Suyama Space Says Goodbye with a Tech-Specific Project

Isabelle Choinière, MUE DE L'ANGE, 2002, image courtesy of Suyama Space. Multi-disciplinary artist Fernanda D’Agostino will collaborate with choreographers, sound and video artists to create an interactive environmental performance installation as the final exhibition of the Suyama Space before it closes at the end of 2016

When we took our long-time Site-Specific grant program and gave it a tech focus in 2015, we were amazed by the response. With over 100 applications—a record for the program—it was clear that this grant tapped into King County’s fascination with the overlap of art and technology. Over the course of this year, the projects that have come to fruition have been exciting to watch and participate in, and as 2016 comes to a close, we’re proud to highlight one in particular.

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When we took our long-time Site-Specific grant program and gave it a tech focus in 2015, we were amazed by the response. With over 100 applications—a record for the program—it was clear that this grant tapped into King County’s fascination with the overlap of art and technology. Over the course of this year, the projects that have come to fruition have been exciting to watch and participate in, and as 2016 comes to a close, we’re proud to highlight one in particular.

For almost 20 years, under the guidance of curator Beth Sellars, artists have responded to the wood and concrete of Suyama Space through installations that defy simple categorization. The artists Sellars selects come from all career stages and get the opportunity to spend 2 years getting to know this gallery within an architecture firm. The result, in the words of the organizers themselves, is that, “the featured artist now becomes a collaborator with the space, rather than fighting with the structure, or worse, ignoring it. Successful installations gain from all that the building has to offer.” In November 2015, Suyama Space announced that this year would be their last—we’re sad to see it go, and honored to have helped fund the final installation in this incredible venue.

Fernanda D’Agostino’s Generativity embodies the Tech-Specific grant’s goals of fostering new intersections of art and technology, and new collaboration between makers of all kinds. D’Agostino’s installation features video footage of a performance by dancer Isabelle Choinière, whose choreography interacts with sculpture, video projections, coding, and sound. This combination of high- and low-tech can, according to Suyama Space, “heighten the senses in unprecedented ways.” Generativity will be on view at Suyama Space until December 16, 2016—don’t miss this final opportunity to experience a truly unique joining of artist, space, and technology.

Artists, submit your exhibition proposals for Gallery4Culture's 2017-2018 season!

Andrew Hoeppner. Monkeys, 2016. Ceramic, glaze, and 24K gold. Photo: Joe Freeman

Gallery4Culture showcases contemporary art, presenting the work of outstanding independent artists living in King County. Our 1,000 sq. ft. exhibition space is located on the street level of the 4Culture administrative offices in the heart of Seattle’s Pioneer Square.

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Andrew Hoeppner. Monkeys, 2016. Ceramic, glaze, and 24K gold. Photo: Joe Freeman
Andrew Hoeppner. Monkeys, 2016. Ceramic, glaze, and 24K gold. Photo: Joe Freeman

Gallery4Culture showcases contemporary art, presenting the work of outstanding independent artists living in King County. Our 1,000 sq. ft. exhibition space is located on the street level of the 4Culture administrative offices in the heart of Seattle’s Pioneer Square.

Visual artists working in all media and genres are invited to submit solo, collaborative and group exhibition proposals for our next season, which runs from September 2017-July 2018. Emerging artists and those whose approach to studio practice is underrepresented in commercial venues are especially encouraged to apply.

Selected artists will receive curatorial direction, communications/PR support, and a $500 honorarium to help defray expenses.

Visit the 4Culture OPPORTUNITIES page and scroll to King County, WA + Gallery4Culture to find the detailed call, materials checklist, and a link to the online application.

The deadline for submissions is Monday, January 9, 2017.

Contact Jordan Howland at 206.263.1589 with questions.

galleries.4culture.org

Artist Talk with Deborah Faye Lawrence

Deborah Faye Lawrence. Open Carry, 2016. Fabric and paper collage on canvas. 40 3/4 x 34 3/4 inches. Photo: Lynn Thompson.

Deborah Faye Lawrence: Open Carry
On view November 3—December 1, 2016 at Gallery4Culture
Artist Talk: Tuesday, November 29, 6:00 pm

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Deborah Faye Lawrence. Open Carry, 2016. Fabric and paper collage on canvas. 40 3/4 x 34 3/4 inches. Photo: Lynn Thompson.
Deborah Faye Lawrence. Open Carry, 2016. Fabric and paper collage on canvas. 40 3/4 x 34 3/4 inches. Photo: Lynn Thompson.

Deborah Faye Lawrence: Open Carry
On view November 3—December 1, 2016 at Gallery4Culture
Artist Talk: Tuesday, November 29, 6:00 pm

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”
– Bertolt Brecht

Deborah Faye Lawrence uses satirical collage as a political and psychological tool. Join us on Tuesday, November 29 at 6:00 pm at Gallery4Culture to learn about her life’s work and the injustices explored in Open Carry.

Creative Justice Youth Take a Stand Against Gentrification with Pop-Up Exhibit

 

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Clockwise: Breana Commodore. A Good Day, 2016; Aaron Counts. Chain Link, 2016; Delino Olebar. Street Selfie, 2016; Faisal Provincial. Pratt, 2016. Photos courtesy of the artists and Creative Justice.
Clockwise: Breana Commodore. A Good Day, 2016; Aaron Counts. Chain Link, 2016; Delino Olebar. Street Selfie, 2016; Faisal Provincial. Pratt, 2016. Photos courtesy of the artists and Creative Justice.

Creative Justice
We Still Live Here
December 7—15, 2016
Curated by JoJo Gaon and Aaron Counts
Opening: Thursday, December 8, 6:00—8:00 pm
Gallery4Culture – 101 Prefontaine Place South, Seattle, WA 98104

Our region is changing. Fueled by the thriving technology industry, Seattle has become one of the fastest growing big cities in the country. But the booming real estate market isn’t enjoyed by everyone. Rents are rising at an alarming rate, while incomes remain stagnant for middle and lower class families. Schools continue to fail at reaching all students equally, and the opportunity gap widens.

This inequality means our affordable housing crisis is yet another burden disproportionately shouldered by people of color. The issue is much more than a discussion about dollars and cents. It is about the future of our area: its character and aesthetics as expressed by its diversity, or lack thereof. Those families being displaced by gentrification are real people, attempting—like all of us—to lead full lives. As neighborhoods change, their proximity to community may be in jeopardy, but their sense of place within it is not.

In WE STILL LIVE HERE, Creative Justice youth stake their claim as residents of our region, documenting their existence, showing us their struggles and their joys through the lens of their smartphones. The exhibition, inspired by the art of Martha Rosler and the Streetwise series by photographer Mary Ellen Mark, juxtaposes images from the daily lives of the artists with the construction of a new and changing Seattle. In many respects, it is a tale of two cities, but the tale hasn’t been completely written. These young artists are creating a new chapter, refusing to be pushed into history.

WE STILL LIVE HERE is a collaborative project by the Youth Leadership Board of Creative Justice, an arts-based alternative to incarceration for young people in King County. With the guidance of mentor artists, participants consider the root causes of incarceration like racism and other oppressions, focusing on the positive role their voices can have in building a more just and equitable society. The Youth Leadership Board consists of past participants who continue to shape the direction of the program through their creativity and vision. Celebrate and support their work on Thursday, December 8.

Photography
Breana Commodore
Jamila Daka
Marcus Lawson
John Leoto
Delino Olebar
Faisal Provincial
and the Creative Justice mentor artist team

Poetry
Jamila Daka
Jazmine Speed
and Marcus Lawson

creativejustice.4culture.org

Support for Creative Justice comes from 4Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts. This special project and exhibit was underwritten by The New Foundation.

Community4Culture Takes Off

Studio Lazo is a group of artists and community members working to create a welcoming venue to showcase the creativity of Latino artists, writers, and musicians. Photo courtesy of Studio Lazo.

What would it look like to be able to truly support all of King County?

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We are a group of artists and community members who support the arts. After years of struggle to carve out space for Latino artists within existing cultural communities, we decided to create a new, welcoming venue that especially showcases the creativity of Latino artists, writers and musicians. Photo courtesy of Studio Lazo.
Studio Lazo is a group of artists and community members working to create a welcoming venue to showcase the creativity of Latino artists, writers, and musicians. Photo courtesy of Studio Lazo.

What would it look like to be able to truly support all of King County?

We’re extending our existing equity work through a new grant program called Community 4Culture that sets aside funds to go directly to organizations that do vital cultural work but, due to geographic, income, and other disparities, have been historically underserved.

This presents many challenges, and we quickly realized it would require a great deal of learning and listening on our part. Rather than asking these organizations, all of which are dealing with small staffs and budgets, to conform to our processes and procedures, how do we instead adapt those processes to the needs of our community? How do we build the organizational knowledge and skills we need to be able to effectively serve these cultural doers?

It has been and will continue to be on ongoing process, but we are proud to announce that the first round of Community4Culture recipients has been selected! They come from all over King County, work in many different cultural disciplines, and serve diverse communities:

JHP Cultural and Diversity Legacy
Indigenouz PlaceMakerz
Studio Lazo
Total Experience Gospel Choir
Ewajo Collective
Latino Theatre Projects
Great Northern and Cascade Railway

We’re excited to move forward in collaboration with each of these organizations. Community4Culture is not a “one size fits all” grant—it’s based on ongoing capacity-building. If you think this grant may be a fit for your organization, learn more about it here, and don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions.

Welcome, New Touring Arts Roster Performers!

New Touring Arts Roster performers Sundae + Mr. Goessel, photo by Rick Wait.

After celebrating its 30th birthday last year, the Touring Arts Roster—our online tool connecting performing artists of all disciplines to audiences across King County—continues to grow. Auditions were held over two days in August at Renton’s Carco Theatre, with a peer panel making selections. We’re excited to welcome these 11 new acts to the Roster:

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New Touring Arts Roster performers Sundae + Mr. Goessel, photo by Rick Wait.

After celebrating its 30th birthday last year, the Touring Arts Roster—our online tool connecting performing artists of all disciplines to audiences across King County—continues to grow. Auditions were held over two days in August at Renton’s Carco Theatre, with a peer panel making selections. We’re excited to welcome these 11 new acts to the Roster:

Alfredo Chavez
Doubled Up
Jovino Santos Neto/Paul Taub Duo
King Khazm
Marcia Arunga
Opera Ole
Roosevelt Road
Sol de Noche
Sundae + Mr. Goessl
The Sol Quartet
Trio Cubay

Get to know these artists and their work, and book one of them for your next event! Don’t forget that we offer a financial incentive for the organizations that help put these performers in front of local audiences. Funds are available for local arts agencies, chambers of commerce, downtown associations, and municipalities presenting free concerts in their communities to be reimbursed by 4Culture for 50% of Touring Arts Roster performing artist fees. If you represent one of these organizations, read through the guidelines to make sure you qualify, and start your application!

 

 

Guest Post: “The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop” Hits a National Stage

Jazmyn Scott and Aaron Walker-Loud accept the American Association for State & Local History 2016 Leadership in History Award of Merit for The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop. Photo courtesy of MOHAI.

Jazmyn Scott and Aaron Walker-Loud partnered with the Museum of History & Industry to curate and present The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop, an exhibit celebrating the people, places, and events that make up one of our region’s most vibrant cultural communities. The exhibit ran from September 19, 2015 through May 1, 2016. We at 4Culture were proud to help fund it! Here, Aaron and Jazmyn give us some insight into how the exhibit evolved, and where it’s taken them:

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Photo courtesy of MOHAI.
Jazmyn Scott and Aaron Walker-Loud accept the American Association for State & Local History 2016 Leadership in History Award of Merit for The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop. Photo courtesy of MOHAI.

Jazmyn Scott and Aaron Walker-Loud partnered with the Museum of History & Industry to curate and present The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop, an exhibit celebrating the people, places, and events that make up one of our region’s most vibrant cultural communities. The exhibit ran from September 19, 2015 through May 1, 2016. We at 4Culture were proud to help fund it! Here, Aaron and Jazmyn give us some insight into how the exhibit evolved, and where it’s taken them:

After six years of constructing a brighter light to help the world better understand the Hip-Hop scene in Seattle, both past and present, we found ourselves in Detroit receiving national acclaim for these efforts. On the evening of September 16, 2016, we were overjoyed to receive, along with MOHAI, the American Association for State & Local History 2016 Leadership in History Award of Merit for The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop exhibit: “the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.” To think that two people who have never curated an exhibit before could partner, receive great acclaim and public engagement—approximately 31,000 guests attended the exhibit throughout the run—then also receive national accolades, was beyond what we’d ever imagined.

To think that two people who have never curated an exhibit before could partner, receive great acclaim and public engagement—approximately 31,000 guests attended the exhibit throughout the run—then also receive national accolades, was beyond what we’d ever imagined.

In 2010 we were involved in an exciting project with Steve Sneed of the Seattle Center for the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair, in the multi-faceted “Next 50” project. Originally approaching Aaron to look at the possibility of producing a Seattle Hip-Hop compilation album, Steve was quickly open to expanding the concept. We built a team that included the two of us, brother Avi Loud, and several community collaborators and created 50 Next: Seattle Hip-Hop Worldwide, which launched in 2012. The project includes a free compilation of 76 Seattle/Northwest Hip-Hop tracks spanning from the early 1980s through 2012, as well as a short film documentary on this region’s unique culture.

To grow the long-term scope of our work, Steve then immediately introduced us to the Black Heritage Society of Washington State, who then introduced us to MOHAI to produce a Black History Month Celebration in February 2014. Showcasing film, visual art, dance, music, and a community conversation about gentrification in Seattle, over 700 guests were in attendance. We were later invited to meet with MOHAI, and presented with the opportunity to co-curate an entire exhibit about Seattle Hip-Hop. After our initial shock at the invitation, we eagerly accepted!

Collecting artifact loans that represent over 1,000 Seattle Hip-Hop artists, along with vital support from Blend, Dr. Daudi Abe, DeVon Manier, Margo Jones, 206 Zulu, the Coolout Network, as well as our teams at 50 Next: Seattle Hip-Hop Worldwide, The Town Entertainment and Big World Breaks, we embarked on our journey. Tasked with engaging the spectrum of museum goers, from toddler aged youth through elders, enlightening those new to Hip-Hop as well as “Hip-Hop Heads,” honoring cultural originators in parallel with new artists, composing the supportive text, having the patient persistence to build trust and collect loaned artifacts from artists spread all over the region—these were the challenges to embrace.

Hip-Hop is ever-evolving. Originating as a Black American art form in New York City in the late 1970s, it is unique among all other music genres as a multi-medium cultural force that is directly tied to the roots of the Black Power movement of the 1960s and still consistent with the ongoing fight against institutional racism through the efforts of Black Lives Matter and many more active entities. To have activists and artists participate in events that brought honest conversation around these vital issues was extremely important to us. We were grateful that MOHAI not only supported us in creatively exploring elements of Hip-Hop within the exhibit—Graffiti, Deejaying, Dance, Emceeing, Production and Fashion—but also co-produced over 20 events with us during the exhibit run, that included the participation of over 45 community members and organizations represented.

Sharing Seattle’s stories in Detroit this September at the AASLH award ceremony, all we could help feel is that this is just the beginning, a surprisingly explosive start to both of our life’s work in amplifying Northwest culture on the world stage.

Guest Post: Northwest Seaport Expands

Photo courtesy of Northwest Seaport.

Nathaniel Howe is the Executive Director of Northwest Seaport, an organization dedicated to preserving the rich maritime heritage of the Pacific Northwest. Their floating fleet at Lake Union Park just received a new addition:

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Photo courtesy of Northwest Seaport.
Photo courtesy of Northwest Seaport.

Nathaniel Howe is the Executive Director of Northwest Seaport, an organization dedicated to preserving the rich maritime heritage of the Pacific Northwest. Their floating fleet at Lake Union Park just received a new addition:

I am very proud to announce that we are expanding our historic fleet, which presently includes the tugboat Arthur Foss of 1889 and Lightship No. 83 Swiftsure of 1904. We have now raised the funds to acquire a “new” 105 year-old vessel, the 75-ft. halibut schooner Tordenskjold (pronounced tore-den-sk-yool-d). After more than 100 years of commercial fishing, this true Northwest icon is about to become Seattle’s newest museum ship.

Built in Ballard by John Strand in 1911, Tordenskjold is now one of the oldest halibut schooners left. In its century of fishing it has worked up and down the West Coast catching not only halibut, but also crab, shrimp, tuna, and even sharks—a catch highly valued by the US armed forces during WWII. Fishing with dories, long-lines, pelagic trawl nets, and bottom trawls, Tordenskjold worked in more fisheries than any other halibut schooner and is believed to have the rare distinction of being the only boat in the fleet to have never lost a man at sea.

Drawing of Tordenskjold courtesy of Northwest Seaport.
Drawing of Tordenskjold courtesy of Northwest Seaport.

After the 2012 fishing season, Tordenskjold’s owner, Marvin Gjerde, decided it was time to retire from fishing. The boat still had a lot of years left in her, but with bigger, more powerful longliners on the market, finding a buyer who wanted to invest the time, cash, and energy needed to keep a vessel like Tordenskjold in prime fishing condition was hard to find. Gjerde felt that Northwest Seaport would give Tordenskjold the care and devotion it needs and deserves—just as he has for the past 38 years.

As an operational museum ship, Tordenskjold will become a living education platform, carrying school children and tour groups on short excursions along our city’s one-of-a-kind working waterfront, visiting Fishermen’s Terminal, the locks, and teaching about the innovation and sustainable practices that enable these amazing 100 year-old vessels—designed and built here in Puget Sound—to keep on fishing for over a century. When I was seven years old, I had that very same privilege aboard the halibut schooner Masonic. To this day, I have never forgotten that excursion aboard a true Northwest fishing vessel and I am very excited that we will soon be offering the chance to hundreds of others each year.

The first in-depth survey of Tordenskjold, funded by 4Culture and conducted by Ocean Bay Marine last month, found this boat to be in astoundingly good shape. Gjerde took excellent care of the boat during his tenure.

In the coming weeks, the boat will be drydocked for a detailed survey of the hull and for taking measurements to generate a set of plans (none exist). Volunteer work parties have already begun to clean the boat and prepare her for painting. Anyone who wants to come get to know this amazing vessel and the interesting mix of shipwrights, fishermen, and volunteers working on her now are welcome to come on down!

November at Gallery4Culture: Deborah Faye Lawrence

Deborah Faye Lawrence. Open Carry, 2016. Fabric and paper collage on canvas. 40 3/4 x 34 3/4 inches. Photo: Lynn Thompson.

Deborah Faye Lawrence
Open Carry
November 3–December 1, 2016
Opening: First Thursday, November 3, 6:00—8:00 pm
Closing: First Thursday, December 1, 6:00—8:00 pm

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Deborah Faye Lawrence. Open Carry, 2016. Fabric and paper collage on canvas. 40 3/4 x 34 3/4 inches. Photo: Lynn Thompson.
Deborah Faye Lawrence. Open Carry, 2016. Fabric and paper collage on canvas. 40 3/4 x 34 3/4 inches. Photo: Lynn Thompson.

Deborah Faye Lawrence
Open Carry
November 3–December 1, 2016
Opening: First Thursday, November 3, 6:00—8:00 pm
Closing: First Thursday, December 1, 6:00—8:00 pm

Deborah Faye Lawrence uses satirical collage as a political and psychological tool. Aligned with personal, domestic and global issues and events, her work—rendered on canvas, paper, board, and recycled metal serving trays—reflects a decades-long interest in social justice. Open Carry features recent mixed media constructions.

The words “open carry” do not appear in the U.S. Constitution, but the First Amendment guarantees our freedom of expression. Lawrence thinks of this statement as an invitation to wear her convictions on her sleeve. Exposed and legible, not cloaked in politeness.

In the last decade, especially since 9/11, her studio work has been influenced by an evolving appreciation of the role of the American flag in our culture; the way in which it is used, and what it symbolizes. By physically arranging the red and white stripes and stars with superimposed text and imagery, she honors antecedent American quilters and critiques our nation’s practices of incarceration, racism, gender bias, violence, imperialism, environmental turpitude, and the privatization of health care.

Bertolt Brecht said, “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.” Lawrence’s scissors must be sharp.

About the Artist: Born, raised and educated in Los Angeles, Deborah Faye Lawrence is a longtime artist and arts educator. She moved her practice away from tightly controlled watercolor paintings to the more expressive, less structured medium of collage as a student in the mid-1970s. Since then, her frustration with the status quo, defiance of authority, rebellion against political conservatism, and impatience with the art establishment have been asserted in her work in one way or another.

Lawrence’s collages have been widely exhibited and published and she has received numerous grants and awards, including the 2015 Twining Humber Award for Lifetime Achievement in Visual Art. She has lived with her husband in Seattle since 1993.

 

2016 Conductive Garboil Grant Awarded to Tariqa Waters

© 2015, Tariqa Waters, 100% Kanekalon, photograph, 7’ x 5’ x 1”, from the exhibition 100% Kanekalon: The Untold Story of the Marginalized Matriarch, Northwest African American Museum June 4 to October 16, 2016, image courtesy of the artist.

4Culture, Artist Trust, and the Estate of Su Job are pleased to announce that Tariqa Waters is the 2016 recipient of the Conductive Garboil Grant, a yearly, non‐restricted award of $3,000.

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© 2015, Tariqa Waters, 100 % Kanekalon, photograph, 7’ x 5’ x 1”, from the exhibition 100% Kanekalon: The Untold Story of the Marginalized Matriarch, Northwest African American Museum June 4 to October 16, 2016, image courtesy of the artist
© 2015, Tariqa Waters, 100% Kanekalon, photograph, 7’ x 5’ x 1”, from the exhibition 100% Kanekalon: The Untold Story of the Marginalized Matriarch, Northwest African American Museum June 4 to October 16, 2016, image courtesy of the artist.

4Culture, Artist Trust, and the Estate of Su Job are pleased to announce that Tariqa Waters is the 2016 recipient of the Conductive Garboil Grant, a yearly, non‐restricted award of $3,000.

The grant was developed by Job just before her passing in December, 2008 and acknowledges King County artists with a connection to Pioneer Square who have “demonstrated a profound ability to challenge the limits of conductive creative discourse and its effects on our society, pushing the creative act beyond the accepted limits, definitions, or purposes of art while engaging audiences outside the aesthetic industrial complex.” Su also wanted to recognize artists who “incorporate the creative process into a life practice that diffuses the boundaries between professional activities, social responsibilities, and respect for the people that compose the community we all share.”

Tariqa Waters manages a multi-faceted practice as a visual artist, alternative gallerist, curator and educator. Tariqa was born in Virginia. She taught herself to be a painter, learning from other artists in her family and a period of time working as a muralist in Sicily. She exhibited her paintings in group exhibitions in the Metro D.C. area and in Atlanta where she lived prior to moving to Seattle in 2012.

In just four years, Waters’ has made an indelible mark on Seattle’s arts community and the Pioneer Square neighborhood. The move to the neighborhood also shifted Waters’ practice as her life and work began to merge in unexpected ways. Establishing Martyr Sauce, a “renegade gallery as a platform for generating press and attention for marginalized perspectives” was one of those unanticipated outcomes. Originally located in the stairwell/storefront entry to her live/work loft space, Martyr Sauce is now re-established at 1st Avenue and Jackson Street in what used to be Bud’s Jazz Records.

Tariqa’s own artwork has been garnering support and critical acclaim in the region. She created cover art for The Stranger three times and was herself featured on the cover of City Arts Magazine annual 2015 Future List edition. She has been included in group exhibitions at Vermillion, Washington Hall, the Art of the City Festival, Seattle Public Utilities Cultural Perspective, and Out of Sight.  Her solo exhibition, 100% Kanekalon: The Untold Story of the Marginalized Matriarch, is currently on view at the Northwest African American Museum through October 16. Tariqa works as a teaching artist at the Seattle Art Museum, where she also presented an interactive installation entitled Not Again as part of the Pop Departures and City Dwellers exhibit.

Please join us in celebrating Tariqa on Thursday, November 3, 6:00—9:00pm at Martyr Sauce in Pioneer Square! Award presentation will happen at 7:00 pm.

About the Conductive Garboil Selection Process
Prior to her death, Su Job chose the inaugural recipient of the Conductive Garboil Grant, Johnathan Heath Lambe. She also established a group of panelists to select the 2009 recipient, Sheri Brown. Panelists have since nominated their successors, according to Su’s guidelines. Kelly Lyles received the award in 2010, Rio Pacific Studio (Jeff Jacobson & Jen Vertz) in 2011, Paul Rucker in 2012, Christian French in 2013, Jeppa K. Hall in 2014, and Robb Kunz in 2015. The grant is administered on an annual basis by 4Culture and Artist Trust with the assistance of Su Job’s personal representative, Lynn Schirmer. More details may be found at www.garboil.org.

From Our Executive Director: Looking Ahead to CAWA

Summer camps at MOHAI © 2015, photo by Kathleen Knies, courtesy of MOHAI.

As fall begins, we focus on the coming November elections which will include contests for federal offices, as well as several important local ballot initiatives.

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Summer camps at MOHAI © 2015, photo by Kathleen Knies, courtesy of MOHAI.
Summer camps at MOHAI © 2015, photo by Kathleen Knies, courtesy of MOHAI.

As fall begins, we focus on the coming November elections which will include contests for federal offices, as well as several important local ballot initiatives.

Since 1965, when the National Endowment for the Arts was authorized by the United States Congress, government has been a partner in funding the arts nationally and locally. The King County Arts Commission—the first incarnation of what is now 4Culture—was established in 1967. In the years following, government support was extended to libraries, history museums, historic preservation, and public broadcasting in recognition that those connections to each other and to place create public benefits that help make a cohesive and civil society.

Times have changed, along with attitudes about government and taxes. It is more difficult today to define something as inexact as “the common good.” I live in Seattle and love the idea of expanding transit options. Would I feel the same if I lived in Enumclaw? Today we ask voters to decide what they are willing to support with tax revenues. In some cases, voters are asked to renew a tax for a particular purpose, such as the parks levy from two years ago. In other cases, new taxes are proposed to accomplish regional goals, such as the expansion of Sound Transit’s Light Rail system, which will be on the ballot this November.

In summer 2015, Cultural Access Washington (CAWA), passed the state legislature. The bill allows any county in the state to offer a ballot measure to increase access to science and cultural non-profit organizations by increasing sales tax. We began to ask: how would arts and culture fare if put to the voters? Now that the bill will—in all likelihood—appear on the King County ballot in 2017, we are partnering with cultural organizations and advocates from across our region to dig deeper.

Throughout the summer we convened study groups to review CAWA legislation and what it could look like in practice, and we heard and asked a myriad of critical questions: how do we define “access”? How do we embed equity into the structure of this bill? How do we create educational opportunities that truly make a difference to our citizens?

While we wrestle with complex issues in this year’s election, we invite you to join us in also looking ahead to 2017 and CAWA. These questions are just the first in a conversation we will continue over the next year as we craft the best possible funding program for arts, science, and culture in King County. Stay tuned.

Jim Kelly