New Public Art Dream Team

Clockwise from top left: Kelly Pajek, Brennan Jernigan, Heidi Jackson, and Katherine Whimble.
Clockwise from top left: Kelly Pajek, Brennan Jernigan, Heidi Jackson, and Katherine Whimble.

4Culture is a great place to work—a fact evidenced by the few announcements we make about changing staff. We do have some exciting changes and additions, so here’s the 411 on our new dream team.

Brennan Jernigan’s first day was February 16, replacing Ryan Feddersen as the Public Art Program Assistant. Brennan is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University with a Master of Public Administration. He has quickly involved himself in local initiatives including the Seattle Arts Leadership Team (SALT) and the Steering Committee for Lake City Arts and Culture, a new group focused on building capacity and promoting culture in Lake City. In April 2015, Brennan was hired as a Management Intern for the City of Kenmore. During his internship, he coordinated the artist selection process for a $120,000 public art commission for the city’s new town green development and completed the negotiation and contracting process for a 180-foot civic mural project. He also planned the city’s first-ever civic hack-a-thon event. At 4Culture Brennan will oversee the administrative functions of the regional Public Art program, providing support to public art colleagues and Public Art Advisory Committee.

Kelly Pajek will be stepping into Jordan Howland’s position as a Senior Project Manager on March 7. (Jordan hasn’t left us; she is now the Collection Curator!) Many in the cultural community already know and respect Kelly through her outstanding work at the Office of Arts & Culture over the past four years. Prior to moving to Seattle she served +five years at the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Percent for Art Program as both Deputy Director and Acting Director; two years at the Fort Worth Public Art Program as a Project Manager; and three years at NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority Arts for Transit as an Arts Program Manager. Kelly has been in the public art field for a long time and she is one of the best in the business. Despite her years of experience she is looking forward to new opportunities, growing 4Culture’s consulting practice with private developers and public agencies eager to work with artists and benefit from our management expertise. Kelly will also be scoping new projects and continuing our relationships with long-time King County partners Parks, Water & Land Resources and a new transportation partner, King County Water Taxi.

Heidi Jackson is not new to 4Culture, but she is expanding her role and her status as a full-time employee to take on responsibilities in public art. We created a position of Special Projects Manager to take advantage of Heidi’s unique confluence of skill-sets as a grass-roots project manager, community activist and event producer. Since moving to Seattle in the early 2000s, Heidi has been producing events and managing media promotions, tours and bookings for literary and performing artists and regional non-profits through her eponymous production company and Seattle Center Productions. She is a Board member and Managing Partner of Hidmo Cypher, an organization and community movement consciously place-making to preserve space for the Central District’s Black cultural heritage. As part of the public art team, Heidi will be serving as the Project Manager for Creative Justice and working with Poetry on Buses community liaisons. She will continue to work with our colleagues in Cultural Funding programs, where she has been instrumental in shaping organizational initiatives like the Touring Arts Roster, Arts and Social Change Symposium and our partnerships at Washington Hall.

Katherine Wimble began shadowing Tamar Benzikry last week as Tamar prepares for a four-month parental leave (and the newest addition to her family). Katherine is an artist and writer who has collaborated on site-specific art installations as a founding member of the Unearth Collective, plus landscape architecture projects with Hapa Collaborative and environmental art projects with public art practitioners Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan. Katherine is also the former Associate Director of Design in Public, a strategic initiative of AIA Seattle that produces the annual, multidisciplinary Seattle Design Festival. Katherine’s experience with project management, corporate sponsorship and city-wide festival planning will be put to use as we launch the SODO Track, a collaboration seeded by 4Culture and artist Gage Hamilton with the SODO BIA and Urban Artworks to transform the SODO busway into a vibrant street art corridor. Katherine will also be working with Heidi as part of the next evolution of Poetry on Buses, expanded through partnerships with City of Seattle, Sound Transit and 4Culture.

What do these extraordinary administrators have in common with each other and with their colleagues at 4Culture? I can’t say it any better than Heidi Jackson, who summarized the essential qualities of a great arts administrator:

I thrive in positions where strongly cultivated client relationships are essential. I’m passionate about advocating for the artist’s vision holding priority in a project process. I see so many amazing possibilities for innovative approaches to integrating broader and less ‘traditional’ elements into public art projects.”

Long post – I know, I’m sorry. But so much good news to share and such an exciting future ahead!