Design review: Pratt Fine Arts Center development in the CD, ‘upscale’ small efficiency project on Capitol Hill

A development set to create market-rate housing and reshape a key block of Central District arts and culture and a project that proves Capitol Hill microhousing is not dead will both take their debut bows in front of the East Design Review Board Wednesday night.

1900 S Jackson
The plan announced in spring to create a full-block expansion of the Pratt Fine Arts Center in conjunction with a six-story, 160-unit mixed-use will move forward Wednesday night as developer Daniels Real Estate brings its proposal up for early design guidance.

CHS reported in April on the Pratt project as the Central District cultural center that serves more than 4,000 art students a year marked its 40th anniversary by announcing the venture with Daniels Real Estate. The art center today has 19,000 square feet of studio space in its two existing buildings, which will remain open during the expansion. The expansion will grow the campus by adding 75% of the block between S Jackson and S Main and 19th and 20th Aves. Underground parking will have space for 100 cars. Continue reading

New medallions mark Capitol Hill Arts District bastions of ‘art, cinema, music, books, theater’

They’re symbols, sure, but you can also think of them as good user interface design. New Capitol Hill Arts District medallions are being installed across the neighborhood to help identify the 40 or so cultural and arts spaces part of the district.

“The medallions are a low-tech complement to the Arts District website, Facebook page, and the dozens of online event calendars,” Michael Seiwerath of Capitol Hill Housing tells CHS about the new additions to the neighborhood streetscape. “On a Saturday night, Pike/Pine can attract more people than Key Arena, so it’s a good marker for the thousands of people who visit the neighborhood each week.” Continue reading

From creator of Roq La Rue, Creatura House comes home to E Pike

Back from trips abroad and creating a nonprofit, Kirsten Anderson is again starting up an art gallery, but this time it’s intertwined with retail and, in a twist for the traveler, home.

Anderson founded art gallery Roq La Rue in 1998 and ran the space until it shuttered last year. It had a successful run, eventually, profits began to fall and Anderson felt burnt out on the arts scene.

“I thought this was a good time to step out and explore other things I want to do,” she said. Anderson spent her time exploring other countries as she raised money for her nonprofit. “I really missed having a space here in Seattle, being a part of the community. I had really gotten into home decor, and pulled in fine arts.”

Creatura House will be a home decor shop mingled with select art. The products will not be mass produced. To reside at 705 E Pike next to Babeland and Honeyhole, the shop opens December 8th with artist Peter Ferguson’s series of new paintings for his exhibition “I’ll Line My Nest With Your Bones.”

UPDATE: The grand opening is planned for December 15th:

Creatura House grand opening

Skate style shop Alive and Well will be making way for the new venture.

The arts business, for a while, wasn’t something Anderson thought she’d get back into.

“Artwork has changed so much and mid level galleries have been blown out,” she said. Anderson fiddles with one of the many rings on her tattooed fingers. They’re delicate tattoos, like dots and arrows. Larger tattoos decorated her arms and her earrings sparkled green and maroon beneath her black hair. Her subdued and darker style matched that of her artistic interests.

“I’m really into anything that’s dark and beautiful, not necessarily macabre, but I appreciate dark things as well,” Anderson said. “I’m completely driven by aesthetics, my whole life. I have made a living selling beautiful things to people. I like to make environments that are beautiful for people.”

She said she likes to straddle the line between absolutely beautiful and somewhat grotesque. Anderson pictures Creatura House warm, beautiful, and with a decayed opulence. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Be Bop Bars installation finds temporary home in Capitol Hill Housing’s 12th Ave Arts

12th Ave Arts played host to a unique musical experience during Thursday night’s Capitol Hill Art Walk. The “Be Bop Bars,” designed by Encore Architects in collaboration with JazzED, is an “interactive musical experience powered by people!” designed for the musician in all of us. A safe, low-voltage electric circuit completed by human touch, helps create a melody as you move from bar to bar. Continue reading

A Hill of writers in a City of Literature

Seattle has long been recognized as a music town. We have plenty of big names to point to, and there’s even a city government office devoted to promoting Seattle’s music scene. But a new designation from an arm of the United Nations might upend that narrative. UNESCO on October 31st declared Seattle to be a City of Literature.

“This designation allows us to tell a story about the city that maybe you don’t know,” said Stesha Brandon, who was part of the nonprofit that coordinated the effort.

The drive began in 2014, and led to a failed application in 2015 before the successful application this year. A successful application shows the city has a rich variety of literary activities, including book stores, an active library system, publishing, literary events and programs, and more.

One place the almost certainly worked in Seattle’s favor is Capitol Hill’s own Hugo House. Hugo House had been involved in some part of the application, and the organization is excited about the city receiving the designation, in part because it shows that we’re a city that should be better recognized for its wordsmiths.

“I think it’s important for anyone in the region to know what our strengths are,” said Tree Swenson, executive director of Hugo House. “We have a vast cultural resource in the literary community.”

The designation, Swenson said, might help make Seattle more of a literary destination.

“I think this will draw people here nationally, as well as internationally,” she said. Continue reading

Dance Underground, an open space for Capitol Hill dance communities

In an underground dance studio on 15th Ave E, you can find Ilana Rubin — hair wisped and face flush — running around or behind her desk fresh out of one workout or another, her office strewn with Halloween decorations.

Rubin runs Dance Underground, a 14-year business running a 45-year-old dance studio. The studio was first opened by Shirley Jenkins when it was called Strong Winds Wild Horses. In fact, it’s the very place Rubin met her partner more than two decades ago doing Argentine tango. Rubin herself has been a dancer all her life, harking back to her roots in Israel.

The space itself contains two spacious studios with christmas lights lining the wall-length mirrors. It certainly has a homey, lived-in feel to it through the walls and the ceiling but it’s welcoming.

“To me it’s just a part of that old Seattle that we keep talking about that’s disappearing,” said Barb Duff who uses the space for BaDi dance and exercise. “From what we do for a living, you’re just not going to find a 2,000-square-foot, unobstructed studio with a hard sprung wood floor anywhere with these cookie-cutter Ikea showrooms.”

Duff and her BaDi coworker Dina Love came to Seattle from the East Coast a while back. For them, the studio is reminiscent of New York’s “gritty dance studios” because of its ambiance. Continue reading

Next arts and culture space to lose its lease: Capitol Hill’s Eclectic Theater

(Image: Alex Garland)

Where do small theatre companies take the stage when their affordable performance spaces can no longer afford the rent? While many actors having long been priced out of the neighborhood, the Capitol Hill theatre community is losing another piece of its charm: affordable rents.

Rik Deskin, the founder of Eclectic Theater, has announced the end of the venue’s 11-year run on 10th Ave at the end of the month.

“We knew that we had a five year lease, and we knew the end was coming. We started exploring the possibility of renewing the lease,” Deskin said. “At the same time, we were having difficulties paying the current rent so we decided to not renew the lease. We heard from some other people who looked into it that he’s expecting $3,500 a month for the space, which is ridiculous in my opinion. With no upgrades, not that I’m aware of.”

“Capitol Hill is the densest area of arts and culture businesses and organizations in the state,” says Tonya Lockyer, executive director at the neighborhood’s globally respected Velocity Dance. “Imagine if you have this incredible natural resource — creative businesses, organizations, and people. When that is threatened, you want to preserve it.” Continue reading

Guest Artist Series: Joanna Kotze (NYC) / Kim Lusk (SEA)

 

JOANNA KOTZE (NYC) / KIM LUSK (SEATTLE)
It Happened It Had Happened It Is Happening It Will Happen by Joanna Kotze
in a special split-bill with Seattle’s Kim Lusk
November 3-5, 2017
Velocity Founders Theater

Award-winning New York choreographer Joanna Kotze will be joined in this special split-bill Guest Artist Series performance with rising choreographer and local favorite Kim Lusk.

It Happened It Had Happened It Is Happening It Will Happen
Choreographed by: Joanna Kotze in collaboration with the dancers
Performed by: Raja Feather Kelly, Joanna Kotze, Netta Yerushalmy
Music by: Dave Ruder
Costumes by: Reid Bartelme
Lighting Design by: Kathy Kaufman

Joanna Kotze’s It Happened It Had Happened It Is Happening It Will Happen—a site-responsive piece drawing from Kotze’s background in architecture—won her a prestigious New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer. Acclaimed trio Raja Feather Kelly (Princess Grace Awardee and 2017 Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation instructor), Netta Yerushalmy, (Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography) and Kotze will perform the piece in its West Coast Premiere at Velocity.

It Happened It Had Happened It Is Happening It Will Happen which confronts the seductiveness of classifying, ordering, and structuring, while attempting to hold onto the character of the unnamable, vulnerable, and imaginable. Playing with ideas of performance, intimacy, and space in our digital age, the dancers’ physicality and vulnerability are viscerally felt, as breathe, sweat, stomp, clap, and dance in close proximity to the audience.

Trio in Silver
Choreographed by: Kim Lusk
Kim Lusk—Velocity’s 2018 Made in Seattle artist—will showcase her first full-length work, Trio in Silver, before it premieres in its entirety at Velocity next spring. Lusk has developed much of her work at Velocity through the organization’s residency, production support, and mentorship.

Half price books: Hugo House offered space in new development below market value

(Image: Weinstein A+U)

(Image: Weinstein A+U)

Hoping to continue their long relationship with the literary-focused nonprofit, property owners of the under-construction, mixed-use development on 11th Ave and E Olive have offered to sell the nonprofit Hugo House a 10,000 square-foot ground floor space for about half of its estimated market value.

Hugo House, which is temporarily located at 1021 Columbia, made its home in the 1902-built former mortuary at 11th Ave and E Olive until its demolition last June.

The nonprofit has intended to move into the new development since plans were announced in 2014, but the below market price offer to sell the space to Hugo House is an unexpected opportunity. Continue reading

Final…ly APRIL will be held in April as Capitol Hill-born small press festival closes book on seven years

By Tim Kukes for CHS

The APRIL Festival and Book Expo is breaking with tradition.  For the first time — and the last time — the uniquely Capitol Hill literary festival will be confining its celebration to one day only — April 1st.

The Authors, Publishers, and Readers of Independent Literature festival, traditionally held in the later part of March to honor National Small Press Month, is coming to the end of its tale after a six-year journey of bringing eclectic reading events and diverse small press publishers to the people of Capitol Hill and Seattle.

APRIL Festival & Book Expo

“We feel like this is a good time to end the festival,” Frances Chiem, acting director, said. “We’ve done a lot with it and the small press community is a lot more vibrant than when we first started.  We feel there are other community voices that will step in and fill the void.”

The story of the festival starts with Pilot Books, once located on Broadway, and Willie Fitzgerald and Tara Atkinson.  The small press bookstore had a reputation as a vibrant community space and hosted a Small Press Festival in 2011 — essentially the first APRIL event and renamed after Pilot Books closed in the summer of 2011. Continue reading