Guest Post: Kent Arts Commission launches Kent Creates

Approaching Storm by John Armstrong – an Inaugural Exhibit Winner

4Culture is opening up shop in Kent, with Hello 4Culture, and we thought it was a good time to check in with Ronda Billerbeck, the Cultural Programs Manager for the City of Kent and Director of the Kent Arts Commission, to see what she’s working on these days. We were excited to learn about one of their new programs, which includes an dynamic way to participate in the arts. We asked Ronda to share her news:

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Approaching Storm by John Armstrong – an Inaugural Exhibit Winner

4Culture is opening up shop in Kent, with Hello 4Culture, and we thought it was a good time to check in with Ronda Billerbeck, the Cultural Programs Manager for the City of Kent and Director of the Kent Arts Commission, to see what she’s working on these days. We were excited to learn about one of their new programs, which includes an dynamic way to participate in the arts. We asked Ronda to share her news:

The Kent Arts Commission is proud to announce the launch of Kent Creates. This web platform for sharing art, culture, and creative endeavors is meant to be a community of imagination and inspiration for anyone who creates or seeks to be inspired by creativity.

Kent Creates is for artists, musicians, writers, crafters, illustrators, dancers, filmmakers, hobbyists, and other creatives to share their work and meet people with similar interests. Creative work of all kinds may be shared on KentCreates.com  – drawings, cartoons, recipes, do-it-yourself how-to videos, short films, and anything else creative minds can dream up.

The project started as a dream to involve and engage the public on a new level. Instead of commissioning an artist to make a piece of art to be passively experienced and enjoyed by the public, Kent Creates encourages Kent residents to be the artists.

We recognized a national trend – Individuals taking a more hands-on role in their participation of arts and culture, and often using technology to that end. Kent Creates is a response to these shifts in the way we generate and consume creative material.

The Kent Arts Commission believes strongly in the power of art to transform the lives of individuals and communities, and that creative pursuits are truly for everyone – not just professional artists. We know Kent – and the larger Puget Sound region – is home to a wealth of creativity including writers, musicians, singers, photographers, filmmakers, and others keeping traditional ethnic arts alive. We are pleased to implement Kent Creates to build connections through showcasing that creativity.

An Inaugural Exhibit was held in October and November of 2015 to launch and test Kent Creates; it garnered 48 submissions including photography, collage, painting, piano composition, poetry and more. The Kent Arts Commission voted on submissions and, in keeping with the Commission’s commitment to pay artists for their work, the top five pieces received $100 honorariums. The winners’ work also appears on the featured carousel on the Kent Creates homepage.

The five winners from the Inaugural Exhibit are: John Armstrong (photography), Mary Ann Cagley (encaustic photo transfer), Jamie Greene (watercolor), Arries McQuarter (piano composition), and Naoko Morisawa (mosaic collage).

The next exhibit for Kent Creates is open January 23 through March 31 and focuses on the theme of “Home.” The call for entries reads:

What does ‘home’ mean to you? In today’s world, many people move far away from the place they were born and raised, to distant cities, states, and countries. As a result, our communities are more diverse with people from varied ethnic, religious, socio-economic, and geographic backgrounds. Despite our differences, home is a common concept, one that elicits strong feelings, memories, and hopes. Is home where you currently live? Is it where you’re from? Is home a place or is it a feeling? Is it a group of people, a memory, or even a period of time? What is HOME?

Work may be submitted through March 31, 2017 – at which time the exhibit will close. The Kent Arts Commission will select the top five pieces, which will receive $100 honorariums and featured status on the site.

Kent Creates is free to use and anyone, anywhere can sign up; there is no requirement to live in Kent.

 

From Our Director: All Are Welcome Here

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“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” – Alphonse Karr, French novelist (1808-90)

Will the new administration eliminate the NEA, NEH, and CPB? We hear rumblings from the other Washington that Republicans in Congress are newly emboldened to achieve the long-desired goal of shutting down federal support for the arts and humanities and the commercialization of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting. After all, there is nothing in the Constitution about supporting public television or that arts and humanities contribute to the public good.

The above quote translates to “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Yes, we will once again be pitched in a fight to save the pittance the federal government invests in community creativity, and civics. Advocates for arts and humanities in the Congress—and they are many—have successfully resisted these efforts in the past and they will be geared up to resist again. It helps mightily when Congress hears from you.

We have recently been asked how the elimination of the NEA would impact 4Culture. Many are concerned that 4Culture would have to reduce grants if federal funds evaporate. Not to worry. 4Culture is in no way dependent on NEA funding, except for partial support we receive for initiative projects. While 4Culture won’t be seriously impacted, we know that important state and local programs could lose critical funds, and we empathize with the anxiety facing every group whose services depend upon the NEA’s dollars. And we add our voice to all those who believe in creativity as the currency of tolerance.

We state as clearly and strongly as we can: all are welcome at 4Culture. We acknowledge that government institutions have historically not been strong partners to people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people, trans people, the poor, the disabled, and more. 4Culture commits to amplifying the voices of those who have been excluded, and to building trust in our relationships with these communities.

As our region’s leaders reaffirm the values of inclusiveness and openness even at the risk of losing federal funding, we stand with them. 4Culture has long prided itself on finding creative ways to meet the needs of all county residents—that will never change.

Sincerely,
Jim Kelly

 

Guest Post: the Wing Looks Back to Move Forward

American Citizens, Roger Shimomura, 2015, lithograph, courtesy of the artist

As we approach the 75th anniversary of the year thousands of Americans of Japanese descent were ordered by the U.S. government to leave their homes and forced into incarceration, we asked Cassie Chin, Deputy Executive Director of the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience to share how the museum is commemorating this complex anniversary: 

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American Citizens, Roger Shimomura, 2015, lithograph, courtesy of the artist

As we approach the 75th anniversary of the year thousands of Americans of Japanese descent were ordered by the U.S. government to leave their homes and forced into incarceration, we asked Cassie Chin, Deputy Executive Director of the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience to share how the museum is commemorating this complex anniversary: 

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which resulted in the forced removal and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans. They were charged with no crime. The cause of their imprisonment was their ancestry.

Organizations throughout King County are hosting special exhibitions and events to recognize the 75th Anniversary of Executive Order 9066. At the Wing, we have been working with community members for over a year to develop an exhibition based on a book of poems by Lawrence Matsuda and artwork by Roger Shimomura, called Year of Remembrance: Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner. The exhibition connects the World War II experience with contemporary issues of racism, discrimination and human rights. In this Year of Remembrance, the past confronts the present in profound and moving ways.

We asked Lawrence and Roger to share about their process and the relevancy of the Japanese American incarceration.

How did the book, “Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner” come about?
Lawrence Matsuda: In America and Japan I am like a foreigner. But in Paris I am an American. The book addresses ironies related to being like a foreigner in his one’s own country.

Describe your collaboration process.
Roger Shimomura: For the most part I had total independence where style and content were concerned. As I read the poems if something struck me that translated to a pictorial image, I would do some sketches and decide whether to further develop the drawing. In addition I chose some pre-existing works that I felt addressed the same or similar issues.

Could you share more about your poem, Legacy?
LM: Since Japanese Americans were the first to be taken, we must be the first to stand if it happens again.

Could you share more about this painting?
RS: “American Citizen” was one of about 7-8 paintings I’ve done in response to our new president’s stated ambivalence towards the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans. Based upon that fact it is apparent today that Muslims are the new Japanese Americans.

What do you want visitors to take away from this exhibition?
LM: To understand the facts and emotions related to the WWII forced incarceration, so that if it happens again they can make clear and informed decisions about what they should do next.

RS: I feel that the current public political discourse reflects how much the standards of reason have deteriorated. Hopefully this exhibition and associated programming will remind the viewers of the consequences of repeating past mistakes.

4Culture thanks Cassie and the Wing for sharing insight into how the ramifications of Executive Order 9066 reach us today. King County cultural organizations have a full slate of related programming planned this month and beyond, much of which will be focused on drawing connections between Executive Order 9066 and the executive orders we are witnessing now. A listing of events is below—we hope we’ll see you there.

History Café: Executive Order 9066
Wednesday, February 15, 6:30-7:30 pm
Museum of History & Industry
MOHAI’s long-running and much-loved History Café invites history enthusiasts to come together for discussion over a drink and a snack. This month focuses on Executive Order 9066.

Year of Remembrance: Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner
On display February 17, 2017–February 11, 2018
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
This exhibition explores historic and contemporary issues of racism, discrimination and human rights, featuring poems by Lawrence Matsuda and artwork by Roger Shimomura.

Never Again
Sunday, February 19, 2:00-3:30 pm
Seattle Public Library – Central branch
CAIR-Washington State and Densho will discuss Japanese-American World War II incarceration history and American Muslims rights today. More information is available on Facebook.

Neely Mansion and KCLS: Bookmarks and Landmarks
Saturday, March 18, 10:30-11:30 am
Neely Mansion
Read Thin Wood Walls, then discuss the book with its author. Sample a Japanese treat and tour the mansion’s newly restored Japanese Bathhouse. Registration opens March online. For kids age 10 and up.

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!

Introducing Hello 4Culture

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In 2017, we’re getting out of the office, putting down the phone, and talking with our community face-to-face.

On the third Tuesday of every month, 4Culture staff members will be at both the Kent Library and Third Place Commons from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm sharing information about all of our opportunities, from grants to gallery space. Whether you’re an old pro at applying for funding and artists calls or this is the first time you’ve heard of us and just want to talk about King County culture, we invite you to come see us! Bring your questions, ideas, frustrations, plans, and let’s chat.

We’ll still be here at our Pioneer Square office and available by phone or email, but we know it can be tough to get in and out of Seattle, and sometimes you just can’t beat an in-person conversation. Here are the details:

Hello 4Culture
Every 3rd Tuesday starting February 21, 2017
10:00 am—2:00 pm
Kent Library, 212 2nd Ave N, Kent WA 98032
Third Place Commons, 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park, WA 98155

No need to RSVP or register—just drop by any time. We look forward to talking with you.

Project Grants: Tools for Applying

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With deadlines for our Project grants—open to individuals and organizations doing all kinds of cultural work in King County—just over a month away, we want to help you submit your best application.

The grant is organized by discipline: arts, heritage, and preservation. You can apply to more than one for the same project, but they do each have different requirements and criteria, so make sure to read the guidelines carefully, and, if you’re able, join us for a grant workshop. We offer them at our Pioneer Square offices with specific meeting times for each Project grant discipline, or you can join us at locations around King County if you want to talk more generally about all three. The full schedule is below!

If you’re applying as an individual artist, grant manager Heather Dwyer talks you through the process step-by-step in the video above. With over 20 years of experience as an arts administrator, grant manager, and an artist herself, Heather truly is an expert! Here, she offers great insight into what the peer panels evaluating your application will be looking for—make sure to watch and listen.

Deadlines for Project grants are March 1 for Arts and March 8 for Heritage and Preservation. As always, don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions!

WORKSHOPS
Around King County
Nordic Heritage Museum, 3014 NW 67th St, Seattle, WA 98117
Tuesday, January 31, 1:00—2:00 pm
Note: this meeting directly follows January’s AKCHO meeting at the Nordic.

Muckleshoot Library, Muckleshoot Reservation, 39917 Auburn Enumclaw Road SE, Auburn, WA, 98092
Wednesday, February 1, 12:00—1:00 pm

Issaquah Library, 10 West Sunset Way, Issaquah, WA, 98027
Wednesday, February 8, 12:00—1:00 pm

At 4Culture Offices, 101 Prefontaine Pl S, Seattle
Heritage Projects
Thursday, February 2, 5:00 and 6:00 pm*
Wednesday, February 15, 12:00—1:00 pm
Tuesday, February 28, 12:00—1:00 pm

Preservation Special Projects
Tuesday, February 14, 12:00—1:00 pm
Tuesday, February 21, 12:00—1:00 pm

Art Projects: Groups
Thursday, January 26, 12:00—1:00 pm
Thursday, February 2, 12:00—1:00 pm
Thursday, February 9, 12:00—1:00 pm
Thursday, February 16, 12:00—1:00 pm

Art Projects: Individuals
Monday, January 30, 12:00—1:00 pm
Thursday, February 2, 6:00—7:00 pm*
Monday, February 6, 12:00—1:00 pm
Monday, February 13, 12:00—1:00 pm

*Join us for these evening workshops and then visit galleries for First Thursday Art Walk! Free parking is available at select Pioneer Square garages.

Audition for the Touring Arts Roster

Splinter Dance Company © 2013 Commence Vision

Performers, did you know that our Touring Arts Roster can help you reach new audiences? This online tool, which features more than 200 performers from across King County, connects you with organizations and individuals of all kinds who are looking for dynamic live experiences. Plus, we offer reimbursement incentives for nonprofits when they book you through the Roster, strengthening our region’s creative cultural community.

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Splinter Dance Company © 2013 Commence Vision

Performers, did you know that our Touring Arts Roster can help you reach new audiences? This online tool, which features more than 200 performers from across King County, connects you with organizations and individuals of all kinds who are looking for dynamic live experiences. Plus, we offer reimbursement incentives for nonprofits when they book you through the Roster, strengthening our region’s creative cultural community.

If you’re a King County performing artist in just about any genre and this sounds like it might be up your alley, audition for the Roster this month! Auditions will be held Saturday and Sunday, February 18 and 19, at Renton’s Carco Theatre. We ask that all those who’d like to audition fill out and submit an Intent to Audition form so we can schedule you for a 30 minute—1 hour time slot. Good luck, and see you on stage!

February at Gallery4Culture: Chris McMullen

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Chris McMullen, C.S.E. (Collaborative Stacking Extravaganza!), 2016

Chris McMullen
C.S.E. (Collaborative Stacking Extravaganza!)
February 2–23, 2017
Opening: First Thursday, February 2, 6:00–8:00 pm

Chris McMullen’s interactive installation, C.S.E. (Collaborative Stacking Extravaganza!), challenges viewers both mentally and physically as they work together to operate two towering wood and steel cranes—stylized versions of the ubiquitous machines that punctuate the Seattle skyline. This kinetic engagement, the stacking and arranging of materials, encourages face-to-face communication and grounding in our increasingly fractured world.

Based on the mechanics of cranes and lifting devices that were powered by humans instead of fossil fuels prior to the Industrial Revolution, the room-filling sculptures link the disciplines of art, architecture and engineering, speak to the pace of development in our region, and refute the assumption that every problem has a high-tech solution.

McMullen states, Viewers will have to use depth perception, hand-eye coordination, synchronized interaction, and shrewd communication skills to activate the cranes. The object is to overcome logistical difficulties. When multiple operators are present, alliances can be formed and competition may ensue. I’m interested to see how people interact with the work, how they perceive the challenge, and what they ultimately find as a result of their participation. Pushing the boundaries of art, which is so often static, into something that can be touched and moved provides an opportunity to directly affect human relationships.”

About the Artist:
Chris McMullen, a native of Reno, Nevada, has been working with steel in his Seattle, Washington studio since 2000. His practice is characterized by kinetic sculpture and installation that requires human involvement and is informed by his background in graphic communication. McMullen’s work is held in the collections of the City of Seattle, the City of Redmond, and the Science Museum of Oklahoma and has been featured at Bellwether, Bellevue’s Biennial Sculpture exhibition, the Redmond Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, Bumbershoot, Maker Faire, Coachella, and Winston Wächter Fine Art. Recent exhibitions include Out of Sight at King Street Station and Metalmorphosis at the Bellevue Art Museum. McMullen is a recipient of 4Culture’s Individual Artist Project Grant as well as Artist Trust’s Grants for Artists Projects (GAP).

www.chrismcmullenproductions.com

Up next: Deanne Belinoff’s Space: Inside/Out