(Images: Ben Beres with permission from The Factory)
A protest and a street art experiment were two recent, though markedly different, events on Capitol Hill responding to a Pike/Pine nightlife scene that appears to be growing rowdier and potentially more violent.
On April 3rd, the artist trio PDL set out to learn more about the individuals that make up the often maligned throngs of Pike/Pine revelers by getting them to create some impromptu art. After spending five hours in the thick of Capitol Hill’s party scene, PDL said they had mixed feelings about the people and the art they encountered
In a debrief of the event, the group wrote that one woman spent a half hour drawing and writing a heartfelt homage to her aging Capitol Hill apartment building. There were also a couple of penis drawings. “As for the general nature of the Friday night scene, the crowd was decidedly more diverse, less averse, and more inclined to art-making and intelligent interaction than our fears and the harshly-flung public opinions of late,” PDL wrote.
Over the course of a night, the group encountered the wide range of humanity you might expect to see in any major city’s nightlife neighborhood. The average age of participants was 26 and none were from the East Side, though Montlake Terrace, Edmonds, and Bellingham were represented. Big Mario’s got the most votes for favorite bar and gin drinks were an overwhelming favorite.
Greg Lundgren, the “L” of PDL, previously told CHS that he thought of the project in the wake of the #caphillpsa street art campaign, which has addressed issues of gentrification and queer culture in the neighborhood. “It doesn’t make me comfortable to point across the street and say ‘we don’t want you here, you’re not welcome here,’” Lundgren told CHS.
The works generated from the Due Process project are now on display at The Factory, a recently opened gallery inside the Pound Arts studios at 10th and E Union. You can read PDL’s full report below and check out some of the work at The Factory gallery.
A week after the PDL experiment, a group of protestors took a more direct response to some troubling trends in the neighborhood. Around 40 rain-soaked, colorfully dressed queer youth and their allies marched though Pike/Pine Friday evening in response to an uptick in LGBTQ hate crimes on Capitol Hill.
Peaceful marchers briefly held-up traffic on Broadway while chanting “Whose Hill? Our Hill!” and made stops outside a couple of Pike/Pine gay and lesbian bars to advocate for gender neutral bathrooms.
A statement from march organizers — LGBTQ Allyship, Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets, Ingersoll Gender Center, and Entre Hermanos — said participants would also identify places in the neighborhood where youth had experienced anti-LGBTQ violence.
Meanwhile, some more formal approaches to stopping anti-LGBTQ violence around Capitol Hill are beginning to coalesce. Last month, Mayor Ed Murray announced the members of a 30-member task force to address anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in the city. City Council member Kshama Sawant said at a recent Capitol Hill forum that she’ll fight to fund a queer youth homeless shelter and wants to see a LGBTQ community center on Capitol Hill. And a donation-based, nine-passenger shuttle started making nighttime rounds through the neighborhood in an attempt to get more people home safe.