‘I know there has to be black artists in Seattle’ — Black Arts Love amplifying art and bringing community together on Capitol Hill

Malika Bennett knows Capitol Hill, and after a Howard education and ten years in the other Washington, it’s time for this Capitol Hill to know her. Growing up on the Eastside and in the Central District, Bennett took off with the Running Start program at Seattle Central during high school and got to know the neighborhood well.

Her Black Arts Love — “a welcoming community space that is inclusive to all that support our mission of amplifying and uplifting black artists” — is now open in the 400 block of E Pike.

While in her masters program in D.C., Bennett found community in arts spaces. Busboys and Poets, a local restaurant with a bookstore, gift shop, and open mic, inspired Bennet with how they represent local creatives. “You have got to find something outside of work to keep up the balance, and for me, it was going to open mics.”

Eventually, Bennett got involved with the Emergence Community Art Collective, found a mentor, and grew her inspiration into action by producing her own events. “It was just wonderful how it all came together. Everybody was having such a good time. I mean, it just warmed my heart, it was really healing. Just the collaboration, the connection, the positivity, the creators and seeing all of their beautiful art and creations and products that they handmade, or even just businesses that are popping up and they were there to promote their business. It was incredible.”

Bennett moved back to Seattle in 2014, finding work as an administrative assistant at Harborview. Becoming frustrated with the helplessness she felt in the face of police violence and other issues facing the black community, she felt called to build community through art. The creation of Black Arts Love, which aimed to support black artists and creators in the community, helped focus their energy.

“I had this dream”, Bennett told CHS. “It was this blueprint of a whole bunch of black leaders that were all top of their field. They were using their talents to come together. And there was this blueprint of what we could do to help our community. And so I woke up and I said, Malika, what are your talents? And I realized, well, I’m good at event planning and good at PR. I’m good at marketing. I love art. I love creativity. I find the arts to be very healing at the same time.” Continue reading

Love art? Go on the pre-Valentine’s February Capitol Hill Art Walk

A past pop-up at Chophouse Row

Thursday night brings the monthly neighborhood art walk to Capitol Hill.

The February edition includes a pop-up market of artists, makers, and vendors at Chophouse Row, an Artist Talk with curator Arielle Simmons and Rohena Alam Khan at the Hedreen Gallery, and featured guest artist Kalina Winska presenting “speculative landscapes in which the artist blurs reality and representation” at Passable Art.

The Capitol Hill Art Walk includes showings, events, and more at venues across Capitol Hill on the second Thursday of every month.

Learn more and find a map of this month’s venues at capitolhillartwalk.com.


This is about as intrusive as we’ll get. No pledge breaks. No tote bags. Just a call for readers to please consider subscribing to CHS to help us pay writers and photographers to cover the neighborhood. Become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month.


How a giant new Kraken hockey mural ended up along Capitol Hill’s 10th Ave E

(Image: @jdco.design)

(Image: @jdco.design)

With Seattle in the midst of a new crackdown on vandalism, a retaining wall behind a North Capitol Hill mansion that has long been a prominent canvas for taggers and graffiti artists now hosts a 156-foot long by 8-foot tall mural celebrating the homeowner’s pride for a hometown sports team

Artist Craig Johnson tell CHS he is wrapping up the few-week project to create the new Seattle Kraken mural that now rises in the busy 1500 block of 10th Ave E across from the St. Mark’s greenbelt.

“Today wasn’t great for production,” Johnson said Friday. “I have to work between the rain.”

The new work depicting Kraken imagery, players, and branding including the second-year team’s “scrimshaw” pattern is a collaboration, Johnson said, between the artist, the Kraken, and big fan Brian Flynn, the investor and a co-founder behind Mexican airline Volaris and a casino and travel analytics firm. Flynn is reportedly a supporter of the team and close with ownership. Johnson said the Kraken were part of planning the work and making sure it was up to the team’s brand standards. Continue reading

New mural of Stonewall queen Marsha P. Johnson rises off Broadway

(Image: Broadway Business Improvement Association)

A new mural of Marsha P. Johnson, the drag queen of Stonewall, now stretches down a block of Capitol Hill at Broadway and Harrison.

The Broadway Business Improvement Association project on the side of the street’s Crossroads Trading building is part of new LGBTQIA+ art and banners coming to Broadway over the next couple of months, the organization says.

Artist Jiéyì Zhou created the work with support from PrideFest in the project funded by the BIA and retailer Crossroads which has included the 1940s era building in its real estate portfolio since 2008. Continue reading

Inspired by Soft Services installation at Volunteer Park, Capitol Hill writer joins artist for conversation about ‘intimacy and loss, cruising and alienation, communal possibility, and intimate transgression’

(Image: Jueqian Fang/Henry Art Gallery)

You are invited to visit Volunteer Park this weekend on what should be a sunny and crisp fall day to sit in on a conversation between an artist whose creations now dot the park’s lawns and pathways and a Capitol Hill author who has made the park a setting in their work.

CHS reported here on the Soft Services installations by artist Chloë Bass as the 14 stone benches will make Volunteer Park their home into next summer as part of a Henry Art Gallery project.

Saturday, author Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore will talk with Bass about Soft Services in “a conversation about the body and colonialism, intimacy and loss, cruising and alienation, communal possibility, and intimate transgression.” Continue reading

With COVID-19 state of emergency coming to an end, First Hill’s Frye Art Museum adding new ‘mask-required hours’

(Image: Jonathan Vanderweit/Frye)

The end of October will bring an end to nearly 1,000 days of Washington’s COVID-19 state of emergency. But, of course, it doesn’t bring the end of the pandemic. The transition is leaving many important decisions regarding life with the virus to individuals, private businesses, and organizations to sort out and find the best paths forward.

First Hill’s Frye Art Museum is taking steps to create a safe environment for all of its visitors by instituting new “mask-required hours” during the first Sunday of every month. Expect to see more similar solutions in Seattle.

“To accommodate immunocompromised individuals and those who prefer to visit when all guests and staff are required to mask, we offer mask-required hours on the first Sunday of the month from 11 am– 1 pm,” Frye’s announcement reads. Continue reading

Attention mushroom lovers: Sporelust! opens first brick and mortar location in Capitol Hill

Inside the shop (Image: CHS)

The new shop’s mycelium now runs deep in Pike/Pine (Image: CHS)

A new punk metal style and mushroom-focused apparel and fashion business has found a permanent home on Capitol Hill. After hosting a pop-up at 701 E. Pike for three months, Sporelust! decided that they are here to stay.

Chris Adams, co-owner of Sporelust!, has been making the majority of the art that is in the shop, including shirts, totes, stickers, and trucker hats. His love for mushrooms, which he describes as a moderate obsession, began six or seven years ago through foraging and photographing.

“Since then, I’ve really deep dove into mycology,” said Adams. “Over the last six years both my knowledge and my focus is on trying to hone this style that is at Sporelust! while still building knowledge that stays scientifically accurate, while looking weird.”

While Adams had created enough branded work for the pop-up shop, his business partner Zach Huntting reserved the E. Pike location for the entire year, with the goal of opening a brick and mortar location. Continue reading

We know where the body portraits in Cal Anderson came from but have no clue about these new faces across Capitol Hill — UPDATE

Thanks to @SarahEMyhre and other CHS readers for asking about the faces

(Image: Seattle Office of Arts and Culture)

A new temporary art installation has added colorful portraits to Cal Anderson Park.

Meanwhile, a prolific new(?) street artist has drawn attention with stylized faces popping up around Capitol Hill.

The Seattle Office of Arts and Culture says artist Jean Bradbury’s The People Make This Park will be on display around Cal Anderson through September. The “colorful, larger-than-life” portraits feature park-goers and include excerpts from interviews about the subject’s relation to the park. The project “speaks to the theme of how important land is to people,” the city arts office says.

Cal Anderson isn’t the only Capitol Hill park with temporary art. CHS reported here on the project that added 14 stone “benches” in Volunteer Park through next summer.

Meanwhile, a new Capitol HIll character is appearing on utility boxes and power poles, dining patios and dumpsters around the neighborhood as one of the more prolific street art efforts in recent memory is decorating mundane streetside items with graffiti featuring cartoon-worthy faces complete with googly eyes and wide-open mouths showing off zig-zagging tongues and jagged teeth. Continue reading

Crosscut: Photography exhibit at Seattle Asian Art Museum showcases our complicated relationship with wilderness

By Brangien Davis / Crosscut

The human relationship with the natural landscape is complicated. We are forever trying to get our bodies closer to nature, whether by painting it, taking selfies in it, hiking around in it or insisting on homes with a view. We are awed by untouched wilderness, yet fill it with our detritus. We want to get “back to the Earth” and bend it to our will.

The human-landscape relationship comes into sharp relief in Beyond the Mountain: Contemporary Chinese Artists on Contemporary Forms, a compact but compelling new show of six artists at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. The show’s title references Chinese artist Zhang Huan’s 1995 photograph “To Add One Meter to an Anonymous Mountain,” a striking and disorienting piece in which several naked people lie on top of each other at the summit of Mount Miaofengshan. Continue reading

Passable, a space for the ‘intersection of art and technology’ — and pinball — on the backside of Pike/Pine

(Image: Passable)

With reporting by Elizabeth Turnbull

Amid the bars, restaurants, clubs, and shops, there is a collaborative arts space making a place for creatives to connect and work on the backside of Pike/Pine.

Passable is a makerspace that has survived the pandemic and now inviting new members for “playful collaboration at the intersection of art and technology” and “access to shared resources and exhibition opportunities.”

Located at 1005 E Union, the shop offers space for “both clean and ‘dirty’ projects” depending on the type of art and technology work you may want to pursue. Resources include woodworking and power tools, an electronics workstation, a Glowforge laser cutter, And 3D printing. Continue reading