‘FIGHTING FOR OUR LIVES’ — Latest addition to Capitol Hill’s AIDS Memorial Pathway adds messages of action on way to June opening

After a year mostly lost to the COVID-19 crisis, Capitol Hill Station’s AIDS memorial project connecting the transit hub’s mixed-use development and plaza to Cal Anderson is taking shape and on track for a June 2021 completion. This week, an important component of the AIDS Memorial Pathway was installed, adding new messages to the area from time of the height of the AIDS crisis that the project’s organizers and contributing creators say are relevant and important for today’s Capitol Hill.

“We not only wanted to do messaging that was relevant, that was authentic,” Gabriel Stromberg of the Civilization firm tells CHS about the We’re Already Here installation added to the pathway this week. “But we also wanted to find messaging that represents different experiences in the AIDS crisis.”

Stromberg and Corey Gutch say the Civilization creation of bright signs now on display at the Broadway development and plaza is based research and community review of messages from “collective action” — protests, demonstrations, rallies, and campaigns — from the activism around the HIV/AIDS crisis.

Jason Plourde, manager of the AIDS Memorial Pathway Project, says that realness, relevancy, and diversity of experience is a key component of the pathway. Continue reading

Seattle World AIDS Day virtual event will include dedication of first AIDS Memorial Pathway artwork

In This Way We Loved One Another by artist and poet Storme Webber (Image: The AMP)

A virtual event to mark Tuesday’s World AIDS Day will include the dedication of the first artwork completed for Capitol Hill’s AIDS Memorial Pathway, a project planned to link the Capitol Hill Station transit facility, housing, and new grocery store and commercial projects to Cal Anderson Park.

Stories of the Past, Stories of the Present: Honoring World AIDS Day takes place starting at 5 PM Tuesday with an online program “to reflect on the impact of HIV/AIDS” that will include the dedication of the AMP photography project In This Way We Loved One Another by artist and poet Storme Webber that hangs at the Cathy Hillenbrand Community Room inside the affordable Station House Building that is part of the station’s mixed-use developments. Continue reading

Leaders in the Capitol Hill gay community: Don’t compare COVID-19 response to the AIDS crisis

For more than 30 years, the AIDS Walk has filled Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park

With news outlets buzzing about which celebrities have tested positive for coronavirus, rumors about testing and transmission, as well as a frightening projected death toll, it might be tempting to compare COVID-19 to the initial HIV outbreak in the 1980s, but figures in Capitol Hill’s gay community say, just don’t.

Fred Swanson, Executive Director of Gay City, was unequivocal about the main difference: “With HIV no one cared. It was a joke to the president. It was affecting a community that was hated and reviled, and no one cared about. [We had to] care for ourselves. Nobody else was interested in caring for us. That’s a critical difference now where you have mobilization of local, state, and federal government officials and public spokespeople really advocating for people to implement social distancing, or get testing widely available,” Swanson said.

Continue reading

Saturday, 33rd Seattle AIDS Walk will move back onto the streets of Capitol Hill

After a smaller edition in 2018 that wound its way through Volunteer Park, the Seattle AIDS Walk and Run returns to the streets of Capitol Hill Saturday.

The 33rd year of the fundraiser for nonprofit Lifelong begins as always in Volunteer Park Saturday morning. You can still register, donate, and learn more at give.lifelong.org.

In 2016 as the walk reached its 30th anniversary, CHS reported on Lifelong’s transition over the years from the fight to provide comfort to the fight for health and a cure. The event has humble roots. The legend goes that during the first year’s walk, a can was passed around for donations. $42 was collected. Continue reading

Art plan taking shape for AIDS Memorial Pathway that will connect Capitol Hill Station development to Cal Anderson Park

A lead artist has been selected and the “master art plan” for the project has been created. March brings opportunities for some early looks at the vision for the AIDS Memorial Pathway project connecting Capitol Hill Station development to Cal Anderson Park.

“Destined to become one of the most significant public art installations in the region, the AMP will use public art to create a physical place for remembrance and reflection; utilize technology to share stories about the epidemic and the diverse community responses to the crisis; and provide a call to action to end HIV/AIDS, stigma, and discrimination,” organizers from the Atlas Obscura Society Seattle write about the coming pathway and a tour they are planning to preview the site with project manager Jason Plourde.

Making A Memorial

Last August, CHS reported on the selection of social practice artist Horatio Hung-Yan Law to lead the project’s artistic vision. ” I create work for regular people that examines issues of identity, memory, history and the meaning of community. As a public artist who is interested in socially engaged work, I value collaboration and partnership with community members through collecting ideas, cultural materials, and engaging residents in planning and production of public art,” Law said at the time. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Smaller Seattle AIDS Walk circles Volunteer Park

The new, smaller, more “intimate” Seattle AIDS Walk circled Volunteer Park and stayed off city streets Saturday with a charity walk and picnic to raise funds to help those living with HIV and AIDS. CHS stopped by to see the walk and to watch for those who stepped up enough to earn “Queen” crowns by raising $1,000 or more in pledges. Saturday’s walk was the 32nd year for the fundraiser benefitting Lifelong that typically raises more than $200,000 for the nonprofit. You can still give here if you would like to help.

More pictures from the 2018 Seattle AIDS Walk, below. Continue reading

Volunteer Park hosts 2018 Seattle AIDS Walk Saturday

The Seattle AIDS Walk will circle Capitol Hill again marking the 32nd year of the important fundraiser.

Annually drawing thousands of participants, the event is now focused on walkers and pledges — and lunch. Organizers are promising “the biggest picnic our city has ever seen” at the start/finish line in Volunteer Park. Continue reading

Memorial Pathway will honor fight against HIV/AIDS, connect Cal Anderson to Capitol Hill Station

This mural of Cal Anderson was part of the park in 2012 on the “Big Red Wall” surrounding Capitol Hill Station construction (Image: CHS)

The search has begun for artists to create the AIDS Memorial Pathway, a Seattle AIDS memorial planned for Cal Anderson Park and the plaza at the heart of the development set to arise around Capitol Hill Station.

Artists have until the end of May to submit their proposals for the project “honoring the impact of the AIDS epidemic on Seattle and King County” — Continue reading

Planning for Seattle AIDS Memorial begins at center of Capitol Hill Station plaza

The Capitol Hill Station plaza is set to be a new center of activity on the north end of Cal Anderson Park. Its center will include a memorial to those lost to the AIDS crisis — including park namesake Cal Anderson, Washington’s first openly gay legislator who died of “acquired immune deficiency syndrome” in 1995 at the age of 47.

The Seattle AIDS Legacy Memorial group is working to fund and create the monument.

“We’re thrilled to be able to connect the history of the neighborhood to be centrally located where all Seattleites tend to come,” said Paul Feldman of SALM. “We’re hopeful, through careful planning and careful engagement, that we’ll hear stories we’ve never heard before and we’ll make clear to visitors that there’s still much work to do.”

Most of the details will be decided in the months ahead as the plaza and the surrounding developments move forward toward a possible late 2019 opening, but the SALM group will call for artists in the coming months. Finalists will be asked to offer specific design proposals fitting the following requirements: create a place of reflection and remembrance, provide a call to action, tell the history of King County’s AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 90s, the lessons that came with it, and the diverse community responses.

Artists must also make the installation prominent, visible to passersby, mostly outside, accessible to convenient public transportation, easily maintained, accessible to the disabled, wifi-abled and powered. One important consideration when choosing the artist is that, although the plan spans three spots joining the plaza, the Nagle and Denny festival streets and the northern edge of Cal Anderson, it’s clearly one project. During the design review process, some community members suggested plaques honoring those who died including Anderson.

While Cal Anderson Park honors the late politician by name, there is no permanent marker in the area acknowledging his history. In 2012, a temporary portrait of Anderson was unveiled on the giant wall that surrounded the Capitol Hill Station construction site.

The plaza — by necessity due to legal requirements and the physics of construction over an underground light rail facility — is somewhat of a blank slate planned for community activity. The four buildings that make up the surrounding developments will create more than 400 affordable and market-rate apartment units and 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space, and more than 200 new parking spaces below ground for residents and shoppers. Continue reading

‘Dress code’ opens up as the Seattle Red Dress Party comes to Capitol Hill

(Image: seattlereddress.org)

(Image: seattlereddress.org)

This year, for the first time, the Seattle Red Dress Party is being held on Capitol Hill. Seattle PrideFest is putting on the event in the Century Ballroom at 10th Ave and E Pine on March 31st.

“Especially with the massive development on Capitol Hill, I think queer people are feeling at times a little without a home,” Egan Orion, festival director for PrideFest told CHS. “Anything that we can do … to help them reassert their traditional home … that is part of our mission.”

Attendees of the Red Dress Party have worn red dresses, of course, but this year organizers have loosened the, um, dress code a bit. Orion said attendees are still encouraged to keep the tradition, especially cisgender men, but other fancy red attire (e.g. a suit) is allowed and welcomed. It is not meant to be a costume party Orion said, and red is the color of choice as it’s the international symbol of HIV/AIDS awareness. Continue reading