Dakota Gearhart's multidisciplinary environment transforms Gallery4Culture

© 2014 Dakota Gearhart, Main, mixed media, installation detail. Courtesy of the artist
© 2014 Dakota Gearhart, Main, mixed media, installation detail. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Dakota Gearhart
When We Get There
November 6 – December 4, 2014
Opening: 1st Thursday, November 6, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Closing Reception: 1st Thursday, December 4, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Continue Reading ›
© 2014 Dakota Gearhart, Main, mixed media, installation detail. Photo courtesy of the artist.
© 2014 Dakota Gearhart, Main, mixed media, installation detail. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Dakota Gearhart
When We Get There
November 6 – December 4, 2014
Opening: 1st Thursday, November 6, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Closing Reception: 1st Thursday, December 4, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Gallery4Culture welcomes artist Dakota Gearhart in a solo mixed media installation titled, When We Get There, an experiential reflection on the psychology of a cage. Activated by human presence, the dense and constricted environment forces the viewer to confront the delicate line between comfortable and uncomfortable forms of containment. It poses the question: in what ways do individuals build emotional and intellectual limits for themselves and the world around them?

Winding under ceiling beams and around the 4Culture gallery space, hallways made from constructed archways interconnect and guide the viewer through a labyrinthine of repurposed wood, concrete and light. Gearhart’s intervention utterly transforms the space; rooted in play, her art proceeds as if from the perspective of a micro-organism exploring the inside of a glass jar. She is fascinated not only by the power of imagination, but also by the invisible walls that describe it. Where do such boundaries lie? What stories do they tell about our containment, our vulnerability? In an age of absolute knowledge, how far are we willing to go to preserve what is unknowable?

About the Artist: Dakota Gearhart’s art practice focuses on constructing immersive environments that incorporate interdisciplinary elements such as video, sculpture, sound and light. Through the coordination of these varied components, Gearhart aims to give shape to intangible aspects of her world. Her approach to installation involves setting aside conventional forms of organization in favor of more exploratory modes such as fantasy, psychedelia, and dreams. Refuting rational hierarchies, this unorthodox approach allows Gearhart to discover life at the heart of even inorganic matter. Born in Arizona and raised in Florida, Gearhart now lives and works in Seattle. She is a recent graduate of the MFA program at University of Washington School of Art.

Dakota Gearhart has exhibited her work nationally and internationally in such venues as Core Art Space (Denver, CO), Kincainya Gallery (Portland, OR), Vulpes (London), Universitat de Barcelona, and Taiyuan University (China). Her work has been published in Trifecta Magazine, Carpaccio Magazine, and Open to Interpretation Books. She is a recipient of the Juliane Martin Scholarship, the Jane & David Davis Fellowship, and the Cultural Ambassador Scholarship from the Spanish Ministry of Education. Learn more about the artist:  www.DakotaGearhart.com

Gallery4Culture will be closed for the month of December following 1st Thursday.

A Tale of Two Conference Cities

© 2014 The Neon Museum, Las Vegas
© 2014 The Neon Museum, Las Vegas, Photo by 4Culture

Culturally, St. Paul, Minnesota and Las Vegas, Nevada are miles apart. But this fall, each played host to cultural conferences that I attended. The American Association for State & Local History (AASLH) held its annual meeting in St. Paul where keynote speaker Garrison Keiller, whose Prairie Home Companion has entertained public radio listeners for four decades, talked of his strong connection to local history through his family roots.

Continue Reading ›
© 2014 The Neon Museum, Las Vegas
© 2014 The Neon Museum, Las Vegas, Photo by 4Culture

Culturally, St. Paul, Minnesota and Las Vegas, Nevada are miles apart. But this fall, each played host to cultural conferences that I attended. The American Association for State & Local History (AASLH) held its annual meeting in St. Paul where keynote speaker Garrison Keiller, whose Prairie Home Companion has entertained public radio listeners for four decades, talked of his strong connection to local history through his family roots.

At the Western Museums Association (WMA) Conference in Las Vegas, keynoter Mark Hall-Patton, a 35-year museum veteran and visiting expert on History Channel’s Pawn Stars, described the perils of his new celebrity status, and the need to adhere to one’s integrity despite the glare of reality TV. His remarks had special resonance in a city that has recreated its casinos and hotels as faux world landmarks.

St. Paul’s much quieter downtown offered its brand of authentic architectural marvels with the Cathedral of Saint Paul in proximity to the mansions of timber baron Frederick Weyerhaeuser, and railroad tycoon James J. Hill, two giants of industry whose impact on the Pacific Northwest still resounds today.

Although AASLH focused on the history field and WMA on museums in general, the content of the two conferences differed less than their locales. Both offered local tours, sessions on relevant topics, and social events at standout venues. But for me, the opportunities to connect with colleagues from around the country and region were, and always have been, the most rewarding moments. To be able to share common interests, issues, and concerns with peers has often sparked the ideas that have influenced my work as Heritage Lead at 4Culture.

Robert Morris Earthwork honored as part of Landslide 2014

Robert Morris Earthwork, Johnson Pit #30, 1979. Photo © Spike Mafford 2009.
Robert Morris Earthwork, Johnson Pit #30, 1979. Photo © Spike Mafford 2009.
Robert Morris Earthwork, Johnson Pit #30, 1979. Photo © Spike Mafford 20

Cultural Landscape Foundation honors Robert Morris Earthwork as part of Landslide 2014: Art and the Landscape

Continue Reading ›
Robert Morris Earthwork,  Johnson Pit #30, 1979. Photo ©  Spike Mafford 2009.
Robert Morris Earthwork, Johnson Pit #30, 1979. Photo © Spike Mafford 20

Cultural Landscape Foundation honors Robert Morris Earthwork as part of Landslide 2014: Art and the Landscape

Robert Morris’ 1979 land reclamation artwork, Johnson Pit #30 has been recognized by The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) through their Landslide 2014: Art and Landscape program as one of eleven notable land-based artworks worthy of attention, restoration or rescuing.

One of the first publicly funded earthworks in the country, the Robert Morris Earthwork was commissioned as a result of “Earthworks: Land Reclamation as Sculpture”, a symposium held in King County that also resulted in the Mill Creek Canyon Earthwork in Kent, designed by Herbert Bayer. Morris was selected to work on a 3.7-acre site, a sand and gravel pit abandoned in the 1940’s. The creation of this artwork returned the land to active use.

Johnson Pit #30 was funded by a unique consortium of the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Endowment for the Arts, King County Department of Public Works, and the U.S. Bureau of Mines – the last of which had never before funded the creation of a piece of artwork. King County Arts Commission, the forerunner of 4Culture, oversaw its construction. Cleared of all of the undergrowth and trees, the 3.7 acre site was terraced and then planted with rye grass.

At the time of its creation, Johnson Pit #30 looked out on a sparsely developed Kent Valley cultivated for small farming. Its open, contemplative site has since been encroached upon by housing development, with agriculture in the Kent Valley replaced by industrial development.

The earthwork remains one of the most important artworks in the King County Public Art Collection and we are proud of its international importance, as well as the value it has to our own community as a gathering space, public artwork and destination. Visit the site and experience this unique public artwork.

How You Can Help Preserve This Important King County Heritage Site

Restoration: The anticipated cost of restoration $50,000 – $75,000 dollars. King County has allocated $20,000 of this amount, but additional funding is needed. Funding will be used to begin restoration and address vandalism at the site by installing improved signage, lighting and trash receptacles.

Landmark Designation: In order to secure the preservation of the earthwork and to open up possible additional funding sources for its restoration, 4Culture is submitting an application for designation as a King County Landmark, and listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Nomination research and preparation is estimated to be between at $3,000 – $5,000.

4Culture welcomes donations and support for this groundbreaking artwork. Visit the project page to donate and to sign up for email updates on the progress of restoration and landmarking efforts.

To learn about and support the efforts of the Cultural Landscape Foundation and Landslide 2014: Art and the Landscape visit their website.

 

A Maritime Heritage Area for King County

Fisherman's Terminal © 2004 4Culture
Fisherman's Terminal © 2004 4Culture
Fisherman’s Terminal © 2004 4Culture

Celebrating our ties to the sea

This week the King County Council unanimously designated the publicly accessible saltwater shoreline, the Ship Canal, and Lake Union as a “County Maritime Heritage Area.” What is a heritage area, anyway?

Continue Reading ›
Fisherman's Terminal © 2004 4Culture
Fisherman’s Terminal © 2004 4Culture

Celebrating our ties to the sea

This week the King County Council unanimously designated the publicly accessible saltwater shoreline, the Ship Canal, and Lake Union as a “County Maritime Heritage Area.” What is a heritage area, anyway?

The concept is borrowed from the “National Heritage Areas” Program, through which nationally significant landscapes are recognized by Congress. These are NOT national parks, but rather regions that have a living cultural heritage, shaped by distinctive geography. There are 49 of these special places around the country, but so far none in the Pacific Northwest.

Over the last decade, 4Culture has been part of a vocal grass roots effort – stretching from Aberdeen to Gig Harbor to Bellingham – to recognize our maritime culture in this way. After all, we’re known for scenic waterways, bustling waterfronts, dry docks and boat yards, commercial fisheries, centuries-old lighthouses, iconic historic vessels, and a huge fleet of private watercraft, from Native American canoes to corporate yachts.

But so far, the effort to gain recognition at the federal and state level hasn’t been successful. Some people fear that the designation brings regulation, but that’s not the case. Heritage areas are solely for purposes of promoting tourism, preserving a sense of place, and supporting economic development – there is no regulatory angle.

As King County Councilmember Larry Phillips so rightly observes, “We are defined by our waters and shorelines and our interaction with them over time, and that story should be highlighted and celebrated.” Kudos to Councilmember Phillips for putting King County out in front by sponsoring this legislation at the local level!

For more information on the County Maritime Heritage Area, contact the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

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

Continue Reading ›
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.

Les Fleurs du Mâle, Steven Miller in Gallery4Culture

© 2013 Steven Miller, Les Fleurs du Mâle, Archival inkjet print, 42x28. Courtesy of the artist.
© 2013 Steven Miller, Les Fleurs du Mâle, Archival inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist.
© 2013 Steven Miller, Les Fleurs du Mâle, Archival inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist.

September at Gallery4Culture

Continue Reading ›
© 2013 Steven Miller, Les Fleurs du Mâle, Archival inkjet print, 42x28. Courtesy of the artist.
© 2013 Steven Miller, Les Fleurs du Mâle, Archival inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist.

September at Gallery4Culture

Steven Miller:  Les Fleurs du Mâle
September 5-25, 2014
Opening: Friday, September 5, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Gallery Talk: Wednesday, September 17, 5:30 – 6:30

In his September solo exhibition titled Les Fleurs du Mâle, artist Steven Miller presents a cohesive body of photomedia works that pay homage to the French novelist, playwright and political activist Jean Genet. Genet, who lived 1910 through 1986, was openly gay and imprisoned multiple times for petty crimes and indecency. Representing the absolute opposite of what society considered permissible, Jean Genet is celebrated as progenitor of the modern queer movement.

Steven Miller, inspired by Genet’s 1949 book “The Thief’s Journal” and 1950 film, “Un Chant d’Amour”, has, in Les Fleurs du Mâle, created a captivating narrative depicting a Genet-like version of life in prison.

Jean Genet’s core themes of outcast and oppressor, violence and intimacy pervade Miller’s work. Genet’s theme is relevant: the rate of incarceration in the US is astronomical. Oppression of LBGTQ individuals is worldwide as human right falls to the whims of government.

Beyond large-scale photographs, gallery visitors will experience a video projection presenting a grid of individual prison cells. Surveillance has cropped up everywhere today, accelerated by technology, but it has always been a mainstay of prison security. In the late Eighteenth Century, social theorist Jeremy Bentham introduced the Panopticon – a unique design for institutions (especially prisons) where surveillance of the entire population could be carried out by a single watchman. While it’s obvious one individual can’t observe everyone at once, in the Panopticon, prisoners never knew when they were being watched and thus were coerced into feeling as if they were being watched constantly. This “mind over mind” plan was designed to control behavior and discourage deviance among inmates.

Steven Miller’s meticulously staged, dark and moody representations of prison life are a beautiful homage to Jean Genet’s art and life as well as a disquieting reminder that some things never change.

About the Artist: Steven Miller is a Seattle-based artist whose work has been widely published and exhibited. Queer issues and the theme of nonconformity are central to his art practice.

Learn more about Steven’s artwork and visit his photography site.

Summer Drives & Buried Hatchets

Saltwater State Park, Photo by infinitelypie, Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/infinite-pie/
Saltwater State Park, Photo by infinitelypie, Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/infinite-pie/
© courtesy of White River Valley Museum

Destination Maritime Spotlight

Continue Reading ›
© courtesy of White River Valley Museum
© courtesy of White River Valley Museum

Destination Maritime Spotlight

Offering Expansive views of Puget Sound, Marine View Drive connects the waterfront communities of De Moines and Redondo, and meanders past several notable parks. Starting from the north end, Des Moines Beach Park was known for decades as Covenant Beach. Several historic buildings on the park property have recently been restored, and is designated as a City of Des Moines Landmark and is listed on the National Register. For those of you traveling by water, please note the adjacent Des Moines Marina offers guest moorage. For mariners and landlubbers alike there is plenty to see, do & eat nearby.

Heading south through the historic community of Zenith, Saltwater State Park was established in 1926, and many of the park’s amenities were built by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) in the 1930s. The park is located halfway between Seattle and Tacoma and, interestingly, its  dedication ceremony included an effort to make peace between the two rival cities by burying a symbolic hatchet under a rock in the park. (No, sadly, i don’t know which rock.)

Continuing south, Marine View Drive turns into Woodmont Drive S. Wind your way along 16th Avenue S, and then 272nd Street to Redondo, a waterfront community with a half-mile public boardwalk. Redondo once boasted an amusement park and staking rink. Salty’s Restaurant, a local favorite, displays historic photos in its entryway, for some great views of the area in bygone days…

Check out the drive and more to do in these areas by visiting Map4Culture. Map4Culture includes tourism attractions, public art, museums and lots of local history!

We are continually adding updates to Map4Culture, to provide viewers with *new* and interesting content. Below is one of the recent video clips we hope to add this Fall to select sites on the map, so be sure to check back often.

Not *NEW, NEW but perhaps new to you, is the story of the founding of Des Moines – play video below. (Psst, the full video tells you where certain…um…stuff was buried. No, not the hatchet.)

[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/101663422[/vimeo]

 

TK Art of the City Street Fair this Saturday!

TK Art of the City Street Fair poster
TK Art of the City Street Fair poster

Join us in celebrating 10 years in the TK

Continue Reading ›

Join us in celebrating 10 years in the TK

Saturday, August 2
11:00 am – 9:00 pm
4culture hours: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Music stage, pop up performance, artist studio open house, food, fun & community

TK Art of the City Street Fair posterThe Tashiro Kaplan Building is celebrating a decade of affordable live/work space for artists, arts-related businesses and 4Culture’s settling into the corner of Yesler Way and Prefontaine Place South. Our offices will be open from 11:00 am- 7:00 pm. Scott Kolbo’s remarkable Gallery4Culture media installation, Our Alley, will be held over for the day. Staff will be on hand to welcome visitors, and butoh-inspired dance performance will move from 4Culture out onto the street.

Prefontaine Place will be closed to traffic for the day. In addition to 4Culture, most of the galleries on the block will keep their doors open. The TK artist lofts will also be open for visitors – meet the artists and see their work. Enjoy music, food trucks and the incredible community that lives and works in our patch of Pioneer Square. Check out the full schedule of events and artists.

Performance at 4Culture

DAIPANbutoh Collective & Friends present Galaanza II: Ethers of a Native Land, directed by Sheri Brown and Joan Laage. Two cycles of performance will begin in 4Culture, move through the space and interact with the street fair. We are really looking forward to the party and hope to see you there.