Touring Chinatown-International District’s Storefronts

This past Thursday, Chinatown-International District (ID) had its final JamFest of the summer while Storefronts had its launch. The two events were such a match. Not only were there a variety of Storefronts to visit, but there was also live music, dance, and contemporary art going on throughout the neighborhood.

Brite Collective

Coming from Pioneer Square, I walked up Jackson and stopped into Videa and Brite Collective‘s storefronts, both utilizing their spaces very, well, creatively! Brite, an extension of JOIN Design Seattle, is known for creating spontaneous and fun design events to stimulate, inspire, and unite the Seattle design community. On Thursday they had games and colorful 3-D designs (like the one pictured right) filling their new space. The Brite Storefront will run as 1/2 gallery and 1/2 workspace to plan events with other collectives in the ID. So stay tuned – these guys will have a lot to share with the community for the months to come.

The artists of Videa were showcasing their visual tech skills. I could see the images from the street and had to stop for a minute to realize that the array of colors and movement were actually real-time video of what was happening right outside their windows. Videa showed their knack for engaging people by inviting the neighborhood into their new space by “virtually placing” them in there. I could feel the creative juices flowing as they tweaked cameras and video programs to adjust their live VJ scene. It was a treat watching them make their work live, and fun watching people peering in as they walked by. I have a feeling that it isn’t the first time the neighborhood will be curious about what’s going on in Videa’s space, 666 Jackson.

Chris Engman's Installation

On my way to the next creative venture, I came across Hing Hay Park where JamFest was in full swing. The park was alive with music and dancing. I stopped to join in on the dancing fun with a group of women dressed in traditional gowns. John Fleming and Chauney Peck’s installations glowing above the park in the Bush Asia Center added a warmth to the building lining the park. John’s intricate structure of orange road signs and Chauney’s display of sleeping bags and canned food both brought a unique and aesthetically pleasing perspective to the things with which we are all familiar. Just one block away I saw Chris Engman’s installation (pictured left), brightly lit and and fittingly Northwest.

Seattle Pinball Museum Project

Chris Engman’s neighbor is the Seattle Pinball Museum. I could hear the pings the clicks from the sidewalk with every pinball machine being played on. I watched as people of all ages zoned into their quest to beat the machine of obstacles. The group of pinball enthusiasts informed me that there were a lot more pinball machines in the places where these came from and encouraged me to stop by during lunch hour sometime to get in my pinball fix. Seattle Times‘ sketcher Gabi Campanario and KING5 News have paid the museum a visit too. Watch this video from KING5 and you can see what a pinball museum visit might be like.

While JamFest is over for the year, Storefronts Seattle will be going on until February 2011. Click on this map and stop by the Chinatown-ID to have a touring adventure of you own!

About storefrontsseattle

Activating neighborhoods and overlooked spaces by filling vacant urban spaces with art installations, pop-up boutiques, galleries, and community groups since 2010.
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