff is here to help.

Workshops
Bring your questions to these informal, drop-in grant workshops. Program managers will be available to talk about the grant and your application. No need to RSVP!

4Culture Offices
Arts: Mondays, September 12 and 26, October 3, 10, and 17, 12:00-1:00 pm
Heritage: Wednesdays, September 21 and October 12, 3:00-4:00 pm  October 12, 12:00-1:00 pm
Preservation: Tuesdays, September 20 and October 4, 12:00-1:00 pm

Around King County
Wednesday, September 7, 12:00-1:00 pm, Woodinville Library
Wednesday, September 14, 12:00-1:00 pm, Federal Way Community Center
Wednesday, September 28, 12:00-1:00 pm, Issaquah Depot Museum

Two Awards for One Application!

Photo courtesy of Teen Tix, by John Ulman.

What’s better than an unrestricted operating grant? Two unrestricted operating grants! That’s what organizations that receive Arts Sustained Support get—two grants over two years. And the second year of the 2015-2016 biennium is upon us, meaning that 269 arts organizations and 22 Local Arts Agencies will be receiving the same award in 2016 as they did in 2015.

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TeenTix (Seattle Center Foundation) PR-16-0090 NewGuardMemberMeg_JohnUlman
Photo courtesy of Teen Tix, by John Ulman.

What’s better than an unrestricted operating grant? Two unrestricted operating grants! That’s what organizations that receive Arts Sustained Support get—two grants over two years. And the second year of the 2015-2016 biennium is upon us, meaning that 269 arts organizations and 22 Local Arts Agencies will be receiving the same award in 2016 as they did in 2015.

This includes cultural institutions like Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Art Museum, and Village Theatre; established mid-level organizations like Seattle Arts & Lectures, Spectrum Dance Theater, and On the Boards; crucial service organizations like Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences, SEEDArts, and Washington Lawyers for the Arts; artistic hubs like Velocity Dance Center, Richard Hugo House, and Northwest Film Forum; youth arts organizations like The Vera Project, Northwest Girlchoir, Youth Theatre Northwest, and TeenTix; celebrated festival producers like Earshot Jazz Society, Wintergrass, and Seattle International Film Festival; scrappy but impactful organizations like Annex Theatre, Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas, and Hollow Earth Radio; and myriad organizations from across King County, including Camlann Medieval Association in Carnation, Arts Alive! in Enumclaw, Dandylyon Drama in Lake Forest Park, Arts of Kenmore, and the Auburn Symphony Orchestra. That’s only a handful of the theaters, symphonies, galleries, choruses, dance troupes, film festivals, and so many other organizations who receive a modest but dependable award each year. Arts Sustained Support is 4Culture’s largest funding program, both in the number of recipients and the total funding ($1.75 million).

4Culture is pleased to announce that, thanks to a gradually improving economy and the Pacific Northwest’s robust tourism, the 2016 Sustained Support awards will be the same as they were in 2015.

And: 4Culture is doubly pleased to announce that the process of claiming these awards has just been simplified with our new online invoicing system. (This sort of thing may not quicken the pulse of the average citizen, but for those of us who navigate grant bureaucracies – funders and applicants – the promise of simplification is downright thrilling.) After some rigorous self-examination, we have streamlined our invoicing to only the information we absolutely need. If you’re an Arts Sustained Support recipient, go here for more info or directly to apply.4culture.org to register and get underway!

Close to $4 million in Grants for 2015

From left to right: Yosh Nakagawa, People of Central District project, photo by Madeline Crowley; visitors to the Do You Know Bruce? exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum; the North Bend Theater.

As summer comes to a close, we’re taking a moment to look at and share what our Arts, Heritage and Preservation departments have funded during the first half of 2015. 4Culture staff are proud to administer grant programs that support the critical role culture plays in defining our region.

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From left to right: Yosh Nakagawa, People of Central District project photo by Madeline Crowley, visitors to the Do You Know Bruce? exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum, the North Bend Theater.
From left to right: Yosh Nakagawa, People of Central District project, photo by Madeline Crowley; visitors to the Do You Know Bruce? exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum; the North Bend Theater.

As summer comes to a close, we’re taking a moment to look at and share what our Arts, Heritage and Preservation departments have funded during the first half of 2015. 4Culture staff are proud to administer grant programs that support the critical role culture plays in defining our region.

Here’s the breakdown:

The year isn’t over yet! The September 9 deadline is right around the corner for Building for Culture, our biggest cultural facility grant yet, as well as Tech-Specific, the recent incarnation of the Site Specific program. Applications for that program are due October 15.

Keep up-to-date on grant opportunities through our e-news and website, and by following us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Become an Agent of Information for 4Culture!

An audience at the 2014 National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY). Photo by Mark Malijan
An audience at the 2014 National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY). Photo by Mark Malijan

Do you want to go to arts and heritage events—plays, concerts, exhibitions, movie screenings, readings, lectures, and much more—around King County for free? And even get paid for it? (At least, paid enough to cover your travel costs…) Are you a thoughtful, articulate person who can write about your experiences in a thoughtful, articulate way?

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An audience at the 2014 National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY).  Photo by Mark Malijan
An audience at the 2014 National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY). Photo by Mark Malijan

Do you want to go to arts and heritage events—plays, concerts, exhibitions, movie screenings, readings, lectures, and much more—around King County for free? And even get paid for it? (At least, paid enough to cover your travel costs…) Are you a thoughtful, articulate person who can write about your experiences in a thoughtful, articulate way?

Then you should consider applying to become a 4Culture On-Site Reviewer!

The On-Site Review program is part of how 4Culture evaluates the many arts and heritage organizations who receive Sustained Support funding. All of these organizations (choruses, theaters, art galleries, historical societies, orchestras, dance troupes, film collectives, literary groups, museums, service organizations, and more) tell us which of their events best reflect who they are—which programs best embody the quality of their efforts and the essence of their mission. Then 4Culture sends On-Site Reviewers to these events, who write up brief but substantial reviews, which are later given to the panels that consider the Sustained Support recipients’ next application. The goal of these reviews is to give the panelists a patron’s-eye-view of the organization, to flesh out their understanding of what these organizations actually do.

These reviews are not thumbs-up/thumbs-down critiques—they’re meant to be a description of a well-informed patron’s experience. They must be concise (the panelists will be reading more than 600 of them!), but they must also provide concrete details of the event and some balanced discussion of the quality and substance of the event.

If you can write such reviews, and if you have a demonstrable background in one or more disciplines (for example, if you are an artist or an administrator in an arts or heritage organization), please apply to become an On-Site Reviewer by 5 pm on Monday, April 6, 2015.

For more information about how to apply, go to www.4culture.org/getinvolved/index.htm and click on the tab for On-Site Reviews. There you will find the ‘Call for On-Site Reviewers’, which you can download. You will also find the 2015 Review Form, which is what Reviewers fill out, and a link to On-Site Reviews on 4Culture’s blog, which will give you some samples of the kind of review we seek.

Questions about the program or about applying? Call Bret Fetzer at 206.205.8592 or e-mail him (preferred) at bret.fetzer@4culture.org.

Over 2 Million in Sustained Support

© 2014 Santa Cruz Portland Cement 2 Engine, courtesy of Northwest Railway Museum
© 2014 Santa Cruz Portland Cement 2 Engine, courtesy of Northwest Railway Museum

Announcing 4Culture’s 2015 & 2016 Sustained Support Recipients

‘Just be your selfie’ installation and event, Occidental Park, Seattle © 2014, courtesy of Alliance for Pioneer Square

Cultural organizations play a vital role in contributing to community identity and economic development in King County, Washington. In presenting and preserving the unique character of people, places and artistic efforts through events, programming, and activities, these local groups provide context within a rapidly growing and diverse region.

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Announcing 4Culture’s 2015 & 2016 Sustained Support Recipients

'Just be your selfie' installation and event, Occidental Park, Seattle © 2014, courtesy of Alliance for Pioneer Square
‘Just be your selfie’ installation and event, Occidental Park, Seattle © 2014, courtesy of Alliance for Pioneer Square

Cultural organizations play a vital role in contributing to community identity and economic development in King County, Washington. In presenting and preserving the unique character of people, places and artistic efforts through events, programming, and activities, these local groups provide context within a rapidly growing and diverse region.

4Culture promotes the missions of these organizations through its Sustained Support programs, which provide consistent levels of support in two-year cycles. This year, the 4Culture Board awarded funding to 355 cultural groups, organizations and cities, totaling $2,200,000 for both 2015 and 2016.

New to the Preservation Sustained Support program this year is the University Heights Center for the Community Association. The UHCCA is a nonprofit committed to preserving the landmarked University Heights Elementary School’s architectural and social history, while supporting educational programs and promoting community development within the neighborhood. With a demonstrated preservation focus, the UHCCA has raised the bar for historic building stewardship, while offering continuous and diverse programming. This program also supports local cities with a strong preservation ordinance, active educational programming and long-standing advocacy focus, including the City of Bothell, Kirkland and Seattle.

This year, Duwamish Tribal Services was again awarded funding through Heritage Sustained Support to promote and share the social, cultural, and political story of the Duwamish Tribe at their Longhouse & Cultural Center. The organization provides storytelling events, traditional dance classes, native markets, and a free museum that focuses on the history of the Duwamish people and their continued significance within today’s society. Other organizations supported through this program are the Wing Luke Museum, MOHAI, the Museum of Flight and community-based heritage societies throughout King County.

Arts organizations make up the largest portion of the Sustained Support awards, and include multi-million dollar institutions like Seattle Opera and Seattle Symphony to small, grass-roots groups like 206 Zulu and Rain City Rock Camp for Girls. The program seeks to embrace music, theater, film, dance, visual arts, and much more. New recipients this year are the acclaimed small publisher Copper Canyon Press, youth service organization TeenTix, female-driven comics and zine festival Short Run, dance group DAIPANbutoh, Irish music association Ceol Cascadia, and the Seattle Asian American Film Festival.

To view the full list of Arts, Heritage and Preservation Sustained Support recipients, visit the programs’ webpages and click on the “recipients” tabs.

Sustained Support Applications Due!

Branford Marsalis © 2012 Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. Photo by Daniel Sheehan.
Branford Marsalis © 2012 Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. Photo by Daniel Sheehan.
Branford Marsalis with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. Photo © Daniel Sheehan 2012, courtesy of SRJO.

Deadline: Wednesday, October 15 by 5:00 pm

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Branford Marsalis with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra.  Photo  © Daniel Sheehan 2012, courtesy of SRJO.
Branford Marsalis with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. Photo © Daniel Sheehan 2012, courtesy of SRJO.

Deadline: Wednesday, October 15 by 5:00 pm

Sustained Support is offered across all funding programs every two years and the deadline is fast approaching. Has your organization submitted its application yet? We are waiting for it. It’s best not to wait until the last minute. We are proud of our online application portal but when everyone applies at once there can be delays.  Don’t hesitate to contact staff with questions. you’ll find their information on on each Sustained Support program page.

Follow these links for information and to apply. Don’t let this round pass you by!

Arts Sustained Support

Heritage Sustained Support

Preservation Sustained Support

 

Mask required!

Dancers at the Century Ballroom, dancing to the Valse Cafe Orchestra. Photo by Dan Lamont.
Dancers at the Century Ballroom, dancing to the Valse Cafe Orchestra. Photo by Dan Lamont.
Dancers at the Century Ballroom, dancing to the Valse Cafe Orchestra. Photo by Dan Lamont.

Onsite Review of Masquerade Ball and Valse Cafe Orchestra

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Dancers at the Century Ballroom, dancing to the Valse Cafe Orchestra.  Photo by Dan Lamont.
Dancers at the Century Ballroom, dancing to the Valse Cafe Orchestra. Photo by Dan Lamont.

Onsite Review of Masquerade Ball and Valse Cafe Orchestra

Through the On-Site Review program, 4Culture evaluates arts and heritage organizations who receive Sustained Support funding. On-Site Reviewers attend events produced or presented by recipients and write up short reviews, which give the adjudicating Sustained Support panelists a patron’s-eye-view of each organization.  Each month, the 4Culture blog presents excerpts from these reviews.  This month’s review is by Allison Shirk.

The event, on January 31 at Capitol Hill’s Century Ballroom, was a Masquerade Ball with dancing and cabaret. Music was performed by the Valse Cafe Orchestra—a nine piece ensemble featuring soprano, Lucia Neare—for dancers who were dressed in gowns and costumes. All were required to wear a mask to be admitted. The cabaret performed scenes from Romeo & Juliet in between dances, seeming to appear out of the crowd until the spotlight found the actor or actress (who was wearing a wireless microphone) as the scene unfolded seamlessly. The cafe orchestra performed a variety of music including waltzes, swing tunes, Foxtrots, one steps, polkas, two steps and tangos.

The quality of the production was outstanding. Those in attendance were obviously primarily interested in dancing and seemed to enjoy the range of music, the setting and atmosphere, and the surprise cabaret very much. The performance of the production was matched in quality by the audience dancers who very talented as well.

Two aspects of the performance should be highlighted. First, the orchestra did an outstanding job of increasing access to compositions of bygone eras and cultures…Paris in the thirties. Hapsburg Vienna. Yiddish melancholy. Gypsy romance. Ragtime Manhattan, and dual genres of swing – the sophisticated urbane variety as well as a few Bob Wills barn-burners.

Second, the cabaret was brilliant in its ability to be in the crowd interacting with the audience/dancers and then suddenly increase in volume as the wireless microphone was turned up to blend into a scene from Romeo & Juliet. The transitions were seamless and the Shakespearean prose came to life each scene. Because the scene in the play was also a ball, it was simply magical the way it worked together.

The Century Ballroom was the perfect setting for the production. The stage projected the orchestra quite well, the cabaret was able to use the second floor for its balcony in the scenes, and the audience / dancers were able to dance effortless with little crowding. The venue was founded to promote social dancing and provided 2500 square feet of sprung wood floors.

The audience was primarily comprised of skilled dancers who seemed very much to enjoy the opportunity to dance to great music and enjoy the entertainment. The masks worn by all audience members facilitated switching of dance partners so that all the audience were given an opportunity to dance with a partner. The male to female (or lead to follower) ratio was monitored so that there were plenty of dance partners available for everyone.

The audience/dancers had to stand in line for a bit waiting for the ballroom to open, but event staff were there to entertain those in line and distribute chocolate and poetry during the wait. There were staff members on hand an available to answer questions and to get the audience/dancers inside smoothly once the doors were opened. Most importantly, it was really fun!

You can hear a sample of the Valse Café Orchestra on 4Culture’s Touring Arts Roster.  Their next performance is the Waltz Cafe on Oct 26 at the Century Ballroom.

2015-16 Sustained Support Deadline Approaching

Free ride program at South Lake Union Park, Seattle © 2013, The Center for Wooden Boats
Free ride program at South Lake Union Park, Seattle © 2013, The Center for Wooden Boats

Sustained Support for Arts, Heritage & Preservation Programs

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Free ride program at South Lake Union Park, Seattle © 2013, The Center for Wooden Boats
Free ride program at South Lake Union Park, Seattle © 2013, The Center for Wooden Boats

Sustained Support for Arts, Heritage & Preservation Programs

Deadline: October 15, 2014, 5:00 PM

4Culture’s Sustained Support program provides operating support for King County-based nonprofit cultural organizations, municipal preservation agencies and local arts agencies. Until 5:00 pm on Wednesday, October 15th, organizations and agencies can apply for two-year support and, if funded, can use the awarded amount for nearly anything to do with operations: staffing, supplies, utilities, rent, programming, etc. Sustained Support is offered every two years.

Applications are now available and we encourage all interested in applying, or re-applying, to contact 4Culture staff to determine which program area is the best fit for your organization. As with other 4Culture funding programs, organizations practicing and supporting traditional cultures in King County are encouraged to apply.

For Arts organizations or agencies, view program guidelines here.

For Heritage organizations, view program guidelines here.

For Preservation organizations or agencies, view program guidelines here.

Application workshops will be offered in September and early October. Dates and locations are listed under the “Help” tab on the program guidelines page, or see the full schedule below. If you would like to learn more about Arts, Heritage, or Preservation Sustained Support, click on a program page above. You will also be able to access the applications from these pages. Don’t hesitate to contact 4Culture staff if you have questions about applying.

Arts: Bret Fetzer, call (206)205-8592 or email

Heritage: Eric Taylor, call (206)296-8688 or email

Preservation: Flo Lentz,  call (206) 296-8682 or  email

 

2015-2016 Sustained Support Workshop Schedule

Monday, September 8, 12-1 pm (Arts only) 4Culture

Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 12:30-1:30 pm (Arts & Heritage)
Bothell Library
18215 98th Ave. NE
Bothell, WA 98011

Thursday, September 11, 12-1 pm (Heritage only) 4Culture

Monday, September 15, 12-1 pm  (Arts only) 4Culture

Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 12:30-1:30 pm (Arts & Heritage)
Federal Way Library
34200 1st Way S.
Federal Way, 98003

Wednesday, September 17, 12-1 pm (Preservation only) 4Culture

Thursday, September 18, 12-1 pm (Heritage only) 4Culture

Monday, September 22, 12-1 pm (Arts Only) 4Culture

Wednesday, September 24, 12-1 pm (Preservation only) 4Culture

Thursday, September 25, 12-1 pm (Heritage only) 4Culture

Monday, September 29, 12-1 pm (Arts only) 4Culture

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 12:30-1:30 pm (Arts & Heritage)
Bellevue Library
1111 110th Ave. NE
Bellevue, 98004

Wednesday, October 1, 12-1 pm (Preservation only) 4Culture

Thursday, October 2, 12-1 pm (Heritage only) 4Culture

Monday, October 6, 12-1 pm (Arts only) 4Culture

Wednesday, October 8, 12-1 pm (Preservation only) 4Culture

Thursday, October 9, 12-1 pm (Heritage only) 4Culture

Mon, October 13, 12-1 pm (Arts only) 4Culture

Cowboys and Astronauts and Talented Youth!

Filmmaker Tashaila Garrett being interviewed on the red carpet at NFFTY 2014. Photo by Victor Antonio Labarthe.

Through the On-Site Review program, 4Culture evaluates arts and heritage organizations who receive Sustained Support funding. On-Site Reviewers attend events produced or presented by recipients and write up short reviews, which give the adjudicating Sustained Support panelists a patron’s-eye-view of each organization.  Each month, the 4Culture blog presents excerpts from these reviews.  This month’s review is by Jessica Lenderts.

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Filmmaker Tashaila Garrett being interviewed on the red carpet at NFFTY 2014.  Photo by Victor Antonio Labarthe.
Filmmaker Tashaila Garrett being interviewed on the red carpet at NFFTY 2014. Photo by Victor Antonio Labarthe.

Through the On-Site Review program, 4Culture evaluates arts and heritage organizations who receive Sustained Support funding. On-Site Reviewers attend events produced or presented by recipients and write up short reviews, which give the adjudicating Sustained Support panelists a patron’s-eye-view of each organization.  Each month, the 4Culture blog presents excerpts from these reviews.  This month’s review is by Jessica Lenderts.

There’s a certain kind of joy that comes from viewing the work of a master artist in the prime of their career – the kind of feeling you get when looking at a Monet painting, listening to a classic symphony or watching a great Scorsese film. There’s an entirely different, and just as wonderful, feeling that comes with experiencing the work of someone who is clearly at the very beginning of a promising career, and whose nascent talents are just emerging and being shaped. That’s what it was like to attend NFFTY, the National Film Festival for Talented Youth [at SIFF Cinema on April 27, 2014]. The Centerpiece Screening showcased the work of eight different young filmmakers, and spanned a variety of genres and topics. I was astounded by the breadth of work shown during the evening – especially given that this was just one small part of a much larger festival. Each film was entirely unique, and different than anything I’d ever seen before. From a short documentary about the leader of a homeless community in Indianapolis, to a music video featuring a pink-haired, sword-fighting heroine, to a story about the decimation of a Native American tribe, each film clearly displayed talent, depth of thought, and hard work on the part of the filmmakers.

To be sure, a few films stood above the rest, while others at times veered into more amateurish territory. My guest and I read the descriptions of all the films beforehand, and interestingly, some of the films we had been looking forward to the most turned out not to be our favorites, while others surprised us. Our favorite films were “Run with Me”, a beautiful film about physically handicapped young man who struggles to compete in sports, and “Journey Home”, a sweet short story about an astronaut who has just returned from the moon. One film, “Callback”, about a young university student who goes to an STD clinic, mystified us – we thought it was the best-scripted and most artistically shot of all the films, but it had an abrupt ending left us hanging (and wanting to know more). Another film, “Cowboys of Chincoteague,” was very well shot but had some stylistic incongruities that made us laugh. It was a great way to spend an evening, at times intriguing, funny, and poignant by turns.

It was also great to see the range of different ethnicities, abilities, and issues presented in the films. I thought it was especially nice to see young filmmakers taking on complex issues like racism, historical injustice, disabilities, homelessness, and global politics. I also thought it was interesting to see the geographical range of the filmmakers, who came from the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. After the screening there was a question-and-answer session with the filmmakers, and it was neat to hear about the creative process (and sheer amount of hard work!) that went in to making their films.

Talented Youth will be presenting a series of music videos at the downtown branch of Seattle Public Library at 2 pm on Saturday, Sept 27. The next NFFTY will be in the spring of 2015.

 

Straight Lines and Full Stops

Dancers in the Holiday Concert from Pacific Ballroom Dance. Photo by Garrett Gibbons.
Dancers in the Holiday Concert from Pacific Ballroom Dance. Photo by Garrett Gibbons.

Through the On-Site Review program, 4Culture evaluates arts and heritage organizations who receive Sustained Support funding. On-Site Reviewers attend events produced or presented by recipients and write up short reviews, which give the adjudicating Sustained Support panelists a patron’s-eye-view of each organization.  Each month, the 4Culture blog presents excerpts from these reviews.  This month’s review is by Mary Sherhart.

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Dancers in the Holiday Concert from Pacific Ballroom Dance.  Photo by Garrett Gibbons.
Dancers in the Holiday Concert from Pacific Ballroom Dance. Photo by Garrett Gibbons.

Through the On-Site Review program, 4Culture evaluates arts and heritage organizations who receive Sustained Support funding. On-Site Reviewers attend events produced or presented by recipients and write up short reviews, which give the adjudicating Sustained Support panelists a patron’s-eye-view of each organization.  Each month, the 4Culture blog presents excerpts from these reviews.  This month’s review is by Mary Sherhart.

What Pacific Ballroom Dance presented on stage reflected their mission perfectly:  to build character, instill good values and provide youth with a positive artistic, social, and athletic experience. The quality of the performance reflected attention to detail and professionalism.  The costumes were colorful and neat, ranging from gingham to sequined satin gowns.  The girls’ hair and make-up was perfect.  The boys’ shoes shined and shirts ironed.  Lines were straight and full stops were held perfectly.  The final tableaus that ended almost every piece were flawless and well thought out; picture perfect.  Their teachers obviously gave them great instruction on staying in character throughout a piece.  Their smiles looked mostly natural, chests lifted, eyes focused, and backs straight.  Carriage is so important for ballroom, however, who knows how many of these kids will actually go into ballroom.  Even if they don’t, they will have wonderful posture their entire lives thanks to PBD.

This was the matinee performance of PBD’s annual holiday concert.  This 70-minute performance featured 14 separate pieces performed by various teams in costume (youth premier team, junior show, junior premier, kids & ballet classes, youth show, preteen, and an all-company finale).   The finale included 135 performers.  The music was mostly jolly pop holiday classics like Jingle Bells, Santa Baby, etc.  The choreographers considered the audience in the overall flow of the show and the separate pieces.  Each piece was short and the pieces quite varied, which kept the audience engaged from start to finish.   They used lifts and stunts to good effect.  Nice breadth of emotion from humor to pathos.

I appreciated the attention to stagecraft.  Lighting was used to mostly good effect, though there was a gold wash that, rather than looking warm, made the stage a little somber for my tastes.  The lit Christmas tree placed upstage off center for the entire concert was a perfect touch as was the smoke, snow, occasional spot and various props placed by the performers.  No one, and I mean no one, peeked from the wings.  That was amazing for a children’s performance.  Kudos to the instructors!

The audience was filled with enthusiastic and loving family members rooting on their young performer(s).  There were babes in arms to grandparents with walkers and all ages in between.  It was lovely to hear siblings and friends calling out names of various performers.  One particularly charming moment happened after a number in which the snow machine was used.  As a young man quickly swept the snow off the darkened stage with a wide broom, some kid in the audience yelled, “BROOM!”  Everyone laughed and applauded wildly.  Very fun.

The opening choreography was a fabulous romp and got the concert started with a bang.  The music was uncomfortably loud, but by the second number it was at a comfortable level.  The ending bow was one of the best I’ve seen – so exciting and energetic, and obviously well-rehearsed.

Pacific Ballroom Dance’s next Spring Concert is on May 30-31 at Auburn Performing Arts Center .