ONN/OF — ‘light festival’ — designed to illuminate dark days, kick Capitol Hill space into motion

The building’s exterior is already warming up for the event, with a new blanket of oranges, reds, and yellow paint created by artist Nko (Image: CHS)

Instead of curling up next to a SAD light on the scientifically proven worst, most depressing days of Seattle’s year, local artists are giving Capitol Hill a chance to experience the light, warmth and energy of art. The event will also put a large space standing mostly empty in the middle of Pike/Pine into motion for at least a couple days.

This weekend, the ONN/OF, “a light festival” will illuminate the BMW building slated to be part of this 260-unit mixed-use development and preservation project with visual arts, “site-specific” art installations, workshops, and performances. Attendees can even have their skin burned by the Northwest Sunburn Company or be branded by Stick N Poke Tattoos artists MKNZ and Ross Laing. Entry for Saturday’s 5 to midnight schedule will cost you $10. Sunday’s schedule begins at 11 AM and is free until 7 PM. Full details are below. If you’re on the fence about being lit up in this fashion, Stranger art critic Jen Graves called last year’s edition “both ridiculous and profound.”

Developed by artists Susan Robb and Sierra Stinson, and art writer Jim Demetre during 2011’s gloomy La Niña winter, the art exhibit aims to provide an escape from the cold and solitude of winter while producing enough radiance to help see Seattleites through.

Last year, ONN/OF goers sought refuge from the darkness at an old sweater factory in Ballard owned by Demetre’s family, but this year, the mostly-empty empty BMW property will provide 10,000 square feet for the installations, as part of the developer’s effort to keep the space activated until construction begins later this year. Developer The Wolff Company has also been putting portions of the old garage facility to use as temporary office space and parking for staff planning and managing the new project. It’s a pretty awesome venue inside with derelict auto repair gear, a massive open space, and one-of-a-kind auto row spirit lurking in the shadows of the old facility.

Chill Dome, originally uploaded by The Kozy Shack.

“The artists work site-specific to create their art,” Robb says. “One artist is using the car lift that is still there when the building was used by BMW, and other artists are using elements in the building’s architecture for projections and installations.”

Portions of the 1920s-built brick showroom, which also currently houses sports drink maker Golazo, will be preserved in the Wolff project. The company is also developing the apartment complex on top of the auto row-era Sunset Electric building at 10th and Pine — currently looking rather stripped down before it is to be rebuilt and built up

On the BMW property, the developers have dropped ten or so units from their overall plan to bring the project to 260 apartments. According to the presentation document, five of those were sacrificed to maintain the auto row “character” structure’s size and feel into the interior courtyard of the development.

“We’re very excited to be able to provide a home for a great art event,” says Rob O’Dea, a representative for Wolff.

The developers have seen the light…. and with the mayor and a City Hall entourage of staff and media in Pike/Pine Friday to celebrate the neighborhood’s “Top 12 ArtPlaces” award, there’s an at least partly artful reason to celebrate more creativity this weekend — even if it’s not celebrating the galleries and cheap places for artists to live that people wish Capitol Hill still had.

Here are more details on this weekend’s festival:

Where: The Old BMW Dealership

715 East Pine Street

Seattle, WA 98101

Saturday, January 26th 5pm – midnight : $10 all day (21+)

Sunday, January 27th 11am – 10pm : All Ages Free admission until 7pm / $8 after 7pm (21+)


PDLTivon RiceNick BartolettiNat Evans & John TeskeGraham DowningMKNZ & Ross LaingErin Elyse BurnsBritta JohnsonJD BankeTaylor Pinton, Nko, Max KraushaarIzzie KlingelsJulie AlpertLindsey ApodacaDK PanNicholas Nyland, Baso Fibonacci, Eric Aguilar, Angelina, Anthony SonnenbergKlara GlosovaErin FrostXhurch and more!


Laura Cassidy & Ria Leigh, Kate RyanIzzie Klingels


Plankton WatAirportOnonosMidday VeilLori Goldston & Jessika Kenney Queen ShmooquanSgt. Rigsby and His Amazing Silhouettes

2013 Schedule

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One thought on “ONN/OF — ‘light festival’ — designed to illuminate dark days, kick Capitol Hill space into motion

  1. The new mural is a great addition to Pine. I noticed it a few days ago and was thrilled to see something replace the eyesore that the building has become. Great job, Nko!