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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.

DSC_9120Despite the fun, the show is also facing the realities of the real estate market on Capitol Hill and in Seattle as a whole. Late in January, CHS reported on change at the Summit Inn, home to many artists. Pete Sikov, owner of both the Summit Inn and the In Arts NW house, sold the Summit building to a developer who is raising rents along with interior renovations.

“It’s more of a wake-up call,” said Wolfe about the possibility of Sikov also selling off the 17th and Olive building.

Talk of organizing a fundraising campaign to try and buy the house and property has been circulating amongst the collective’s inhabitants in the event that it is put on the market, though Wolfe and Mark Taylor-Canfield, a local artist, musician, journalist, and “honorary resident” of the collective, estimate the figure required to make the purchase may range around the one million dollar mark.

In addition to — or as part of — the heartbreak, Wolfe and other artists plan to use elements of the two shows to discuss the rapidly changing real estate market on the Hill, and the potential displacement of the artists that once called the neighborhood home.

“I mostly want to make the point that we’re all in the same petri dish together,” said Wolfe. “It feels like there is a large growth in the rest of the petri dish and it is continuing, it is harder for that artistic [and] music bacteria to thrive and grow when it is getting closed in on,” she said.

DSC_9077Taylor-Canfield will also be performing a “science experiment” where he will highlight these issues via live music and song.

The collective has occupied the house for around 6 years. Wolfe has been there for just over a year.

Wolfe also noted the recent closure of another independent arts and music space; The Josephine in Ballard, as cause to concern for the longevity of suitable spaces for artists to be, well, artists.

“The independent arts and music culture [in Seattle] is under duress right now,” said Taylor-Canfield.

Wolfe, who works at Museum Quality Picture Framing on Capitol Hill, says that she routinely has conversations with customers who are recent transplants to Seattle and are having difficulty locating the arts and music scene that Seattle is known for.

“I’ve constantly heard people tell me that they moved to Seattle hoping, expecting, [an] arts and music scene. And they don’t really know where it is,” she said.

“Having these kind of spaces too is important for our [Seattle’s] petri dish,” said Wolfe.

Wolfe said that she is hesitant to support going to outside source for financial backing or management for fear of not wanting the collective to come under externally applied restrictions. And the space doesn’t seem like the type the city had in mind when it created the Capitol Hill Arts District marketing program. But for the time being, the In Arts NW collective will focus on its arts.

Wolfe encourages people in the neighborhood who want to see arts and artists remain part of the scene to stop through the science fair.

“It will be fun damn it,” she laughed. “At least enjoy the artists while we’re here.”

Drinks are not being provided by the curator and house, but attendees are encouraged to make donations and wear lab coats and goggles. More details here.

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Mark Taylor-Canfield
5 years ago

Yes, ironically, a large group of potential buyers visited the In today to check out the property. Some residents placed signs on their doors reading, “Please Don’t Buy Our House.” I have to question whether the increased publicity about this artist co-op will help the residents or just alert more real estate developers that the property is on the market. Although it’s not officially listed as for sale, the word is out that the place may be a hot property.


[…] Experiment on your lovesick heart, keep Capitol Hill's art pulse beating at … logo The 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 … Read more on CHS Capitol Hill Seattle […]


[…] CHS wrote about the part DIY madhouse, part Capitol Hill artist collective Summit Inn last year, and followed up in January after rents increased $100 when Padden took over from longtime owner Pete Sikov. Many of the Inn’s current residents aren’t happy about the changes and the loss of one of the last DIY-inspired buildings on the Hill. In January, the Slummit Block Party, LLC was a music-filled protest and party to say goodbye to the old days at the Inn. The artists at The In NW Arts, another of Sikov’s Capitol Hill properties, say they are awaiting a similar fate. […]


[…] – located on rapidly changing Capitol Hill – and the resident’s fears of potential displacement via the owner [Pete Sikov] of the house selling the property. The Summit Inn, another property […]