Capitol Hill Community Post | Lawrence Pitre at Gallery 4Culture this September

Lawrence Pitre’s series of narrative paintings We Are One honors the legacy and diversity of Seattle’s Central District from 1840 to the present day. Eschewing traditional perspective in favor of a flattened and abstracted treatment, Pitre depicts the Central District’s history of African American, Chinese, Jewish, and Filipino communities with vibrancy and intensity.

The alarming rate of urban development and its impact on these longstanding communities, especially the African American community, is at the core of the work. We Are One is a statement about racial injustice as much as it is historic interpretation.
The collection highlights prominent figures and iconic places, including former Seattle city councilman Wing Luke; Sister Gregory, Pitre’s aunt who became a nun at the age of 16; the residents and shacks of Hooverville; and the Gang of Four, a group of four men from different cultural backgrounds who formed a powerful political alliance to combat inequity. He paints the faces of all of these figures in a Cubist style, showing several different outlooks and emotions simultaneously.

“Recognizing the continued struggle and lack of representation of communities of color in the arts has led me here, to help reveal our stories and experiences. The idea behind this series is to express how important diversity really is in a community,” Pitre says. “The inclusiveness behind the work is meant to show that we need each other again. We have to come back together and start standing up for our community as a whole.”

Lawrence Pitre was born in Seattle’s Central District. Much like other children growing up, he searched for an identity—and visual art became that mystical vehicle. After receiving his AA degree, Lawrence transferred to the University of Washington’s School of Art, where he began to cultivate his artistic vision under the direction of Jacob Lawrence.

Upon completion of his BFA, followed by years spent in a government career, he decided to again follow his artistic passion and enrolled in the Masters of Fine Arts Leadership Program at Seattle University. He graduated in 2017.

Pitre sees his artistic endeavors as a way to depict his own struggles, joys, and love for life. He seeks to understand the process of creativity in the way a theoretical physicist seeks to understand the universe.

The show opens on First Thursday, September 6 from 6-8 pm, and runs through the 27th. Gallery 4 Culture is open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday and located at 101 Prefontaine Place South, Seattle, WA 98104

Image Credit: Lawrence Pitre. 24th Street Market, 2017. Acrylic on Canvas. 30 x 24 inches.

Capitol Hill Community Post | Creative Justice Youth Leaders make an impact at MOHAI and the Seattle Library

Creative Justice, a arts-based alternative to incarceration for King County youth, expands through partnerships with MOHAI and the Seattle Public Library, providing a conduit for voices of youth leadership. Now in its third year, Creative Justice serves as a model for policy makers of a community based solution to incarceration for moderate to high-risk youth. Instead of jail time, King County youth are supported by a community network that provides tools to develop skills and build the relationships they need to thrive.

At the Seattle Public Library Creative Justice youth leaders are participating in the Library’s criminal justice series, a year-round project exploring community based justice reform led by the Public Engagement department. The youth have helped shape a forthcoming social media campaign and art installation that is the pilot for the library’s new artist residency program. Working with four professional artists, youth will design and build artistic displays that stimulate deeper civic dialog about the criminal justice system, while centering the voices of those who are most affected.

A sneak peek of their artwork from their library residency will be on view Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. during Someday We’ll All Be Free, an event featuring local organizers Jerrell Davis and Wesley Roach, Los Angeles poet laureate Luis Rodriguez, and a video call with Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors.

In addition, Creative Justice is partnering with MOHAI on the installation We Still Live Here, a photographic response to gentrification by Leadership Board youth, which is now on view at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) November 18, 2017 through March 2018. The photographs are displayed in conjunction with MOHAI’s new exhibit Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith, chronicling 65 years of Seattle history and the Central District neighborhood.

Creative Justice, a Public Art program launched by 4Culture, King County’s cultural services agency, has helped over 100 youth create a different future for themselves. More than 70 charges have been dismissed or reduced as a result of the program’s efforts. These youth have been able to avoid the life altering harms associated with a criminal record.

Led by writer and educator Aaron Counts and artist, former mayoral candidate, and program caseworker Nikkita Oliver, Creative Justice provides intensive 16-week sessions for court-involved youth to work with experienced mentor artists and produce original artwork and learn new skills.

After graduating from the program, participants have the opportunity to stay involved through the Youth Justice Leadership Board. These leaders, currently age 16 to 19, provide program input to staff and advisors, serve as peer mentors, and collaborate on creative programs that elevate the voice of youth. Through Broad participation, Creative Justice continues to provide them with opportunities for skill development and personal expression.

Support from national, local, private and public funders and individuals have made it possible for Creative Justice to move beyond a pilot program to a long-term community-based alternative to incarceration for court-involved youth. Creative Justice has received funding from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), EPIC Zero Detention Giving Project, the Seattle Foundation Resilience Fund, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, a community based IndiGoGo campaign and private donors.

Image Credits:
Nani, Youth Board Member. Photo taken by Athena, Creative Justice 2017 participant.

Image Credits:
Street Selfie by Delino, from We Still Live Here

Capitol Hill Community Post | Capitol Hill-based artist John Criscitello to show at 4Culture in September

Capitol Hill-based artist John Criscitello will exhibit In Code, a new body of work at 4Culture this September. It will feature rock stars, re-imagined album covers, and printed garments. Through the use of traditional media, video, and installation, the show builds on themes of gay identity and the fragile architecture of masculinity.

On the gallery’s storefront electronic screens, will be works by Bill Santen and Laurent Lévesque, both with a maritime focus. Bill Santen, a New York artist, will be in town to lecture at Cornish, and his film Rocko Ramdin looks at fishing culture in the Bronx. Lévesque, a Seattle artist, will screen a piece filmed on the Bering Sea. Adam’s Home frames the office window of Adam, a merchant marine.

In Code runs September 7 – 28, 2017, and Criscitello will be have limited edition T-shirts available at the opening on Thursday, September 7. 4Culture is located at 101 Prefontaine Place South, Seattle WA 98114.

More information at

Image Credits:
Softcore, 2017. Silkscreen, graphite, and crayon on paper. 22 x 30 inches.
William Santen. Rocko Ramdin, 2016. Digital still.
Laurent Levesque. Adam’s Home, 2015. Digital still.

Capitol Hill Community Post | How to get 4Culture funding for your creative project

4culture_projects_header_1504Culture, King County’s funding agency for arts and culture, is currently offering project grants to support the cultural activities in our region that make life so vibrant and interesting. The grants support projects that have the arts, heritage and preservation as their core focus. If you (or someone you know) live in King County, is at least 18 years old, and working on a project in one of these program areas, then you are eligible to apply.

Grant writing can be stressful, so 4Culture provides step-by-step guidance throughout the process. Applications are reviewed by a panel of peers working in their field of practice.

These are the grants currently on offer:

Heritage Projects grants fund outstanding exhibits, documentaries, publications and curriculum that bring King County history into focus. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, February 24 and guidelines and application are now online.

Preservation Special Projects support neighborhood surveys, landmark nominations, and assessments – important documentation necessary to keep historic landmarks beautiful. The monies also supports innovative research projects and community advocacy. The deadline to apply is also Wednesday, February 24 and guidelines and the application are online.

Art Projects grants support the work of individual artists and organizations working in all creative disciplines including music, media, dance, theater, literature and visual art. And for the first time this year, those who received an arts grant last year cannot reapply. That means 4Culture is looking for applicants who have not received funding recently.

All successful art project ideas must demonstrate public benefit.—how the project is accessible to and impacting the King County community. 4Culture will explain what that means through an artist led panel on Monday, February 22, 6:30-8:30 pm at General Assembly’s headquarters in South Lake Union, Seattle.

If you are an individual artist, work with a group of artists, or are part of an arts based organization and have a great project idea, you can get the guidelines and apply online through Wednesday, March 9.

If you have a project idea, but not sure if it is a good fit, contact a 4Culture project grant manager. Or drop in to a free, informal workshop held at the 4Culture offices and around King County.
4Culture staff will be on hand at the Kenmore Library, February 9, 12—1 pm
6531 NE 181st St, Kenmore, WA 98028.
Workshops are also held at the 4Culture offices, located at 101 Prefontaine Place South in Pioneer Square, Seattle, 98104.
– Heritage: February 11, 112—1 pm
– Arts Groups: Wednesdays, February 10, + 17, 12—1 pm
– Individual Artists: Mondays, February 22, + 29, 12—1 pm
Thursday, March 3, 5:30—6:30 pm**After this workshop, visit galleries for First Thursday Art Walk! Free parking is available at select garages.

Contact Info:
•Preservation Special Projects and Heritage Projects: Brandi Link at or 206.263.1593
•Art Projects – Individual Artists: Heather Dwyer, or 206.263.1597
•Art Projects – Groups: Doreen Mitchum, or 206.263.1605

Go to for more info.