Lunar New Year Celebration

It’s Lunar New Year, one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture. Chinatown-International District is celebrating this Saturday, with events including a Lunar New Year Food Walk, calligraphy drawing, Lion and Dragon dances, Taiko drumming, martial arts and the second annual Children’s Parade Contest.

But the main attraction is the Lunar New Year Rabbit Competition to commemorate this Year of the Rabbit. Bring your own fluffy Peter Cottontail to compete – the bunny with the most votes from the crowd wins!

And while you’re in the Chinatown-International District, be sure to check out the Storefronts in the area. This round of Storefronts ends soon (February 28th) so don’t miss it!

Click here for the official program guide.

**Lunar New Year Celebration, Saturday, Jan. 29th, 11-4pm. Hing Hay Park, Maynard Ave S & S King St.**

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A Riveted World – James Barker’s ‘Metal Land’

With 20 years of experience in mechanical engineering, James Barker of Echo Valley Metal Design has filled his storefront with the medium he knows best: metal.  After experimenting for years and building “crazy machines with gurgling liquid, glowing tubes, and arcing electrical pulses,” Barker calls Metal Land his  “jump start” into the art scene.

Dinosaurs, insects, a swamp… oh my!  These are displayed to invite visitors to take a walk into Barker’s imaginative world.  Rather than creating the pieces one at a time, Barker set out to give each piece a purpose and create the scene to work as one. The configuration provides many viewpoints and light combinations, making each visitor’s experience unique.

A small part of Barker's giant prehistoric scene. (Photo by James Barker)

Barker chose to stray from standard welding in favor of rivets and bolts for crisp, clean lines.  His hope is that the installation is so intricate visitors will have more to discover each time they visit.

Whether the installation is a reflection on the past or a prediction of what is to come, Barker won’t divulge, rather he wishes to promote Metal Land as a symbol of our constant evolution.

**Metal Land ends soon – catch it at 312 Occidental Ave S before January 29th! **

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Reflecting the City – Paul E. McKee’s ‘Rosetta Glass’

When Paul McKee found out he’d been selected to participate in Storefronts’ Installation program, he was anxious to learn which vacant storefront he’d be assigned. He planned to create his Storefronts Seattle Installation specifically to evoke the feeling of the assigned neighborhood, and needed to be able to walk and experience that neighborhood in order to pull it off.  Luckily, we were able to tell Paul that he would have a storefront in Chinatown-International District in time for him to create Rosetta Glass for Round 2’s opening on December 1.

Paul used reflections he saw in the neighborhood windows to begin the piece, giving him “a hook to hang all the various trains of thought a city inspires.”  The many different languages heard on the street in Chinatown-International District helped shape the piece, which Paul says “coalesced around the feeling of being surrounded by so many languages that I don’t understand. Shapes in reflections became characters which I could use to try and indicate all the simultaneous stories going on in the International District.”

Paul McKee's 'Rosetta Glass,' pictured at night. (photo by Paul McKee)

He hopes that after viewing his storefront, “people more fully appreciate how wonderful reflections are- their evocative shapes, their undulating movements.” The work’s title, Rosetta Glass, is a nod to the unifying feeling that Paul hopes his work brings to those who view it – art is a language all can understand.

Storefronts Seattle, Paul thinks, makes a potentially bleak neighborhood environment better. “With the economy in bad shape, people have a tendency to look at all the vacant spaces and panic- which just makes the situation worse,” he says. “This program turns all that empty space into an opportunity.  Artists get to try ideas that just wouldn’t be possible in boom times…a simple thing like getting people from different disciplines together on a project like this is very powerful.”

Catch Rosetta Glass at 409 Maynard Ave S through February 28.

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Now accepting applications for 2011!

Big news today – we’re excited to announce that Storefronts is now accepting applications for our 2011 Installations, Residencies and Creative Enterprise programs!  Find all the details on our Opportunities page.  The application deadline for all three programs is January 31, 2011 at 11:00 PM.  We can’t wait to see your application!

LUKE Haynes demonstrates his process in his Storefronts Creative Enterprise space, 604 2nd Ave.


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Living Art in the Park

If you’ve walked by Chinatown-International District’s Hing Hay Park during these dark days of winter, you will have noticed a warm, sunset-like glow coming from the windows above the park. The glow comes from Etta Lilienthal and Ben Zamora’s installation for Storefronts Seattle, “Portrait + Landscape.”

“We wanted to honor the space, the park, and the neighborhood by bringing a new life with our installation that worked in harmony with its environment,” says the duo.

Etta and Ben’s installation is a set of translucent square panels that reflect light that slowly change color as time passes. Depending on the location from which you view the installation, you’ll either see floating square panels stacked on top of each other (portrait), or panels that are separated and appear as blades of light (landscape). Because of its changing colors and different viewing formats, the installation creates the impression of movement.

“We treated the installation as its own living entity,” says Etta. “We hope to convey a sense of life that is moving and breathing and that almost seems to defy the reality of the architectural space it is contained in.”

Regarding the opportunity to showcase their work as part the Storefronts Seattle, the artists said the program has given them new insight on the impact their art can have on the community.

“We looked up and saw many people by the windows in the building across the street watching our installation and pointing and talking to each other about it. This was one of the most rewarding moments in our process: to start to see the effect our installation would have on the neighborhood.”

“Portrait + Landscape” is located at 409 Maynard Avenue South, and its lights go on every evening starting at 5:00pm. On display through February 28, 2011.

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Pinball + giving back = the best night ever

The Seattle Pinball Museum (508 Maynard Ave S) is offering a $2 discount on admission this weekend if you bring along 2 non-perishable food items! All food will be given to Chinatown-International District charities.

As if you needed an excuse to head back to the Pinball Museum.

Seattle Pinball Musem, photo by Eliza S. Rankin

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Architecture 101 Holiday Village Class for Kids

Architecture 101, the Storefront located at 601 S King St, will soon be offering a class for the holiday season! The class will begin the week before Christmas and will teach students about how people around the world celebrate during the winter season. The students will get to design and create their own winter holiday village using edible gingerbread and other sweets and confections.

The Holiday Village Class will run Monday, December 20th through Thursday, December 23rd, 9am-noon and 130pm-430pm. The class is open to Grades 3 through 8.

Visit the Architecture 101 blog for more details!

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Launch success!

Storefronts Seattle opened Round 2 to much success last night!  The evening kicked off with a celebration for Storefronts artists, where City Councilmember Sally Clark praised the positive impact the program has had on South Downtown Seattle. The Storefronts were active and hopping–some highlights of the night:

Councilmember Sally Clark speaks to Storefronts artists and supporters.

  • The grand opening party for Matthew Richter’s xom fine furniture gallery, where we spotted multiple members of the band AWESOME (who performed a one-day piece in the very same storefront in October).
  • A visit to Mia Yoshihara-Bradshaw Design, filled with delightful and affordable items made by local artists.  (Check out the adorable hand-knit fingerless gloves).
  • Viewing Ben Zamora and Etta Lilienthal’s portrait + landscape above Hing Hay Park, which illuminates Hing Hay Park with soft blue, purple, and bright orange light in an ever-changing, never the same pattern. Around the corner, Paul McKee’s Rosetta Stone intrigues and delights with its apart-but-yet-together panels of reflection. A quick jaunt down Maynard leads to Celeste Cooning’s intricate A Brighter Day, a brightly-lit winter wonderland of white paper shapes.
  • Watching kids (and adults) squeal over James Barker’s incredible Metal Land in Occidental Park – a gorgeous, colorful, and intricate prehistoric scene. (Look for the owls in the tree, they’re our favorite).
  • Catching a glimpse of the eerie candle-lit installation of “12+ can phones” in the TK Basement by Tom Maul and Robert Hutchinson.

Peering in to James Barker's "Metal Land"

Come visit the Storefronts yourself!  They’ll be up through February 28, 2011.

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Storefronts Round 2 goes live TODAY!

Storefronts artist LUKE Haynes (of Gallery LUKE, 604 2nd Ave) shows his work to Mayor Mike McGinn during the Round 1 launch. Photo by Eliza S. Rankin.

Tonight’s the night! Come on out to Chinatown-International District and Pioneer Square to toast the launch of the second round of Storefronts Seattle! We can’t wait to show you this round of installations (many best viewed after dark) and creative ventures! Use this map to make your way around.

Start with the Pioneer Square storefronts, where you can also participate in First Thursday (noon-8pm) and have a burger at the new BuiltBurger. Then make your way over to Chinatown-International District to visit the stellar storefronts there and also the Wing Luke Museum (open until 8pm on First Thursdays). Cap off the night with a round of pinball at the Seattle Pinball Museum (508 Maynard Ave S) followed by a round of karaoke at Bush Garden. It’s almost the weekend, after all. You deserve a night on the town.

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xom fine woodworking – A furniture gallery addition to Storefronts

Storefronts is excited to welcome xom fine woodworking to our slate of Round 2 artists! xom fine woodworking gallery (located at 610 2nd Avenue) will feature the gorgeous original furniture designs of Matthew Richter and the turnings of his father, Morton Richter. Regular hours will be Fridays through Sundays, 11 am – 5 pm, and the gallery will also open by appointment.

Cube, shown in Baltic birch ply and walnut

Matthew has been custom-designing and hand-building fine furniture for private clients including Lawrimore Project, On the Boards, and 4Culture since 2005. Matthew’s Storefronts space will be the first public showing of his work.

The holidays are coming – a gift from xom would delight even crotchety Uncle Joe!  Stop by 610 2nd Avenue on First Thursday for the xom grand opening from 6-9 pm, and meet Matthew and his wife Holly, the dynamic duo that makes xom tick.

And while we have your attention – don’t forget to check out ALL of the Storefronts on December 2nd to see the second round of artists and arts groups.  We’ve just uploaded the new maps – come find your favorite!

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