New Spacefinder helps *find* *space* for arts… and more around Capitol Hill (Plus, we found Caps for Slats)

Looking for a space you can rent by the hour on Capitol Hill? Here's a start

Looking for a space you can rent by the hour on Capitol Hill? Here’s a start

One of the big challenges for creating a thriving Capitol Hill Arts District? Finding spaces to meet, work, and perform that are accessible to artists and community groups. The Seattle Office of Arts and Culture has rolled out a new tool to help. Spacefinder Seattle is “a database that will eventually include every rental space in the region that’s available to artists, and arts and cultural organizations” —

The site’s database includes presentation spaces, such as theaters, galleries, cinemas, and museums, and the relatively invisible artists’ creative spaces, such as studios, rehearsal rooms, and offices. There will be event spaces, meetings spaces, and even raw retail and warehouse spaces for lease. The site is launching with approximately 200 spaces, and will grow over time. Spacefinder Seattle allows artists to search the database by dozens of variables, including price and availability. There are no fees associated with using the site, which is underwritten by the City’s Office of Arts & Culture. It is envisioned as a tool to connect artists and arts organizations to available spaces for development, rehearsal, or presentation of their work, and encourage the regional artspace marketplace.

10661931_10154826244120008_6929457198356361607_oYou can check out the listings at The office is also working to promote “the economic activity generated by arts and cultural activities, and educates citizens, property owners, and developers on the importance of the arts to property values and neighborhood character,” an announcement of the new tool reads.

One venue not on the Spacefinder map is CHS advertiser the Comet Tavern but that’s where we found a piece of “lost” Capitol Hill art. Turns out, Caps for Slats, the bottle cap mural of the Pike/Pine character, found a home inside the E Pike bar. Last year, we reported on the mostly organic plans for many of the pieces found on the Sound Transit “Big Red” construction wall once the barrier starts coming down. A Sound Transit spokesperson tells CHS the wall art belongs to the artists. “In Slats case, Cameron Larson, the artist, no longer lives in the area and didn’t have a way to move it,” the spokesperson said. “We made sure he was OK with it going to The Comet when that came up as an option.” Comet co-owner Dave Meinert said he was “psyched” to be approached about the piece. “Slats was a regular,” he said.

“It’s another bit of local history in what’s becoming the local historical tavern,” Meinert said.


With a Valentine’s gift for Monsoon, this artist is covering the walls of Capitol Hill food+drink


Randolph at work (Images: CHS)

Randolph at work (Images: CHS)

DSC_0896By Janelle Retka – UW News Lab/Special for CHS

A Capitol Hill artist has quietly made her mark inside bars and restaurants across the neighborhood. And she is already finishing her next piece, ready to claim yet another Capitol Hill food and drink wall.

The novel technique and artistic exploration of Tina Randolph’s murals have placed her in high demand as bars and restaurants around Capitol Hill commission her work.

“It doesn’t matter if we have to build a mural 30-feet tall,” Michael Klebeck said. “We’ll do it to include Tina.” Continue reading

Paintings from Capitol Hill nightlife owner colored with creativity, sobriety

(Image: CHS)

Portrait of the artist as a Pike/Pine club owner (Image: CHS)


After spending the better part of 20 years putting on music shows, including the biggest annual show on Capitol Hill, Jason Lajeunesse will be stepping into some new territory on Thursday. This month marks three years since the prolific Capitol Hill food and nightlife owner chose to live sober, and he’s commemorating the occasion with a show of original paintings.

ECHOES: Paintings by Jason Lajeunesse will premier Thursday at Ghost Gallery in conjunction with February’s Capitol Hill Art Walk. An artist reception will run from 5 PM to 9 PM at the E Olive and Summit space and the pieces will remain on display and on sale through March 9th.

Lajeunesse’s abstract, mixed-media art span two years of work, including one piece he finished just this week. Inspiration for the paintings began in 2012 when a newly sober Lajeunesse took a trip to Europe to rekindle his connection to visual art. “I wanted life to be bigger,” he said. Continue reading

Experiment on your lovesick heart, keep Capitol Hill’s art pulse beating at the Heartbreak Science Fair

(Images: Josh Kelety for CHS)

(Images: Josh Kelety for CHS)

logoThe In NW Arts collective has organized a show exploring the suffering and sorrow of lost love from a more creative and scientific-al perspective. Open on Thursday February 11th and Saturday the 14th, Valentine’s day, the two-part exposé of local Seattle art is dubbed the Heartbreak Science Fair.

Curator and one of the 30 artists who live at the 17th and Olive collective, Krista Wolfe is curating the show, and has been collaborating with her housemates and other artists in the community for the past few months to put on an event of “some beautiful, fun, weird, strange things” from both the tenants of the collective and contributions from other local artists. The event posting describes the show series as an “opportunity to explore ‘heartbreak’ from the perspective of ‘science fair.'”DSC_9107

The plan for the free event includes DJs spinning live beats, paintings, installations, one-on-one sound experiences with Khaz, the “sound guy,” video projections, music, a poetry reading, and “potion tea” inside the labyrinth-like collective located at the corner of 17th at Olive near Trader Joe’s. A kissing booth awash in video projections is in the works too, according to Wolfe. There will be opportunities to buy local art at reasonable prices. Bring cash. Continue reading

Former Gage art student gives school $1 million gift as it plans for new home

8446828488_a0127d8b59_oNorth Capitol Hill’s Gage Academy of Art has received a $1 million gift, marking the school’s first-ever major endowment contribution. The gift was announced in conjunction with the kickoff of the school’s 25th anniversary of providing fine arts education, first in New York City and now at its 10th and E Galer campus.

According to a media release, Gage will have a considerable amount of flexibility in choosing how to use the endowment. The gift will ultimately give the school some financial footing as it seeks a new home. According to the release, the academy has outgrown its Capitol Hill location and is planning to relocate sometime in the next five years

Gage announced the gift from former student and trustee Anne Steele on Thursday at AXIS Gallery in Pioneer Square. In a statement, Steele said she was inspired by the range of ages, talents, and backgrounds Gage caters to.

“Art has always been an important part of my life, and I’ve seen firsthand the kind of transformational and creative impact that a passionate instructor and a deeply engaged arts community has on the trajectory of an individual,” she said.

Gage’s current home at 1501 10th Ave E is adjacent St. Mark’s and was purchased by the parish from Cornish College of the Arts in 2003 for $8.3 million, according to King County Records.

While the Gage campus lies outside the hub of most Capitol Hill arts activity, the school maintains a busy schedule of events, shows, and open galleries.

Seattle City of Literature will have center on First Hill

8445863019_336acfdb40Seattle’s quest to become an International “City of Literature” will have a home on First Hill.

The Sorrento Hotel announced Wednesday that a new “book-filled conference room at the hotel, where readers and writers can work, meet, and learn more about the UNESCO Creative Cities network” is part of the project underway to overhaul the 105-year-old landmark.

“Cultural tourism is a major tenet of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, and the Sorrento understands the impact cultural tourism can make, both here and abroad,” Seattle City of Literature director Ryan Boudinot is quoted as saying in the announcement. “For those who love books and writing, in Seattle and beyond, this is going to be a destination unlike any other.”

CHS reported last fall on the “Pike/Pine-style” makeover for the Sorrento with a new management company, overhauls of The Hunt Room restaurant and Fireside Room lounge, and a new look for the hotel’s Madison-facing courtyard. You’ll also soon see a giant mural on the hotels parking garage.

The Seattle City of Literature initiative seeks to include the city’s writers and literary history in the United Nations’ Creative Cities program. According to the announcement, Seattle City of Literature will organize readings, conferences, book clubs, festivals, and more at the hotel. The new meeting space is scheduled to open by spring.

In the meantime, a longtime favorite Sorrento event for lovers of literature won’t be taking place this month. January’s Silent Reading Party has been canceled, organizer and Stranger editor in chief Christopher Frizzelle announced, citing the work underway to update the Fireside Room. “I am sad to say they’re getting rid of that carpet. I love that carpet. I really wish they wouldn’t get rid of it,” he writes. “But seasons change, carpets change… Happily, the new management is not getting rid of the silent-reading party.”

CHS Pics | Slummit Block Party, LLC

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

IMG_6877Last week, CHS reported that the artist enclave Summit Inn had been sold to a developer with plans to transform the Inn “into conventional apartments” with a total overhaul and inevitably higher rents.

Saturday night, some of the Inn’s remaining residents and other Summit Ave neighbors got together for a winter edition of the block’s annual music festival. Here are a few scenes from this weekend’s Slummit Block Party, LLC.

Meanwhile, the Summit Inn’s new owner Brad Padden‘s plan — “Substantial Alterations to an existing 40-unit apartment building. Renovate all units and decrease unit count to 35 small efficiency dwelling units” — is wending its way through the Department of Planning and Development.

Capitol Hill nonprofit has one question for you: ‘What would you most like to see in the new Hugo House?’

download (4)Last fall, CHS reported that Capitol Hill nonprofit Hugo House had begun work on a plan to build a new center as part of a mixed-use development at the site of its 11th Ave home. The literary arts organization is asking for community feedback on what shape its new venue should take with an online survey and Monday night community forum:

Hugo House is going to have a new home! Come help us dream up an even more dynamic center for writing and reading and listening.

What do you most wish to see in the new Hugo House—whether it’s something you hope we continue to have, a practical addition, or a wild wish for something new? We wouldn’t dream of making decisions about our new facility without you: the teachers, the students, the event attendees—the writers. This forum will give you a chance to tell us what would make the new house a home.

We’d love to see you there—and please invite anyone on your friends list who you think might be invested in the future of the House.

The “community conversation” starts at 6 PM at Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave.

You can also add your voice via this one-question survey:

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 11.03.45 AM

Note: You’ll have to enter at least five characters so F-U-N won’t count. We always preferred essay questions over multiple choice, too.

One group is already rallying to ask for Hugo House to include a performance venue in its plans:

Right now, the building is home to an 1800 square foot black box with fixed seating for 87, theatrical lighting grid and built-in sound system – this stage has been a place for local Seattle playwrights to debut the bold new work being produced in our city, and to lose it would be a serious setback in transforming Capitol Hill into the arts district it strives to be.

In the announcement of the new development project last fall, Hugo House and the longtime property owners of the more than 100-year-old building said they were working with a developer to determine “the exact mix of uses as part of the design and permitting process.” The announcement notes the property owners have “generously supported all facility costs, including rent” for Hugo House throughout its history.

Our Town — with ‘celebrity guest’ Professor Willards — takes the stage at 12th Ave Arts

1471280_10152667908066270_4908311122070856656_nLast week, CHS took you behind the scenes as the stages at 12th Ave Arts — the affordable housing + office + restaurants + theater + SPD parking development from Capitol Hill Housing — started to go into motion for the first time with Washington Ensemble Theatre’s debut of Sprawl.

This week, a second resident company will take the stage at 12th Ave Arts for the first time as Strawberry Theatre Workshop presents the classic Our Town:

Thornton Wilder—who begins Our Town with the direction, “No curtain. No scenery.”—might have been thrilled to stage his Pulitzer Prize winning play in a space where theatre had never been created before. His play pioneered a form of expressionism that demanded an audience collaborate in the creation of the story without the aid of production elements of any kind.

When Strawberry Theatre Workshop Artistic Director Greg Carter walked into the unfinished performance space at 12th Ave Arts on Capitol Hill, he decided that Wilder was uniquely suitable to welcome the neighborhood into a new venue.  “The idea of this production is that 12th Ave Arts is not a theatre until we make it one.”

Our Town by Thornton Wilder
Performance Dates: Jan 22-Feb 21
Performance Times: Thu-Fri-Sat at 7:30pm, Sun at 2:00pm
No Performance Sun Feb-1 (Super Bowl Sunday) or Sun Feb-22
Venue: 12th Ave Arts
Address: 1620 12th Ave, Seattle 98122
Ticket Prices: $36 General, $27 Seniors, $18 Students
Phone Sales: 1-800-838-3006
Online Sales:

Strawshop says it is lining up celebrity guests to walk-on in the role of Professor Willard in Act 1 of each performance: “The walk-on opportunity is a gesture to the community in this celebration of civic life, and to thank the neighborhood for its support of 12th Ave Arts.” You can learn more at

It’s time to put the arts in 12th Ave Arts as new Capitol Hill stages come to life

The Sprawl set gets some paint inside 12th Ave Arts (Image: WET)

The Sprawl set gets some paint inside 12th Ave Arts (Image: WET)

The lights are up, the seats are set, and production managers are geeking out over new equipment. The inaugural season of theater at 12th Avenue Arts is ready to commence.

12th Ave’s three resident theater groups have been settling into their two black box spaces since the lights went on in November at the Capitol Hill Housing arts and affordable apartments complex. Strawberry Theatre Workshop, Washington Ensemble Theatre, and New Century Theatre Company have solidified their first slate of plays, which kick off next week. Continue reading

Silhouette Artist Kerry Cook

Silhouette Artist to Visit Bootyland. Kerry Cook is one of the top silhouette artists in the country. She was featured on King 5, Evening Magazine, Kerry cuts paper in the traditional way, freehand, using only a pair of scissors — no drawing, tracing, or projecting. Known for her good likenesses and fine attention to detail, she can create a charming, heirloom-quality silhouette of any age child, infant or adult. It takes just a couple of minutes.

A paper silhouette is an original work of art with all the elegance, grace, and romance of a by-gone era.

Appointments now being taken at Bootyland. Sign up today!

For more information, visit the artist’s website at:

There’s a better use for this: The marquee lights up at 12th Ave Arts

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

IMG_0916UPDATE: With speeches from a stage full of the movers and shakers who made the project happen, artists, and city and state officials, 12th Ave Arts opened its doors Thursday night.

Calling the project a new “center of community life” for Capitol Hill, Capitol Hill Housing CEO Chris Persons thanked the more than 200 capital donors who made the project possible and made way for a long roster of speakers there to introduce the project to the neighborhood. Rep. Frank Chopp got the audience on its feet to applaud “the Seattle spirit” and christened the largest of the two theater spaces in the facility with its first performance — his reading of the James Oppenheim poem Bread and Roses. The dignitaries even threw a few lines to the theater folk. Strawberry Workshop’s Greg Carter said he was ready to get to work in a building emblematic of Capitol Hill — a neighborhood with an environment open to creating “things that don’t make sense.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill Arts District gets to work with promotion now, development incentives later

Council finance and culture chair Nick Licata at Saturday's ceremony (Images: CHS)

Council finance and culture chair Nick Licata at Saturday’s ceremony (Images: CHS)

The Capitol Hill Arts District was launched Saturday. It has plenty of work to do.

“There’s a chance that half of these artists, myself included, won’t be able to live here in five years,” says Amanda Manitach. She’s standing beside fellow artist Jesse Higman inside Hugo House, amid 11 fresh-baked artistic renditions of a day in the life of Capitol Hill: sketches, video, poems.

Manitach says she knows one artist who’s already considering homelessness in order to remain on the Hill. “It kill[s] me,” she says. “This guy has a job. In my opinion he makes some of the most thoughtfully political and aesthetically poignant art in the region.”

With property values and rents skyrocketing in the country’s fastest-growing big city, Manitach isn’t alone in her fear that development on Capitol Hill will wash away all the interesting poor people who made it desirable in the first place, transforming a countercultural gayborhood into a wasteland of luxury apartments and trite party bars.



But there’s some good news. The City Council is ready to vote Monday afternoon to christen Capitol Hill as Seattle’s first bona fide Arts District. The Office of Arts and Culture describes the district as “an attempt to bring cohesion” to the “constellation of arts organizations” splattered around E Pine and 12th Ave via a combination of community organizing, public advertising, and zoning incentives that will hopefully prompt developers to provision for the creation, and creators, of art. Continue reading

Reminder: Capitol Hill Arts District launch

Cap_Hill__Arts__District-logo3… 2… 1… liftoff. It’s not quite as exciting as landing on the Comet a comet, but city officials, artists, and the people who love them will be at Hugo House Saturday to celebrate. Saturday marks the launch of the new Capitol Hill Arts and Cultural District, a campaign to promote the arts, artists, and art venues in the neighborhood. CHS wrote here about the program and its long road to existence. On Saturday, you can join the party and head out to open houses around the area:

Capitol Hill Arts District Celebration

Capitol Hill Arts District Launch
Hugo House 1634 11th Ave
Doors open at 11 am
Speaking program at 11:30 am
Hear from Mayor Ed Murray; Councilmember Nick Licata; Office of Arts & Culture director, Randy Engstrom; Capitol Hill Housing Foundation Director, Michael Seiwerath and artist Amanda Manitach. A new group artwork curated by Amanda Manitach, demonstrating the vitality and vibrancy of Capitol Hill, will also be unveiled.

After the program, many Capitol Hill culture locations will host open houses in the early afternoon.

Henna Night

Learn and Practice the Art of Henna while supporting a great cause! The Youth Tutoring Program, a program of Catholic Community Services, is an after school tutoring and mentoring program for at-risk youth in grades 1-12. Most of the youth served are resettled refugees or immigrants, primarily from East Africa. Join supporters of YTP at a fun night at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on December 6th from 6:15-9pm, learning about the history of henna from Seattle henna artist Kree Arvanitas, and receive a henna design of your choice before leaving! Guests will also enjoy East African music and food. Please register at: For more information, contact Bridget Guerrero at (206) 328-5970, or