ARTvocacy Refugee Art Exhibit

On Friday, June 19th, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Seattle will host the 10th Annual ARTvocacy Event, in recognition of World Refugee Day.
ARTvocacy will provide the public with an opportunity to learn more about refugee issues and experiences, while also celebrating the artistic talents and accomplishments of local refugee communities. This year’s artists come from diverse countries around the globe, including Bhutan, Bosnia, Burma, Iraq, and Vietnam.
For the fourth year in a row, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will join the celebration and naturalize 10 new citizens who arrived in the United States as refugees. IRC Voice and “The Walking Dead” actress Sarah Wayne Callies will attend as our special guest.
Light appetizers and beverages will be provided; suggested $15 donation at the door.

Three Capitol Hill-area venues among first to sign Seattle Fair Trade Music pledge

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Projections on A Wall plays Chop Suey’s re-opening in March (Image: CHS)

This decal coming to a venue near you soon.

This decal coming to a venue near you soon.

Talk to any working musician, and they’re bound to have at least one story about a nightmare gig caused by an unscrupulously run venue.

Paul Bigman has heard plenty of them as an organizer with the American Federation of Musicians Local 76-493. There was the bouncer who walked away with band’s share of the door and the metal venue that insisted local openers had to let touring acts use their instruments.

To help bring some uniformity and transparency to the way venues treat performers, musicians and organizers have brought the Portland-originated Fair Trade Music campaign to Seattle. Two Capitol Hill venues and one First Hill venue have signed the Fair Trade Music pledge since the effort launched in April: Chop Suey, Capitol Cider, and Vios Vito’s .

“Having everything on the table to see where everything is going is really important,” said Chop Suey owner and musician Brianna Rettig. “It’s good to know that if you’re supporting a music venue, it’s a place that’s being fair to the musicians.”

Bigman said the 21 venues that have signed on represent businesses musicians identified as the most exemplary. Neumos and most other Capitol Hill venues have yet to be approached about the pledge, Bigman said, but organizers are preparing to sign up more venues in the coming months along with a public awareness campaign.

As its name would suggest, the FTM pledge is akin to fair trade labeling in foods. Participating venues will get decals to put in their windows to show they’ve signed the pledge, which includes four major tenants:

  • Provide musicians with a written agreement that lays out the terms of payment
  • Provide musicians with a record of how many tickets were sold and how much money was made
  • Have a decent sound system and capable sound tech
  • If there are disagreements, venue owners agree to work with Fair Trade Music Seattle to resolve disputes

The pledge makes no stipulations about minimum pay as musicians and venues often agree on a wide range of “fair pay” agreements, Bigman said. However, its something that could be added down the road.

“A lot of clubs are owned by musicians, and they don’t want to mistreat musicians, they’re just not business people,” Bigman said. Continue reading

Creative Blueprint artist work studios coming to Pike/Pine

11060845_725808247539881_4842954540878777262_n 2147012275_20110629_230345By way of Toronto, Capitol Hill is about to get a new space for artists and entrepreneurs to create.

Creative Blueprint, a gallery and artist work space concept with Canadian roots, is making plans to open its doors to the Capitol Hill creative class in a 5,000 square-foot subterranean space on Boylston Ave just around the corner from Pine.

“It’s an expansion of the vision and the project,” Creative Blueprint’s Ashley Proctor tells CHS.

The affordable and flexible studio spaces will be operated in conjunction with Capitol Hill coworking concern Office Nomads which in 2012 doubled its size by taking over both the ground and second level of the old Heath Printers building above Creative Blueprint’s new basement space.

CHS is a longtime Office Nomads member.

Proctor says she started Creative Blueprint in Toronto nearly a decade ago to solve a problem familiar to many Capitol Hill artists finding it increasingly difficult to find affordable work space. Proctor says that in Toronto she started the original Creative Blueprint in an affordable area of the city only to see that area develop and rents push higher. Creative Blueprint moved, then, gain, development came. It’s a cycle Proctor said happened quickly enough in Toronto that she was able to learn how to deal with it. Eventually, she said, she was able to purchase the building where Creative Blueprint now lives. Her Toronto operation in The Foundery building also includes a coworking business that she also operates.

In Seattle, Proctor is working with Office Nomads founders Jacob Sayles and Susan Dorsch.

“It seems so easy to run one company instead of two,” she said.

Proctor tells CHS that the success of Office Nomads helped convince the building’s owners that a shared art space was a viable tenant for their investment. Proctor said that having the support of the new Capitol Hill Arts District was also key as Cultural Space Liaison Matthew Richter wrote a letter to the building owners on Creative Blueprint’s behalf.

As she works this summer to open the new space, Proctor is also meeting with artists and coworkers to find out more about the needs of the Capitol Hill community.

Proctor said that it doesn’t necessarily require artists owning a building to preserve and protect art space in a neighborhood.

“Making sure that property owners and landlords understand the value can also work,” she said.

Still, Proctor said that, eventually, purchasing a building to secure homes for Creative Blueprint and Office Nomads could be part of the plans.

Creative Blueprint will be located at 1617 Boylston Ave’s lower level. Proctor said pricing and membership plan structures will be similar to how she has set up her Foundry coworking space. You can learn more at facebook.com/CreativeBlueprintSeattle/.

20 years of independence at Capitol Hill’s Northwest Film Forum comes as director plans exit

Lyall Bush at the forum's 20th anniversary gala (Image: Elisa Huerta-Enochian with permission to CHS)

Lyall Bush at the NWFF’s 20th anniversary gala. He’s stepping down as director of the nonprofit in September.  (Image: Elisa Huerta-Enochian with permission to CHS)

For 20 years, the Northwest Film Forum has gathered people on Capitol Hill around a common love of making, watching, and learning about independent film and executive director Lyall Bush has been there from the beginning. After watching the NWFF grow from a small film equipment collective into an invaluable arts asset for the city and seven years of steering the ship, Bush is now planning an exit for a new director to make their mark.

Bush announced on Thursday he would be stepping down from his post this September.

“You take stock, at that point, and ask what you want to be doing, and in a sense our 20th anniversary is a good chance for the organization to hit the refresh button (so to speak) as well,” Bush told CHS in an email. “It’s a chance for the whole operation to write a new strategic plan, craft new vision, and keep independent filmmaking going for another couple of decades.”

Bush’s announcement came on the same day that writer, director, and NWFF board member Megan Griffiths was announced as the recipient of the 10th annual Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film. Griffiths’ latest film, Lucky Them, featured scenes filmed in the heart of Capitol Hill in 2013.

Even as the city’s biggest force in film seems rejuvenated and as vital as ever on Capitol Hill with its 41st annual festival kicking off here and around Seattle this week, there are no guarantees of sustainability for smaller champions of film arts.

Continue reading

OK… one* more nostalgic CHS post… Art Invasion marks doomed 12/John house, Hill’s still-kicking arts scene

IMG_6385(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Thursday night — and for that night only — artists from around Capitol Hill and Seattle “invaded” a doomed house on the corner of John and 12th with art to showcase the vitality of the neighborhood’s longstanding independent arts scene and highlight the departure of yet another niche of the Hill’s creativity due to displacement.

The renegade art show, dubbed the Capitol Hill Art Invasion was organized by a longtime tenant of the 1920’s-era three-story labyrinth of a home; local artist Damien Puggelli in collaboration with members of a recently created local arts community building collective; Space 4 Art, many of whom are also Capitol Hill residents.

Puggelli, who has been living in a shed turned garage adjacent to the house since 2003, learned back in november of last year that the property is being sold by its joint owners to a developer who plans to demolish the pre-existing home to build high density apartments. Two adjacent and dilapidated properties on 12th Ave are also being leveled by the same company for similar purposes, according to Puggelli.

“I’m slightly heartbroken about this space,” said Puggelli. “What can you do?”

Puggelli says he has yet to receive an eviction notice, but was pre-empting his eventual and the relocation of other similarly displaced artists around the Hill with last night’s show.

Though Puggelli has been the only long-term resident, the house has provided studios and workspaces for numerous artists over the years such as K.D. Schill, a Seattle costume designer.

The idea for the invasion was hatched several months prior by Puggelli and collaborators, who wished to convey not only a “farewell” to the neighborhood but also the vibrancy and necessity of Capitol Hill’s independent arts scene, which they feel is being bulldozed — both literally and figuratively — by gentrifying forces. Continue reading

CHS Crow | APRIL Festival edition — Wendy and Søren

Wednesday, APRIL did its best to summon the spirit of Alice B. Toklas from the walls of the Sorrento along with Rebecca Brown, Joshua Beckman, Jan Wallace and “musical accompaniment.” (Images: Alex Garland)

APRIL Festival 2015 has been keeping the literature calendar packed with unconventional events for most of the last week and it all wraps up today with the grand finale — APRIL’s annual small press book expo:

Sunday, March 29
APRIL BOOK EXPO
Hugo House, 11 am – 5 pm
Our annual book fair, featuring more than 40 small presses from around the country.

Thursday night, the CHS Crow stopped by the independent literature festival’s annual collaboration with art gallery Vignettes — hosted at an offsite location this year — and chatted with poet Wendy Xu and artist Søren Nilsson. What read as a playfully deconstructive video by Nilsson was one of the eight works responding to Xu’s book You Are Not Dead that made up the exhibition. Works by Ripple Fang, Susanna Bluhm, Max Cleary, Francesca Lohmann, Klara Glosova, Aidan Fitzgerald and Paul Komada were also featured. Check it out. Continue reading

Lowell Elementary School’s Big Event

April 2 is the Big Event – Lowell’s big auction/fundraiser for the year! This year features an art theme so you can expect to find some amazing art (featuring renowned Pacific NW artists) for live auction and lots of arts related silent auction items. We encourage you to invite your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers. This will be a fun, art-filled event. Tickets on sale now for $35 (they will go up to $50 on March 27.) Purchase at https://lowellbigevent.eventbrite.com. Ticket price covers food and wine.

attn: remaining Capitol Hill artists — $2.45M in Seattle arts and culture grants

The set of The Flick as viewed from the catwalk inside 12th Ave Arts (Image: New Century Theater via Facebook)

The set of The Flick as viewed from the catwalk inside 12th Ave Arts (Image: New Century Theatre Company via Facebook)

It’s nice to think about creating new things to build up the city’s first arts district here on Capitol Hill. But the area’s existing artists and arts organizations can also get a boost with part of the more than $2 million in grants the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture is planning to make available this year.

“Over the last 40 years the Office of Arts and Culture has invested over $50 million in the city’s cultural landscape,” office director Randy Engstrom is quoted as saying in a media release from the city on the funds. “Investing in our youth and cultural organizations is an investment in Seattle’s future. We are committed to fostering creativity and working to ensure these fundamental opportunities are accessible to everybody as a matter of equity.”

Here is a look at the programs and their deadlines. the $175,000 being made available for the Cultural Facilities program might be of particular interest on Capitol Hill where high rents can challenge the search for physical space for galleries, performances and studios. And before you become covetous of the $1.7 million made available in the Civic Partners program, while it provides thousands of dollars to larger organizations like the Pacific Northwest Ballet, it also provides thousands to small groups like Three Dollar Bill Cinema, Hugo House, and the Northwest Film Forum.

Grant Program Application Dates Amount
Work Readiness Arts Program 2015 February 17 – April 1 (open now!) $100,718
Civic Partners 2016 and 2017 May 5 – June 30 $1,700,000*
CityArtist Projects 2016 May 27 – July22 $160,000
Cultural Facilities 2015-16 June 22 – September 4 $175,000
Neighborhood & Community Arts 2016 August 18 – October 21 $48,000
Youth Arts 2016 December (exact date tbd) $175,000
smART Ventures 2015 Ongoing $50,000

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 spacefinderseattle.org. 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.