The PPP of live music and theater, Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program could boost recovery of Capitol Hill clubs and stages

(Image: Neumos)

Capitol Hill’s struggling live music, theater, and performance venues can join thousands of businesses across the country Thursday as the Small Business Administration finally begins accepting Shuttered Venue Operators Grant applications.

SVOG is the PPP of club and theater rescue plans with $16 billion lined up to help venues recover from a year of pandemic shutdowns. The first come, first served grant program is open to live music venues, performance theaters, small movie theaters, and even destinations like museums and aquariums.

CHS reported here on worries about potential losses in Capitol Hill’s live music and performance scenes as venues like Neumos and Chop Suey as well as small theaters struggled through pandemic restrictions. Velocity Dance has already announced the closure of its 12th Ave studio and a search for a new home after 24 years on Capitol Hill.

For applicants, SVOG joins a complicated matrix of federal assistance including PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The Seattle Office of Economic Development is offering assistance to help the city’s venues weigh options and apply for help. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Seattle Asian Art Museum set for May reopening

(Image: Seattle Asian Art Museum)

Most people have never seen the overhauled and expanded Seattle Asian Art Museum in person. The Volunteer Park museum shuttered in mid-March 2020 as COVID-19 numbers climbed. Only weeks earlier that February, the building had reopened after three years of closure and construction to overhaul and expand the museum.

Starting May 28th, SAAM will be ready to welcome visitors again: Continue reading

Delayed by pandemic and red tape, Museum of Museums now open on First Hill

“Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your support. Thank you for believing in us,” the folks behind First Hill’s Museum of Museums write. The new arts and events venue on Boylston just above Broadway created out of a converted medical building can finally open to the masked, socially distanced public after being delayed by red tape related to the change in the building’s permitted use.

CHS visited the project from First Hill entrepreneur Greg Lundgren in November as the venue’s hoped-for debut approached. Now that the city says it is cool for MoM to be a museum, Lundgren can move ahead on his mission to build a better Seattle by increasing the artist population and creating spaces for exhibition, while fostering the creative scene. Continue reading

Artists Behind Glass: a small, masked taste of live music in Pike/Pine

(Image: Artists Behind Glass)

If you miss live music and you miss art, there is a gift for you on first and second Fridays at 11th Ave’s Vermillion. The Artists Behind Glass series brings a live show to the sidewalk of the Pike/Pine art bar designed for masked, socially distanced enjoyment. This month, you can see Dr. Quinn and The Medicine Woman rock the street. If you show up and things are looking too crowded for comfort, take a walk and enjoy the live stream: Continue reading

New project adds ‘surreal, kinetic light installation’ to Pike/Pine’s bittersweet collection of storefront art

(Image: HelioGram.01)

Two Seattle artists are adding new light to the collection of heartfelt art and plywood murals that have covered the windows of many restaurants and shops of Capitol Hill and Pike/Pine during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and through months of protest and unrest.

Heliogram.01, “a surreal, kinetic light installation and glowing beacon of hope” installation, now cycles every four minutes along 10th Ave in the window of a closed-down retailer. It activates nightly at sundown at 5:30 PM and loops until the morning.

“The installation took a few days, but even while we were testing and debugging the installation, I was able to see its potential impact,” artist Ben Chaykin tells CHS. “A bike messenger rode by and was stopped in his tracks. He stood there, still on his bike, for the entire 4 min loop. I thanked him for watching, and he told me I had made his evening, explaining that it was nice to see some light on this block again.” Continue reading

The Capitol Hill Art Walk returns

The newly opened Museum of Museums is on the walk

One thing certain after months of the COVID-19 crisis is how much heavier we weigh the calculated risks of daily life. As you search for balance, Thursday night brings a little bit of life back to Capitol Hill.

Whether the return of the Capitol Hill Art Walk is for you is, well, up to you. But a handful of area venues and shops are getting back into the rhythm of the monthly “second Thursday” event:

We have some socially-distanced, masked art viewings happening this Thursday, Nov. 12th!
Check each venue’s website for details on their hours, COVID-19 accommodations & more…

Continue reading

At 11th and Pine, Capitol Hill’s Black Lives Matter mural is here to stay

(Image: CHS)

A spontaneous expression of art in the middle of Capitol Hill’s center of Black Lives Matter protest in the summer of 2020 has become a Pike/Pine landmark even as the city is still trying to live up to the movement’s demands.

Over the weekend, artists finished their work recreating their massive Black Lives Matter mural in the middle of E Pine with new longer-lasting coats of paint designed to withstand the weather and rigors of a busy city street. The traffic post island and mural are hoped to become a permanent part of the pavement just south of Cal Anderson. Continue reading

Building a better Seattle with more artists, First Hill’s Museum of Museums set to open in November

Lundgren at MoM

The Museum of Museums is like many spaces we’ve missed during the COVID-19 era — full of interesting things we can’t quite see just yet. But as venues open again across the city, this new First Hill space of art and creation is also ready for visitors as it prepares to officially open next month.

“Everything around here is like 96% done. There’s a lot of things that need to be kind of massaged into place, but we’re done with construction. Just a lot of little details,” Greg Lundgren says.

Museum founder Lundgren recently gave CHS a tour of MoM, as he simultaneously delegated tasks to volunteers and explained works in progress. Part of MoM’s mission, he says, is building a better Seattle by increasing the artist population and creating spaces for exhibition, fostering collectors and artists, and investing in youth programming. MoM’s non-profit partner is Coyote Central, the Central District’s youth arts organization.

Last June, the co-owner of The Hideout and Vito’s set his sights on repurposing another part of the First Hill neighborhood for something better, transforming a vacant medical building on Broadway and Marion and activating it as a contemporary art museum.

He originally hoped to open the space last August, coinciding with the Seattle Art Fair, but challenges and delays quickly piled up. A massive amount of clean up (the restoration team hauled out 120,000 pounds of construction debris), necessary seismic retrofitting, a frustrating back-and-forth with the city over zoning permissions, and of course a pandemic all contributed to the setback. Now, about a year and five months after Lundgren signed the lease, the Museum of Museums is real. Continue reading

With sunny and dry days ahead for repainting of Capitol Hill’s Black Lives Matter mural, rain is not a risk — but the return of smoke season is — UPDATE

E Pine was stripped of its BLM mural last week as part of a project to recreate a more durable version (Image: Alex Garland)

The project to remake Capitol Hill’s Black Lives Matter mural as a permanent feature of E Pine should move forward this week with a forecast for dry weather making the pavement a suitable canvas for the effort.

A Seattle Department of Transportation representative tells CHS that artists are planned to be on the street starting Wednesday to begin the process of repainting the 16 10-foot-tall letters. SDOT is planning a four-day window for the project but they’re expecting the work might wrap up early. E Pine will be closed to traffic during the painting and sealing work. Continue reading

Acknowledging botched first effort, City of Seattle announces plan with artists to quickly remove and recreate longer-lasting Capitol Hill Black Lives Matter mural

An image from SDOT showing the deterioration of the mural (Image: SDOT)

Before sweeps and violence continued in Cal Anderson, and before  Seattle City Hall reversed course on the start of defunding the Seattle Police Department, artists and activists pointed at a simpler failure to live up to the demands of the CHOP protest zone after what they said was a botched attempt to preserve and protect the massive E Pine BLACK LIVES MATTER mural.

Now Mayor Jenny Durkan and the Seattle Department of Transportation are announcing a new plan that will bring the original mural artists together to remove the original and replace it with a new and improved replica designed to better withstand the tests of a Capitol Hill street. And they’re in a rush to do it to get ahead of another Seattle challenge — the weather: Continue reading