Touring Arts Roster has Never Been Sweeter

Photos Courtesy of Artist, (c) Gene Trent

Happy Sweet 60th Birthday to Elnah Jordan!

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Photos Courtesy of Artist, (c) Gene Trent
Photos Courtesy of Artist, (c) Gene Trent

Happy Sweet 60th Birthday to Elnah Jordan!

When Elnah sings, she lays it on the line – she moves you … you can’t help but listen!”  -Jeff Busch

Elnah Jordan’s passion for singing was ignited at an early age and nurtured throughout her childhood. As a young talent, her vocal gifts developed along a path that took her from the gospel choir stands of her Midwest hometown to adventures in San Francisco as a revered street performer to club gigs opening for the likes of Gil Scott Heron. She eventually found the theater stage, and in 1983, was awarded Vocalist of the Year for her portrayal of the legendary Bessie Smith in “The Evolution of the Blues,” written and produced by Jon Hendricks of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. Later she starred in, “Street of Dreams,” an Off Broadway musical drama where she was awarded the prestigious, Cabaret Gold Award for outstanding performance.

Elnah has since made Seattle her home and become a treasured member of the local Gospel, Blues, R&B and Jazz scenes. She’s performed at almost every local jazz venue and collaborated with most of the heavy hitters, including two of her great supporters: Reggie Goings, whom she credits with connecting her to “everyone” and Eric Verlinde, who has partnered with her from the piano bench for many years.

Just off of an eight month performance sabbatical to re-evaluate her musical priorities, Elnah is moving toward a focus on producing multi-medium performance projects. “I want to really do something different. I’m not ready to retire. I need to use my mind, keep my brain active, and give my life purpose. In my shows I like to touch everyone’s senses—bring in Dancers and Spoken Word, use the Theater,” she shared. She also has a goal of becoming a substance abuse counselor for women of color, and is in her third year at Argosy University studying Psychology making that a reality.

This Friday, Elnah will celebrate her Sweet Sixty with many beloved friends and colleagues including Verlinde at the piano, Jeff Busch on drums, Osama Afifi on bass and many other special guests.

Shuga’s Jazz Bistro
317 Main Avenue S
Renton, WA 98057
Fri. 3/20 – 8:30PM
Reservations strongly encouraged (425) 274-3074
At Shuga Jazz Bistro, Chef Wayne Johnson whips up Southern, Cajun, and international comfort foods sourced from local ingredients; featuring live music Thursday – Sunday.

 

More Touring Arts Roster performances this weekend:

Greta Matassa Trio
Osteria La Spiga
1429 12th Ave Seattle, WA 98122
Thur. March 19th – 7:30-10pm Reservations Suggested

Sonando
Fred Hoadley (piano & tres), Ben Verdier (bass), Tom Bergersen (congas & percussion),
Ricardo Guity (drumset, timbales & percussion), Jim Coile (saxophone & flute) & Nathan Vetter (trombone)
Tulas
2214 2nd Ave, Seattle WA
Thur. March 19th – 8pm & 9:30pm $10 Cover

Uncle Bonsai
Moisture Festival at Hale’s Palladium
4301 Leary Way NW, Seattle WA
Fri. March 20th 7:30pm & 10:30pm Tickets $10-$25

Greta Matassa Quartet
Darin Clendenin (piano), Clipper Anderson (bass), and Julian MacDonough (drums)
Tulas
2214 2nd Ave, Seattle WA
Sat. March 21st 7:30pm $16 Cover

Del Rey
Moisture Festival at Hale’s Palladium
4301 Leary Way NW, Seattle WA
Sat. March 21st 7:30pm & 10:30pm Tickets $10-$25

Rouge
Festál’s French Fest: A Celebration of French-Speaking Cultures
Seattle Center Armory
Seattle WA
Sun. Mar 22nd 5pm FREE

Thistle Theatre presents “Momotaro (Peach Boy)”
Magnuson Park Theatre, Building #47
7120 62nd Ave NE, Seattle WA
Sat Mar 21st & Sun. Mar 22nd – 1pm & 3pm Tickets $10

***

4Culture is proud to host the eclectic talent of the region on our Touring Arts Roster website where you may explore and discover artists just for fun, or contact them for your performance needs.

March gallery exhibit shines a light on the Duwamish Artist Residency

© 2015 Gene Gentry McMahon, Water Watcher, watercolor and charcoal on paper, 30" x 44". Photo by Michael Seidl
© 2015 Gene Gentry McMahon, Water Watcher, watercolor and charcoal on paper, 30" x 44". Photo by Michael Seidl
© 2015 Gene Gentry McMahon, Water Watcher, watercolor and charcoal on paper, 30″ x 44″. Photo by Michael Seidl

Gallery4Culture
Duwamish Residency Artists
The Duwamish Residency: Process and Artifacts
March 5 – 26, 2015
Opening: 1st Thursday, March 5, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
4Culture is located at 101 Prefontaine Street South in Pioneer Square, Seattle

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© 2015 Gene Gentry McMahon, Water Watcher, watercolor and charcoal on paper, 30" x 44". Photo by Michael Seidl
© 2015 Gene Gentry McMahon, Water Watcher, watercolor and charcoal on paper, 30″ x 44″. Photo by Michael Seidl

Gallery4Culture
Duwamish Residency Artists
The Duwamish Residency: Process and Artifacts
March 5 – 26, 2015
Opening: 1st Thursday, March 5, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
4Culture is located at 101 Prefontaine Street South in Pioneer Square, Seattle

 

The Duwamish Residency: Process and Artifacts is a group exhibition featuring twelve notable local artists who together comprise the Duwamish Artist Residency. Since summer 2012, these artists have gathered together to learn, experience and create along the shores of the Duwamish River. Guest curated by Sharon Arnold, this exhibition offers a beautifully distilled collection of visual interpretations of the river and its environs. The works Arnold has chosen were thoughtfully culled from aftermath of recent residencies. While some pieces are directly related to days on the river, others represent the consequence of a slow and subtle infiltration of the Duwamish experience into an individual artist’s visual vocabulary and studio practice.
Residency artists Ethan Bickel, Chris Crites, Sue Danielson, Linda Davidson, Jessica Dodge, Emily Gherard, Robert Hardgrave, David Kane, Steve MacFarlane, Fiona McGuigan, Gene Gentry McMahon and Juliet Shen work en plein air and (more-or-less) together for eight consecutive days each August. To deepen their bond with the site, every year involves learning some new aspect of Duwamish River history, culture and ecology. Last summer’s residency began with an on-site lecture about native plants led by Jim Demetre, urban gardener, plant authority and long-time editor of Artdish. On previous summers the group toured the Duwamish Long House; cruised the river with the Duwamish Cleanup Coalition; and visited the CleanScapes facility. The historic 1906 Georgetown Steam Plant, located along an oxbow of the originally meandering Duwamish has, over the past few years, become a favorite haunt of the artists. Elements from the plant appear in the imagery of several artists in the exhibition.

The ongoing experience of learning and creating together, in the complex and seemingly contradictory environment of the Duwamish River – where industry, neighborhoods and habitat restoration co-exist, has resulted in strong ties among the residency artists; ties to both this unique site and to each other. 4Culture is proud to have this opportunity to share the work of this this unique community of visual artists.

There will be an Artist Talk on Tuesday, March 24, 6-7:30 PM in the gallery. Residency artists will share their experience and process, including notes on historical context, maps, sketchbooks and documentation of temporary installations. This event is free and open to the public.

About the artists:
Ethan Bickel earned a Master’s degree in landscape architecture from Rhode Island School of Design. He is interested in cultural landscape and nature. Photography is his medium of choice.
Chris Crites is a painter (most recently known for portraits painted on paper bags) with a background in graphic design and fine arts. He was awarded an Artist Trust Fellowship in 2013. He is represented by G. Gibson Gallery.
Sue Danielson is a Seattle-based painter who is co-founder (and co-administrator) of the Duwamish Artist Residency. Danielson is a Washington native; her works on paper and paintings focus on way memory becomes altered over time.
Linda Davidson earned a BFA in illustration from Rhode Island School of Design; she moved to Seattle in 1997. While known as a painter, Davidson has used the residency to explore working in photography. She is represented by G. Gibson Gallery.
Jessica Dodge works in the unusual medium of reverse glass painting; her work has been exhibited internationally. She is also a designer/painter of theater sets.
Emily Gherard is a painter who earned a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and MFA from the University of Washington. She was a 2013 Neddy finalist and a 2014 Genius Award nominee at the Stranger.
Robert Hardgrave is a Seattle-based artist painting in wildly divergent scale. His work appears in the 2014 Pacific Coast issue of New American Paintings #115. He is represented by Cullom Gallery.
David Kane is a figurative painter and enjoys a cult following for his painted narratives of an imaginary retro/futuristic world.
Steve MacFarlane is a printmaker with a foundation in figurative painting and drawing. His works on paper are primarily monotypes. He is a graduate of Grinnell College in Grinnell , Iowa.
Fiona McGuigan is co-founder (and co-administrator) of the Duwamish Artist Residency. She is a figurative painter whose work explores the process of memorization through recollecting, layering, cutting and the reassembling of one image into many.
Gene Gentry McMahon is well known in the regional art scene; her work is represented in many public and private collections.
Juliet Shen, a New York native, has lived in Seattle since the late 80s. Coming from a background in design, her drawings often incorporate letterpress printed elements. She is represented by Cullom Gallery.

About the Guest Curator: Sharon Arnold is a Seattle-based curator, artist and writer. She studied at Pratt Institute in New York and Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts, focusing on sculpture, art history and philosophy. In 2010 she launched Bridge Productions/LxWxH, a publication company focusing on artist catalogues, literary chapbooks, and a quarterly subscription project. Progressive and inventive, LxWxH quickly grew into a highly regarded exhibition venue. In 2014, she became director and co-owner of Roq La Rue Gallery in Pioneer Square. Ms. Arnold writes about contemporary art for her blog Dimensions Variable and on occasion for various Seattle publications such as City Arts Magazine and Art Nerd.

So Much Love, So Many Lovely Events

Alma y Azucar by Teddi Yaeger (2010)
Alma y Azucar by Teddi Yaeger (2010)
Alma y Azucar by Teddi Yaeger (2010)

Valentines Day and 4Culture’s Touring Arts Roster

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Alma y Azucar by Teddi Yaeger (2010)
Alma y Azucar by Teddi Yaeger (2010)

Valentines Day and 4Culture’s Touring Arts Roster

Still looking for something to do on the upcoming “Day of Love”? Perhaps one of these great events is just right for you and yours!

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14th, 2015

Mary Margaret Moore + Kris Wheeler + Vanessa DeWolf provide the perfect activity for your little ones —  “And Then They…” a performance for kids… Travel into and out of stories and dances and through the opening of poetic free-association… Who are these creatures? And where are they? A part of the Project Winter series.

Studio Current
Pike/Pike corridor in the heart of Capitol Hill
11am-noon
$10-$20 suggested donation. No one turned away due to lack of funds. (limited space – Reservations Recommended)
email
More info

***

Northwest Tap Connection — Celebrate your Valentine’s Day at an EMP Black History Month event. The EMP STARS presents a program of captivating choreography performed by some of Seattle’s top young talents. Followed by a discussion on the transformative power of dance in urban communities.

EMP Museum Sky Church
321 5th Avenue N
Seattle, WA 98109
1pm-2pm
Free and open to the public.
More info

***

The Steve Griggs Ensemble — performs the “Panama Hotel Jazz” a program that tells the story of Seattle’s Japanese Americans during WWII. The work was commissioned through a 4Culture Historic Site Specific grant, won an ASCAP-Chamber Music America award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music, and is supported by a National Park Service Japanese Confinement Sites grant. Featuring saxophonist Griggs, trumpeter Jay Thomas, guitarist Milo Petersen, vibraphonist Susan Pascal, and bassist Phil Sparks.

Panama Hotel Tea Room
605 S. Main Street
Seattle, WA 98104
2pm
Free and open to the public.
More info

***

Barbie Anaka with Eugene Bien – A special performance open to military personnel only at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. “Barbie Anaka is a more angelic Streisand with a sultry, resonant, rich voice that turns old-fashioned classic jazz into living magic.” -Indie-Music.com

Bistro at Russell Landing (JBLM)
Bldg 8981 American Lake Ave
JBLM Lewis North, WA 98438
5pm-8:30pm
(253) 964-2813

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Bonnie Birch — Seattle’s treasured virtuoso accordionist will transport you from the Pike Place Market to a Parisian Café! Enjoy her lovely strolling bistro set at one of Seattle’s most romantic French restaurants.

Maximilien-In-The-Market
81a Pike St
Seattle, WA 98101
6pm-9pm
reservations: 206-682-7270

***

Mercedes Nicole & Her Jazz and Blues Band — “Remembering Bobby Blue Band,” a great night of live Blues Bobby’s Way: straight ahead, straight Up and unshaken end! With classy, sexy, sassy, Mercedes Nicole, the one & only Delvon Larmar on keys and the comparable D’Vonne Lewis, on drums (special guest on electric bass).

The New Rose Petal
9801 16th Avenue SW
Seattle, WA 98116
7pm
$20
More info

***

Alma y Azúcar Quintet — featuring: Alma Villegas on vocals, Fred Hoadley on piano, Steve Okimoto on bass, Ricardo Guity on congas, Steve Mostovoy on trumpet, Lance Lu on percussion presenting the best in Latin ballads and rhythms for your Valentine’s evening! Great music, dancing and a chance to win Alma’s delicious homemade flan.

Egan’s Jamhouse in Ballard
1707 NW Market Street
7pm-8:30pm
$12 Cover (Reservations Recommended)
(206) 789-1621
More info

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Greta Matassa Quintet with Susan Pascal on Vibes — Two of Seattle’s Jazz Greats partner up for a fine night in Bellevue. Hear beautiful renditions of your favorite classic love songs by request!

Bake’s Place
155 108th Avenue NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
8pm
$20

***

Suzanna & Friends – Suzanna channels the cupid spirit with a belly dance show featuring live music by MB Orchestra! A romantic night of delicious cuisine, dance, and multicultural live entertainment in a social atmosphere. You can even join a mini-lesson on the dance floor, with lots of additional time to freestyle with the band. (Families Welcome).

Harissa Mediterranean Cuisine
2255 NE 65th Street
Seattle, WA 98115
8pm until late
Dinner for Two – $75 plus $5 Cover (Reservations recommended)
(206) 588-0650
More info

***

Andre Feriante – Moving from Benaroya Hall to the Eastside, Feriante celebrates 20 years of showcasing his blend of flamenco, classical and Brazilian music on Valentine’s Day joined this year by: tenor, Steve Thoreson; pianist, Overton Berry; and dancer, Stella Rossi with Steve Kim on the bass and Anil Prasad on the tabla.

Kirkland Performance Center
350 Kirkland Avenue
Kirkland, WA 98033
8pm
$25
(425) 893-9900
More info

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The Lonely Coast – the popular folk duo fronts for their larger pop band Eurodanceparty USA for a fun night of Balkan/Dance/Folk/Klezmer/Pop/Everything .

Triple Door’s Musiquarium
216 Union Street
Seattle, WA 98101
9:00 PM (21+)
No cover
(206) 838-4333

***

Karin Kajita – a heart warming duo night of jazz piano and vocals with Emily McIntosh.

Infusion Bar and Grill
7727 Center Blvd SE
Snoqualmie, WA 98065
(425) 292-3576
More info 
reservations

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Gin Hammond – Actress/Storyteller, Hammond is part of the Book-It Theatre cast in “Dog of the South.” This comic road-trip adventure has been called Portis’s real masterpiece. When protagonist Ray Midge follows the trail of his missing wife, her lover—and most importantly his blue Torino—he’s besieged by tropical storms, scammers, and hippies as he makes his way on a wild ride from Arkansas to Belize. Opening Night!

The Center Theatre
305 Harrison Street
Seattle, WA 98109
7:30pm
$25
More info

***

MariAnna Trio — bring a special Valentine’s Day performance of love songs from Russia and around the world two days in a row! Join the residents, friends and family members of Aegis Living on Madison Avenue, or catch them for a post-Valentine’s repeat performance will be offered at Seattle’s Central Library on Sunday.

Aegis Living
2200 Madison Avenue
Seattle, WA 98112
1pm (February 14th)
Free and open to the public.

Seattle Public Library
1000 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
206-386-4636
2pm (February 15th)
Free and open to the public.

***

4Culture is proud to host the eclectic talent of the region on our Touring Arts Roster website where you may explore and discover artists just for fun, or contact them for your performance needs.

February is Museum Month

Screenshot from Visit Seattle’s Museum Month website.

February is Museum Month in Seattle, a new and exciting cultural tourism initiative being launched for the first time by Visit Seattle. How it works – visitors staying at any of 54 participating hotels will receive a 50% ticket discount on admission to 42 area museums. A pocket passport provides the visitor with all the info they need to have a great visit – museum events info, directions and logistics. Visit Seattle has cast a wide net in selecting museums, including the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie and the Kids Discovery Museum on Bainbridge Island.

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MuseumMOnth
Screenshot from Visit Seattle’s Museum Month website.

February is Museum Month in Seattle, a new and exciting cultural tourism initiative being launched for the first time by Visit Seattle. How it works – visitors staying at any of 54 participating hotels will receive a 50% ticket discount on admission to 42 area museums. A pocket passport provides the visitor with all the info they need to have a great visit – museum events info, directions and logistics. Visit Seattle has cast a wide net in selecting museums, including the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie and the Kids Discovery Museum on Bainbridge Island.

Live here and feeling left out? There’s a program for locals, too. STQRY, a free mobile phone app is the official guide to Museum Month. It will help you learn about museum collections and activities, and plot your adventures.

The marketing campaign is eye catching, embracing Seattle’s moody winter sky with the tagline “GRAY is just our BACKDROP.” The campaign is national with a focus on Vancouver BC, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago and the rest of Washington state. In February, when you are strolling through your favorite museum – make sure to say hi to all our new visitors taking in Museum Month in Seattle.

More info on the Museum Month website and Tracey Wickersham’s blog post.

Gallery4Culture: sculptor John Radtke's solo show

© 2014 John Radtke, Buried. Photo credit Betsy Mobbs
© 2014 John Radtke, Buried. Photo credit Betsy Mobbs
© 2014 John Radtke, Buried. Photo credit Betsy Mobbs

John Radtke: /N.
February 5 – February 26, 2015
Opening: 1st Thursday, February 5, 6pm – 8 pm

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© 2014 John Radtke, Buried. Photo credit Betsy Mobbs
© 2014 John Radtke, Buried. Photo credit Betsy Mobbs

John Radtke: /N.
February 5 – February 26, 2015
Opening: 1st Thursday, February 5, 6pm – 8 pm

Gallery4Culture welcomes John Radtke in his first solo exhibit, /N. Radtke’s show consists of sculptures and drawings produced during the past year, including a recent residency at Jentel Artist Residency Program in Wyoming.

Radtke’s 3-dimensional work is constructed from raw materials: extruded steel, wood and various other media, minimally processed. Each work addresses different aspects of space, with multiple elements interrelating to form an object which is interdependent and supportive of itself or (depending on one’s perspective) of the elements, for mechanical function to complete the phenomena.

Besides constructing objects, Radtke works with and within existing space, approaching it as a puzzle with infinite possibilities for intervention. Employing space for its inherent structure, Radtke expands it, utilizing its surface and dimensions, , bringing it to a point of function beyond pure exhibition space.

John Radtke is a Seattle-based mixed media artist working primarily in the discipline of sculpture. He was born in Carson City, Nevada in 1982. He studied at Cornish College of the Arts where he earned a BFA in 2013. He has worked as a studio assistant to the sculptor Malia Jensen in Brooklyn, NY as well as for Whiting Tennis in Seattle. He also spent time working at Art Works Foundry in Berkeley, CA. He has shown locally at SOIL Gallery and recently with SEASON Gallery. In late 2014, Radtke had the honor of spending time as a visiting artist at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in the Lower Piney Creek Valley outside of Banner, Wyoming.

First Thursday Parking: Vouchers for free art walk patron parking at select Pioneer Square garages, including the Frye Parking Garage, 117 3rd Ave S, will be available at Gallery4Culture on a first-come basis.

Letter from the Director: A Tale of Two Cities – Denver and Seattle

Local students at MOHAI on field trip © 2014 Daniel Sheehan
Local students at MOHAI on field trip © 2014 Daniel Sheehan
Local students at MOHAI on field trip © 2014 Daniel Sheehan

(RVSP for Cultural Access Washington (CAWA) Coalition Meeting – Thursday, January 15 at 4 PM)

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Local students at MOHAI on field trip  © 2014 Daniel Sheehan
Local students at MOHAI on field trip © 2014 Daniel Sheehan

(RVSP for Cultural Access Washington (CAWA) Coalition Meeting – Thursday, January 15 at 4 PM)

No, this isn’t about Super Bowl XLVIII. And it isn’t about our joint predilection for recreational activity.

This is a tale about how one community embraced a slight tax increase to support its cultural organizations, large and small, and the resulting impact of that investment in transforming the City of Denver and it surrounding counties. It’s the story of thinking regionally, not parochially; of acting collectively for the betterment of the cultural ecology and for the citizens of Denver and the surrounding counties. The impetus for this effort was the total elimination of state funding for the arts in Colorado in 1982.

The Denver Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) was authorized by a vote of the public in 1988, during the worst regional recession in decades. The 1988 vote was extraordinary for three reasons. First, it was counter-intuitive that citizens would vote for a tax increase in such dire economic times. Second, most pundits doubted the public’s willingness to support culture with tax dollars. Third, the vote established a regional approach to funding cultural organizations, the majority of which were located in the core city.

In November on 1988, more than half a million voters said, “yes,” (by a ratio of three to one.) The tax has been re-authorized twice in the intervening years with the percentage of voters approving the tax extension increasing each time.

In 1988 the new tax generated $13 million for distribution to eligible organizations in three tiers, for the most part defined by budget size and attendance. In 2013, the SCFD awarded $40 million to a list of grantees that has more than doubled in the past twenty years.

From the SCFD website:

“The distribution budget for scientific and cultural organizations in the seven-county area is approximately $40 million annually. And we’ve discovered that funding on that scale, delivered to a local area, makes a profound impact. As a result, the Denver Metro area is now in the national spotlight and has been elevated in stature to a world-class cultural center.”

In 2013 alone, Denver metro area residents made over 14.6 million visits to organizations funded by the SCFD and 8,174 schools visited SCFD organizations. No, there aren’t more than 8,000 schools in the District. The number indicates that schools in the District made multiple visits to cultural organizations.

Before its authorization, some argued that the SCFD would disincentive private giving to arts and culture. In fact, the opposite occurred. Private giving to the arts in Denver and surrounds grew to its current level of $120 million. It turns out that business giving and private philanthropy like to be associated with success.

Not a bad return on investment.

Denver and Seattle have a lot in common. The population of both cities is around 600-650,000. The Denver metropolitan population (taking into account the population of surrounding counties) is about 2.5 million. King County’s population is 1.9 million. Both have seen dramatic population growth in the past decade and a half.

That leads to the obvious question: are SCFD’s, or similar entities, possible in communities in Washington State?

For the past seven years now a statewide coalition of arts, heritage and science organizations has been seeking authorization in the state legislature for a voter approved ballot measure that would allow counties in Washington state to create Cultural Access Authorities which would dramatically increase opportunities for K-12 students, and for that matter every resident of the state, to engage in arts, heritage, cultural and science experiences through a .1% sales tax increase. Just like in Denver. It would enable organizations to expand programs, stabilize operating budgets, increase employment in the arts and collaborate more effectively on marketing and promotions.

Cultural Access Washington would benefit all arts, heritage and scientific organizations in the state. Contrary to the belief of some, it is not only about the largest cultural institutions. In fact, a better case can be made that smaller community-based organizations will benefit from CAWA disproportionally in comparison to large institutions.

Passing a bill in the legislature that authorizes counties to put a tax measure on the ballot will not be easy. It wasn’t easy in Denver. But Denver was successful, because the cultural organizations raised their collective voices and worked together. We can do that here!

I invite you all to attend a meeting at 12th Avenue Arts on January 15th at 4:00pm to discuss the bill. RSVP here. It is particularly important to have small and mid-size groups represented at the meeting to dispel myths that have arisen over this effort. No matter what your organization’s budget is, no matter what arts discipline you work in or where you’re located geographically, CAWA is good for you. 

But it won’t be successful without your help. Join CAWA leadership on January 15th to learn how.

Big, Bold Canvases by Ken Kelly bring in the New Year

© 2012 Ken Kelly, Eyes and Ears (detail), 84" x 96", oil on canvas. Photo credit: John Hollingsworth
© 2012 Ken Kelly, Eyes and Ears (detail), 84" x 96", oil on canvas. Photo credit: John Hollingsworth
© 2012 Ken Kelly, Eyes and Ears (detail), 84″ x 96″, oil on canvas. Photo credit: John Hollingsworth

January at Gallery4Culture

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© 2012 Ken Kelly, Eyes and Ears (detail), 84" x 96", oil on canvas. Photo credit: John Hollingsworth
© 2012 Ken Kelly, Eyes and Ears (detail), 84″ x 96″, oil on canvas. Photo credit: John Hollingsworth

January at Gallery4Culture

Ken Kelly: untitled
January 8 – 29, 2015
Opening: 2nd Thursday, January 8, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Gallery4Culture is pleased to bring in the New Year with untitled, a solo exhibition by the acclaimed northwest painter Ken Kelly. Untitled presents Kelly’s latest series of work, consisting of five large-scale canvases – bold, abstractions of explosive color and sumptuous texture. These works revisit the more immediate, less cerebral approach to painting that marked Ken Kelly’s early career.

For viewers acquainted with Ken Kelly’s paintings, the palette and surfaces of the new canvases present a significant departure from his more familiar work, where oblique references to low-brow influences (heavy-metal music and tattoos) were fused into dreamy rhythmic compositions of remarkable elegance. The new paintings consist of irregular blocks of robust color set in a vacuous black (or airy grey) surround. If they evoke any reference beyond the joy of emersion into color and texture, Kelly’s abstractions bring to mind folk textiles rooted in the deep South, or (when grounded) a bold built environment. Ken Kelly’s artist statement proffers something akin to a disclaimer,

“These painting don’t really lend themselves to statements. They don’t “reference” anything; they don’t “address issues” of anything. They don’t do much more than occupy space on a wall and, more importantly, in your eyes. I approached them in the beginning with nothing in mind, other than trying to walk back the past several years and return to the kind of immediate, physical and rather loud painting with which I began almost 40 years ago. Now, a couple of years into this series, I realize that they are really about pleasure–the pleasure of looking, of seeing, of making, and getting lost in the hedonistic excess of it all. And that is all.”

About the Artist: Ken Kelly was born in Magnolia, Arkansas in 1955 (he retains a subtle drawl). He studied fine art at the University of Georgia (Athens, GA) and the University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ). Kelly moved to Seattle in the mid-80s. His numerous awards include SAM’s Betty Bowen Award, two Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants, Seattle Arts Commission Award and Neddy Finalist from the Behnke Foundation. His paintings are included in many public and private collections. Learn more at: http://mekenkelly.com.

National Trust Conference in Savannah

St. John the Baptist Church, Savannah, GA © 2014, 4Culture staff
St. John the Baptist Church, Savannah, GA © 2014, 4Culture staff

What Worked, What Needed a Little Work

First, what worked: THE SETTING! Downtown Savannah is gorgeous, evocative, walkable, friendly, has an incredibly intact building stock and fascinating history. Excellent choice National Trust. I had been wanting to go to Savannah forever, and what a better way to see the City than through the lens of a preservation conference.

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What Worked, What Needed a Little Work

First, what worked: THE SETTING! Downtown Savannah is gorgeous, evocative, walkable, friendly, has an incredibly intact building stock and fascinating history. Excellent choice National Trust. I had been wanting to go to Savannah forever, and what a better way to see the City than through the lens of a preservation conference.

Davenport House, Savannah, GA © 2014, 4Culture staff
Davenport House, Savannah, GA © 2014, 4Culture staff

This is the third time the National Trust Conference has been set in Savannah, and I can see why it continues to go back. For me, town highlights included good food, informative tours and beautiful squares to sit in and watch the world go by. A colleague had heard I was going and recommended Ms. Wilkes, a small local eatery that serves traditional southern family style meals. She said the food was “really good and worth the wait.” She wasn’t kidding, about the food or the wait. After an hour and twenty minutes in line that (I was told) wasn’t nearly as long as usual, I was ready to eat the farm. And good thing, because they nearly prepared all of it. Ten to a table, hot food that just kept coming: fried chicken, greens, corn bread, biscuits, and three different kinds of corn, beets, potatoes and peach cobbler for desert. Definitely worth the wait, but if I go again I will book a closer hotel. “Walking it off” was easier said than done.

Savannah also has several well-preserved house museums in the downtown core open daily for tours. The volunteer docent for the Davenport House was excellent, a history buff with lots of information on early 19th-Century life in Georgia. He also told some really great stories about Madeira parties, both past and present. The restoration of the 1819 Owens-Thomas House was also very impressive. The carriage house contains one of the earliest intact urban slave quarters in the South, including patches of the original haint blue paint the slaves made themselves from crushed minerals, lime and buttermilk. In the basement were the original kitchen and laundry room; rough-hewn, low ceiling work places where the family’s slaves did much of their work. Upstairs, I learned that because paint was so expensive at this time, it was more impressive to paint your walls to look like fake wood and fake marble than having the real thing – even though in a port city, everything was available. How tastes change.

Green-Meldrim House, Savannah, GA © 2014, 4Culture staff
Green-Meldrim House, Savannah, GA © 2014, 4Culture staff

I really liked the partnership that was created for this conference between the National Trust and SCAD. College properties were hosts for many of the sessions, and at nearly every session I attended there was a student that was presenting their work, or discussing new techniques and technologies being implemented in field. I took a fascinating tech class called “Digital Tools for Heritage Conservation,” where we learned about current 3D laser scanning techniques (equipment and software) and how it is being used to survey delicate or inaccessible structures. In fact, there were many educational training sessions that sounded fascinating. Unfortunately, there seemed to be an increased number of sessions not included in the registration cost this year, versus past conferences.

So, now what needed a little work. Too many educational sessions were only available for an extra fee; the “new” format for conference tracks was unclear and vague; and the website needed to be more informative. For attendees on a budget, choosing what sessions to attend was very difficult this time around, because so many sessions had an additional fee. Not just tours like in the past, but educational sessions as well. Add the cost of registration, flight and hotel stay, and this made for an expensive conference. This year’s conference also attempted to follow a new format, which was mentioned in the printed conference guide and at the TrustLive sessions, but was not apparent anywhere else. While, I commend the Trust for shrinking their printed conference guide and attempting to put more information online, what was online was not helpful when physically in Savannah. I found out how to pick up registration materials because, randomly, I was on a tour with a presenter the day before it started, and she had just gotten an email about registration. The registration process itself was also very wonky, too many emails, and not easy to log back into & navigate.

Overall though, I think the conference was a success. The setting and SCAD partnership made it worth the trip.  For conference organizers, no matter how much information you end up putting online, PLEASE keep a printed guide. I like carrying it around and writing in it.