Northwest Film Forum tabs next executive director

unnamed-1There is hope, graduating art students of 2016, that those series of unpaid internships will eventually land you a dream arts organization job and Courtney Sheehan is living proof.

Capitol Hill’s Northwest Film Forum announced Tuesday that the 27-year-old one-time college intern, who got her first full-time gig with the 12th and Pike nonprofit in 2013, has taken over as the new executive director.

“Courtney is really good at building relationships, understanding the importance of new ideas, and celebrating the kind of art that draws people together,” said NWFF board president Peter Vogt.

Sheehan’s appointment comes a year after Lyall Bush stepped down as the forum’s previous executive director. Bush, who had been involved with the forum since it opened 20 years ago, now leads the film program at Cornish College of Arts.

The NWFF stands out among film organizations in that it not only screens a wide variety of independent film, but also offers filmmaking classes, rents equipment, and funds local projects. In addition to expanding those elements, Sheehan said she is excited to program more events that mix film with performances and speakers. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Housing’s annual forum: 5 projects to ‘gearshift’ the Hill

Imagine the CHS comments section come to life. You know… a deep, well-informed conversation about the most important issues and opportunities facing Capitol Hill and the people of Central Seattle. With fewer trolls and people complaining about my tiptoes typos.

Capitol Hill Housing’s annual community forum is Thursday night, the location is Hill-convenient at E Pike’s Summit Event Space, the tickets are free and still available. The theme? Gearshift:

When people talk about “shifting gears” they often mean abruptly changing direction or the topic of conversation. This idiom is confusing. On a bicycle, shifting gears has little to do with changing direction. Rather, shifting gears on a bike is about maintaining an optimal effort for maximum efficiency. It’s about making on-the-fly adjustments to keep moving over uneven terrain without getting exhausted. Shifting gears is more appropriately a metaphor for resilience.

Some important and smart people will be there:

On May 26th, five professional urban planners and passionate community organizers will introduce these ambitious projects in a rapid-fire series of Pecha Kucha-style presentations followed by an opportunity for each guest to participate in a facilitated discussion about one of the five projects. Presenters include Sierra Hansen of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, Scott Bonjukian of Lid I-5, Alex Brennan from Capitol Hill Housing, Zachary Pullin of the Capitol Hill Community Council and Tonya Lockyer of Velocity Dance Center.  Civic leaders (City Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Mike O’Brien are confirmed) will be there to listen and respond to your comments.

This year’s forum will be a little different with multiple presentations on a set of hot topics undoubtedly culled from recent CHS archives:

The evening will feature five projects with the potential to increase the resilience of the neighborhood. The five projects:

The annual forum — CHH says this is the 9th edition — has been out in front on a variety of important initiatives and issues around the area while foreshadowing big projects to come from the city and the nonprofit developer. In 2015, the forum discussed gentrification and development in the Central District. In the year since, we’ve followed as massive projects have taken shape, more are coming, and the challenges of change have taken new forms in the community that CHH is slated to become an important new part of.

Capitol Hill Housing’s work around Capitol Hill, meanwhile, continues as the nonprofit developer of affordable housing enters its 40th year. It has been selected to be part of the Capitol Hill Station development to operate an 86-unit affordable apartment building at the site. As part of its mission to build “vibrant, engaged communities,” the 40-year-old community development corporation has frequently found itself outside the traditional role of housing developer. Through the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, CHH organized the pedestrian zone pilot project and will launch a transit pass program for tenants, and a shared parking pilot.

Gearshift: Capitol Hill Housing’s Community Forum 2016 is Thursday, May 26 starting at 5:00 PM at The Summit, 420 E Pike. Free tickets are available here.

The Egyptian, Capitol Hill’s working cinema, ready for another big role in 42nd SIFF

Capitol Hill’s Egyptian Theater — or SIFF Cinema Egyptian, as the organization behind the venue likes it to be called — is a hard worker, bringing independent and art house cinema to the neighborhood day in and day out. Starting this week, the old Masonic temple will, again, be part of the annual SIFF Seattle Independent Film Festival, this year 25 days of movies and the people who love them across the city. It’s this mix of showcase spectacle and the steady drumbeat of daily and nightly screenings and events through the year that makes the Egyptian special.

“We love the fact that we’re back at the Egyptian Theater as the operators year round,” festival director and chief curator Carl Spence tells CHS. “It’s a full circle that we’re able to save it as a cinema and keep it going as a working cinema.”

The 2016 SIFF takes the screen starting Friday, May 19th and runs through an epic schedule leading up to this year’s June 12th finale. There are the numbers: 421 films representing 85 countries: 181 features (plus 4 secret films), 75 documentaries, 8 archival films, and 153 shorts. The films include 54 World premieres (29 features, 25 shorts), 56 North American premieres (42 features, 14 shorts), and 27 US premieres (15 features, 12 shorts). And there are the stars. This year, Viggo Mortensen will be the Egyptian June 11th to follow Kevin Bacon (2015) and Laura Dern (2014) as the latest recipients of the festival’s annual Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting.

But, most importantly, there are the movies: Continue reading

Play set in Mexico and Seattle debuts in Xalapa, ready to stage on Capitol Hill

unnamed (6)A “physical theater” play set to open on Capitol Hill next week already had a bit of a warm-up run — in Xalapa, Mexico.

The RipCity Dance premiere of Seattle hits the stage here on April 29th, and 30th. The play takes place in both Mexico and Seattle — and is being toured through both.

“The play’s climax happens in Seattle, and its story is told through a time period when Seattle had an important place in the counterculture and in art and music, expressing messages about how to do things differently in the world,” Steven Ripley, the founder of RipCity Dance, tells CHS. “We use music from Seattle bands – Nirvana and Pearl Jam.”

Ripley’s vision for his one-year-old company comes from producing plays, workshops, and dance classes.

“We’ve used hip-hop, breakdance, groovy modern improv, gigong — the intention is to break the usual mold of what a dance class is, and to create a new type of community experience for families to share,” Ripley said.

Written by Adrian Vazquez of Los Tristes Tigres, and in partnership with Ethnofit Studio of Mexico City, Seattle is performed by Nancy Lopez Luna and Elia Mrak.

Each performance will be accompanied by an after-show discussion.

“Adrian’s play tells an astonishing story about the spontaneity of life and the creation of what we call destiny,” Ripley tells CHS. “Our lives are chaotic, with earthquakes and hurricanes and family traumas.  We don’t often have a grand sense of things.”

Tickets are on sale for the Friday, April 29th and Saturday, April 30th, performances at the Erickson Theater on Capitol Hill.

V2’s promising start as Value Village art space could be a blueprint for other empty buildings

Resident Kate Wallich holds a rehearsal for Industrial Ballet inside V2. (Image: Kate Wallich via Instagram)

Resident Kate Wallich holds a rehearsal for Industrial Ballet inside V2. (Image: Kate Wallich via Instagram)

It’s only been a month since Velocity Dance Center officially opened the V2 “temporary arts space” in the old Value Village building on 11th Ave, and the new residents have already churned out an impressive display of creativity.

“It’s exciting what’s already happened,” said Tonya Lockyer, Velocity’s artistic director and former executive director. “And only more is in store.”

Since Value Village departed from the auto row-era Kelly-Springfield Motor Truck Company building on 11th and E Pine last year, Legacy Commercial’s plans for a mixed-use development on the site have been significantly slowed due to a landmark protections decision. While the project gets sorted out, the 12th Ave dance studio signed a six-month, below market-rate lease with Legacy in February and opened V2 in early March.

V1 of the V2 space when it was still Macklemore's thrift shop. (Image: CHS)

V1 of the V2 space when it was still Macklemore’s thrift shop. (Image: CHS)

Initiated by the Capitol Hill Arts District, and propped up by a $20,000 grant from the city’s Office of Arts and Culture, the 30,000-square-foot space is being put to use for dance performance, offices, rental studios, and storage. It is also home to the event company One Reel, which will be staging its Bumbershoot operations out of V2 this year.

Lockyer says it’s been a “fast turn around” to get V2 up and running and there is still a lot of work to be done, including painting the walls and getting city permits for public events. Even so, Velocity has already hosted visual artists, dancers, and choreographers through their in-house residency program, which allows residents to work out of V2 for free or at highly subsidized rents.

Residents have included local dance choreographer Kate Wallich, who recently sold-out Seattle’s Moore Theatre with her one-time show Industrial Ballet — Velocity’s largest production to date. Dance choreographer Alice Gostia worked in the space as she gears up for of a large production at the Seattle waterfront this summer and Seattle-based drag queen and dancer Cherdonna Shinatra collaborated with local street artist 179 to do a mural in V2. Continue reading

Say goodbye to Hugo House’s old Capitol Hill home with party where you can write on its walls

Your 2016 calendar is filling up but make sure to leave a mark for the going away party for an old friend. Hugo House has announced details of its May 7th Epilogue/Prologue party:

It’s the end of one story and the beginning of another. Come to the last party at the current Hugo House to celebrate your time here and look toward the future. We have plenty in store for you.

Have a beer or wine on us (if you RSVP below)
See mock-ups of the new building
Browse through a gallery of photos from great times at Hugo House (since 1997)
Snag food from a food truck
Meet new people and spend time with old friends
Confess your Hugo House stories in a confession booth
Take photos with friends in our writerly photobooth
And, best, of all:Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 10.39.59 AM

No, this isn’t a cliché—we actually want you to write your poems and stories and anything you want on almost every wall of Hugo House. Then we’ll send you an ebook of excerpts from the wall and photos from the night.

You can learn more and RSVP here.

In January, CHS reported on Hugo House’s plans for an interim home on First Hill before its 2018 return to 10th Ave in its new mixed-use home. The old Hugo House will be demolished later his year to make way for a new six-story, apartment development that will include a new 10,000 square-foot writing center. More than 100 years old, the one time Manning’s Funeral Parlor was deemed unworthy of landmark status in 2013.

Meanwhile, V2, a new creative arts space and facility is busy making over the old Value Village building before its planned development in 2017.

Dinged $2K for unauthorized mural, Capitol Hill’s Studio Paradiso raising funds

(Image: Studio Paradiso)

(Image: Studio Paradiso)

You can help a Capitol Hill arts space stay afloat after its landlord nailed the little studio for an unauthorized mural.

Studio Paradiso is already at more than 80% of its fundraising goal thanks to a rush of small donations over the past week:

My name is Wyatt Landis and I run a small, independent art school and gallery in Capitol Hill called Studio Paradiso. A big misunderstanding with the landlord resulted in a $2000 fine, which if not paid in full by March 31st, it will cause the studio to close.

The problem has to do with a large graffiti mural designed and painted by a famous Seattle Graffiti artist that was supposed to bring more attention to the studio and act as a deterrent to the constant tagging to the building. The corner of Madison and 10th has had a continuous problem with vagrancy, theft and littering. By adding a piece of art to the façade we hoped to improve both the safety and the overall appearance to the location (nearby business loved it!).

The landlord did not approve and had it repainted and gave me a $2000 fine that I have no means of paying. I am asking you to help me keep Studio Paradiso alive.

Studio Paradiso owner Wyatt Landis says the space is about to celebrate its third anniversary and “currently hold a variety of drawing and painting classes twice a week.”

The studio, above a longtime drycleaning space, is part of a 1959-built two-story building owned by a family trust.

You can learn more and give here.

 

 

5th annual APRIL litfest brings expanded events to new Capitol Hill venues

Capitol Hill’s scrappy, all volunteer run literary festival has been an undeniable success among Seattle’s most ardent indie book lovers. As it enters its fifth year, APRIL Festival organizers are now charting course to expand its weeklong slate of events and meet a growing demand for tickets.

“We’re kind of in this awkward growth phase now,” said Francs Chiem, one of the organizers of the festival that spans multiple venues around Capitol Hill. “We’ve been around long enough to show we know what we’re doing.”

The annual festival of Authors, Publishers and Readers of Independent Literature kicks off Tuesday with an opening party at The Pine Box. Continue reading

CHS Pics | The creation of Lovecitylove’s new Capitol Hill home

Lovecitylove’s newest location used to be home to Royal’s Cleaners. After completely gutting a vast majority of the building, including three layers of floor and a ceiling, the group still had a long list of renovations and repairs to make. (Images and words: Seth Halloran)

Lovecitylove’s newest location used to be home to Royal’s Cleaners. After completely gutting a vast majority of the building, including three layers of floor and a ceiling, the group still had a long list of renovations and repairs to make. (Images and words: Seth Halleran)

Zach Self sweeps away dust and dirt left from sanding the floor and pulling wood from the wall to this right, Wednesday Jan. 27th, 2016. Self is one of the core leaders of Lovecitylove and the only one amongst them with carpentry experience. Other members have been simply learning as they go along in renovating each space.

Zach Self sweeps away dust and dirt left from sanding the floor and pulling wood from the wall to this right, Wednesday Jan. 27th, 2016. Self is one of the core leaders of Lovecitylove and the only one amongst them with carpentry experience. Other members have been simply learning as they go along in renovating each space.

Since October, a group of talented artists and collaborators have been working to renovate and reopen the Royal Cleaners shop on Capitol Hill’s E Pike. This new space will be the fifth location for Lovecitylove, a Seattle based project that aims to encourage openness in the local arts community and provide a place for collaboration amongst local artists.

Lovecitylove has worked for three and a half years as a popup art space that finds its homes in closed business spaces. The core members of the group then work to redesign the space for hosting art shows, film screenings, and studio use. By collecting rental fees for use of the space, Lovecitylove is able to pay for the rent of the locations they’ve used. Their newest location at 1406 E Pike in the heart of Capitol Hill will be celebrating its grand opening with the group’s locally famous Open Mic Wednesdays.

LOVECITYLOVE X WEDNESDAYS
March 9th 8-11 PM
1406 E Pike
After months of work the new space is now ready to open !!! What was a dry cleaners not too long ago is now a …. Wait ends this WEDNESDAY // 5th edition of LOVECITYLOVE Bring Yourself : Bring Family : Bring Friends : Bring Seattle 1406 E. Pike Street (Royal Dry Cleaners) // $7-$10 // Doors @ 8

You can learn more at lovecity.love.

Lucien Pellegrin (left) and Jessica Carter (right) discusses how they could design creative lighting installations in the space, Wednesday Jan. 27th, 2016. Pellegrin conceived of Lovecitylove when he decided to slip a hand-written note under the door of a closed retail space next to the old Bauhaus location on Melrose Avenue. Pellegrin says with Lovecitylove he wants to “push the envelope a little bit, get Seattle to step up its creative spaces.”

Lucien Pellegrin (left) and Jessa Carter (right) discusses how they could design creative lighting installations in the space, Wednesday Jan. 27th, 2016. Pellegrin conceived of Lovecitylove when he decided to slip a hand-written note under the door of a closed retail space next to the old Bauhaus location on Melrose Avenue. Pellegrin says with Lovecitylove he wants to “push the envelope a little bit, get Seattle to step up its creative spaces.”

Continue reading

Seattle announces $1.8M for arts groups

Framed Art(s) in Seattle

Every two years, the Office of Arts and Culture provides nearly $2 million in funding to Seattle arts groups as part of the Civic Partners program. Mayor Ed Murray announced the 2016/2017 recipients this week including several Capitol Hill-based organizations that will share in some $1.8 million in funding.

“The City knows that arts and culture thrive when you have a diverse and multicultural array of arts organizations,” Murray said in the announcement of the new grants. “Today’s announcement is a significant investment in our support of diversity in the arts. A healthy, equitable arts ecology is one where many organizations, such as the Seattle Symphony, Northwest African Art Museum, Seattle Repertory Theater, Path with Art, Spectrum Dance Theatre, The Wing Luke Memorial Foundation and Youth in Focus thrive and provide a wide variety of resources for our community.”

The new Civic Partners awardees completed a Racial Equity Assessment for the program aimed at “evaluating and supporting efforts to address racial and cultural barriers to success.”

In the last funding cycle started in 2014, the program awarded $1.7 million to 167 Seattle-based organizations. Nearly 43% of the funded projects either involved artists of color or served communities of color at some level, the city says.

We reported here in 2015 about Civic Partners as well as a total $2.45 million available to Seattle arts groups.

The 2016/2017 Hill-connected Civic Partners include the tiny — APRIL Festival at $938 — and the less so — soon to be 11th Ave resident One Reel gets $24,715. Additionally, 12th Ave-headquartered Artists Trust was again selected as a community partner and will receive $10,000 in funding. The Capitol Hill organization dedicated to providing funding and professional development to artists across the state is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2016. Community partners are “arts service organizations that serve and enhance the capacity of artists and arts groups.”

You can view the full 2016/2017 Civic Partners roster here.