On First Thursday December 3, Gallery4Culture will host a closing reception for Alexander Mouton’s exhibition Some Time Later…I’m Here: Photographs from Poland and Ukraine. This will be the final gallery reception hosted by 4Culture staffer Esther Luttikhuizen, who is retiring on December 4. In a December 1, 2008 interview in City Arts announcing Esther as the newest staff member, Tim Appelo asked her “How will you change 4Culture?” Esther’s answer: “I have a lot to learn. Ask me in a year.” Well it’s been exactly seven years, so I asked Esther to re-consider Tim’s question.
“I don’t choose the artists for the Gallery shows,” Esther explained, “but I work with panels that do.” So even though she does not have complete control over the selected artists, she did have complete control over the artists’ experience in the gallery. Most of the Gallery 4Culture artists are presenting their first solo exhibition. Esther is/was an exceptional mentor to those artists, treating them with the utmost respect and support while helping them to edit the exhibition content and display the work to its best advantage. “I am proud that Gallery4Culture continues to evolve as one of the best spaces to present the work of new artists—and that it’s a great professional experience for the artists.”
“I am also proud of the opportunity I have had to shape the County’s portable collection.” Over her tenure at 4Culture, Esther has used open calls for artists as well as direct purchases—called Curator’s Choice—to “fill in the missing holes,” to look for those artists who are “not represented in the County’s Collection, but should be. “I helped to build a collection that responds to its public use,” she said. Here is just a small sampling of those outstanding additions to the Collection:
- 2009: two works on paper by Blake Haygood
- 2010: one work on paper by Justin Gibbens and six Vibrational Field prints by the late Richard Elliott
- 2011: eight photographs of historic King County bridges by the late John Stamets and one work on paper by Gala Bent
- 2012: two works on paper by Maki Tamura, a large scale Chris Jordan photograph, a Jacob Lawrence screenprint entitled Other Rooms, one collaborative work on paper by Joe Max Emminger and Julie Pashkis, and Minidoka Snapshots, a set of eight screenprints by Roger Shimomura
- 2013: one work on paper by Buddy Bunting and three photographs by Richard Nicol
- 2015: four works on paper by Duwamish Residency artists Robert Hardgrave, Sue Danielson, Gene Gentry McMahon and Steve McFarlane.
Esther will be moving to Samish Island full time to join her husband Brad—recently retired from Artech—and their two cats. “My mother is still going strong at 97, so who knows, I may live another 30 years. I see this as an amazing time to re-imagine—to re-invent myself.” Indeed! Wherever that re-imagination takes you—best wishes. You will be missed at 4Culture.
Gallery4Culture will be closed in December, but stay tuned for information on our January show, and on who will be filling Esther’s role!