All posts in “Community”

Muse/News: Arts News from SAM, Seattle, and Beyond

SAM News

Boom for real! SAM announced last week that a famed and rarely seen painting by legendary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is headed to the museum beginning March 21. The Seattle Times shared the news, and KUOW’s The Record hosted a conversation about the painting’s rarity and impressive auction price with KUOW’s Marcie Sillman and City Arts’ Margo Vansynghel.

Diana Cherry of ParentMap reviewed Figuring History with an eye towards kids and families, declaring that “the message is undeniable: Black is beautiful — in art, in history and in this country.”

“To tell you that these paintings made my heart sing would be an understatement. I found it truly uplifting to see Seattle Art Museum center black people—especially black women—and their stories with art that includes, but isn’t limited to, slavery, black suffering and black oppression.”

The Bellevue Reporter previewed the upcoming installation by artist Jono Vaughan at SAM, sharing quotes from the artist.

“We’ve become de-sensitized to violence, and violence against the trans community in particular,” Vaughan said. “Project 42 is an opportunity to share space with that life that was lost, engage with each other, and elevate the discussion. I feel really humbled to be a part of it.”

Local News

For Crosscut, Double Exposure artist Tracy Rector offers her reflections on the allegations against Sherman Alexie and recommends an impressive list of female Native authors for your reading list.

Seattle Times columnist Nicole Brodeur profiles photographer Eddie Rehfeldt, whose new photography show at The Piranha Shop in Sodo tackles ideas about isolation and technology.

City Arts’ Margo Vansynghel reviews the Ko Kirk Yamahira exhibition, now on view at the Frye.

“In his first solo museum exhibition, Yamahira builds beautifully on this minimalist-modernist legacy with deadpan reverence and delicate sensuality.”

Inter/National News

The New York Times on Billy Graham, the “Renaissance man and bon vivant” who was largely unknown, even though he was the first Black artist for Marvel to draw Black Panther and Luke Cage.

Artnet on the “showstopper” booth of new work by British-Liberian artist Lina Iris Viktor at New York’s Armory Show from Seattle’s own Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.

Jonathan Jones of The Guardian with a powerful write-up of Sondra Perry’s latest gallery show, Typhoon, now on view in London. Her show at SAM is now on view.

“Perry juxtaposes the shallowness of our media-saturated lives with the power of true art and properly held memory. If we carried the bloodstained Atlantic that Turner painted in our hearts, maybe we could address the crimes and wrongs of the present. Yet forgetfulness is winning. There is a typhoon coming on.”

And Finally

“Place your ‘Left Ring Finger’ in the undulating bug next to your keyboard.” David Lynch teaches typing.

– Rache Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: “Untitled,” 1982, Jean-Michel Basquiat, American, 1960–1988, acrylic, spray paint, and oilstick on canvas, 72 1/8 x 68 1/8 in., Yusaku Maezawa Collection, © 2018 The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / ADAGP, Paris / ARS.

Muse/News: Arts New from SAM, Seattle, and Beyond

SAM News

Wall Street Journal Magazine features Figuring History: Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas; Sara Morosi interviewed SAM curator Catharina Manchanda and artist Mickalene Thomas for this preview of the exhibition that “retells America’s past.”

Margo Vansynghel of City Arts lauds the exhibition’s “dazzling brilliance” in her review, which includes interviews with both Kerry James Marshall and Mickalene Thomas, conducted while the artists were in Seattle for the opening.

“…filled to the brink with visual sumptuousness. Chambers to remember. Spaces filled with Black joy and Black books. Behind every corner, there’s texture and depth, and dazzling brilliance.”

Brendan Kiley of the Seattle Times reports on the recent launch of Beyond the Frame, the regional initiative marking the 150th anniversary of Edward S. Curtis’ birth, which also includes SAM’s upcoming exhibition Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis, Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, Will Wilson.

Local News

Donald Byrd, choreographer and executive artistic director of Spectrum Dance Theater, shares his experience seeing Black Panther and its “beautiful, awe-inspiring Afro-futuristic vision.”

Rich Smith of the Stranger posted this update on the recent hearing at King County Council chambers on a proposed bill to expand the council’s authority over 4Culture.

Seattle Magazine profiles the Seattle Artist League, a new “people come first” art school in Northgate.

Inter/National News

Artnet with a peek at Basquiat. Boom For Real. now on view at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, which shows the artist’s work in context with the music, text, and city that inspired him.

In what’s definitely the most fascinating interview I read this week, Artnet spoke with Arthur Jafa about intersectionality, blackness, and “not going for ‘good.’”

Hyperallergic reviews the Monarchs exhibition, now on view at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, which features work by “people native to the Americas,” including Jeffrey Gibson, Nicholas Galanin, and Wendy Red Star.

And Finally

What DOES one get Rihanna on the occasion of her 30th birthday?? One artist decided on this.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Photo: Installation view of Figuring History: Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas at Seattle Art Museum, 2018, photo: Stephanie Fink.

Community Gallery: The Voices of a City

The Community Gallery at the Seattle Art Museum showcases art that builds and supports community through allowing youth to have a voice and a place to share their vision. The Community Gallery is located on the first floor of the Seattle Art Museum and is currently showing The Voices of the City in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation. Jose’s embroidered artwork, pictured above, is an example of the Tenango technique that Isabel Mirales, our blog contributor, discusses below. Visit the Community Gallery through February 4 to see and hear more from these voices of our city.

Bordados Tenango de Hidalgo

On my last visit to Mexico, my country of origin. I visited a town in the state of Guanajuato called “La Valenciana.” Walking between the streets I found some women embroidering—the color of their blankets caught my attention and I started a conversation with them. While talking with them, I imagined how interesting and important it would be for my children in the Before and After School Program, to show them a little of their country through this embroidery, since many of them do not have or did not have the opportunity to travel to their parents’ home country and where their roots come from.

En mi última visita por México, mi país de origen. Visité un pueblo en el estado de Guanajuato llamado “La Valenciana” caminando entre las calles encontré a unas mujeres bordando. El colorido de sus mantas me llamó tanto la atención y comence una coversación con ellas. Mientras conversaba con ellas imaginaba lo interesante e importante que seria para mis niños en el Programa de Antes y Despues de la Escuala mostrarles un poco de su país a través de éstos bordados, ya que muchos de ellos no tienen o no an tenido la oportunidad de viajar al país de origen de sus padres y de dónde vienen sus raices. 

And so, starts our adventure!

Y asi, comienzo nuestra aventura!

Mexico really is a country of colors, and under this emblem some women of the Otomí-tepehua region dedicate their life to spending their eyes and their hands creating true works of textile art. The Tenangos are a mosaic of colors that when shaped in a blanket, they become a gift that we all wish to have at home.

México realmente es un país de colores, y bajo este distintivo unas mujeres de la región otomí – tepehua dedican su vida a gastar la vista y sus manos para crear verdaderas obras de arte textil; los Tenangos son un mosaico de colores que al ser plasmados en una manta, se convierten en un regalo que todos deseamos tener en casa.

Within the wide range of crafts that are manifested in Mexico, the technique of textiles cannot be forgotten and the famous embroidery at Tenango de Doria in the state of Hidalgo, are an example of a great number of designs out of the mind of those embroiderers who spend every day sewing a new work to dress from a table.

Dentro de la gran gama de artesanía que se manifiestan en México, no puede faltar la técnica de los textiles; y los famosos bordados en Tenango de Doria en el estado de Hidalgo, son un ejemplo de una gran cantidad de diseños salidos de la mente de aquellas bordadoras que pasan todos los días cosiendo a pulso un nueva obra para vestir desde una mesa.

The different designs of Tenangos have been recognized around the world and this gives them an international prestige, “With a beautiful Tenango you will see this garment, no matter where come from.”

Los distintos diseños de los Tenangos han sido reconocidos en todo el mundo y esto les da un prestigio internacional, “Con un Tenango bella te verás con esta prenda, no importa de dónde vengas”.

There are about 400 women in this population who are dedicated to translating what their mind dictates, there is no pattern to follow, only a set of rural figures that can be human, natural or floral and with that colorful touch in blue, green, yellow or red.

Son alrededor de 400 mujeres en esta población quienes se dedican a plasmar lo que su mente les dicta, no hay un patrón a seguir, sólo un conjunto de figuras rurales que pueden ser humanas, naturales o florales y con ese toque colorido en azul, verde, amarillo o rojo.

These masters of the needle demonstrate their talent in white fabrics like linen, blanket, silk, cotton, and other textures in timeframes that can range from weeks to months.

Estas maestras de la aguja demuestran su talento en telas blancas como lino, manta, seda, algodón, y demás texturas en plazos que van de semanas a meses.

Not all the colorful figures are on a white background: they are also made under a black cloth with white or gold embroidery, perhaps yellow backgrounds with red embroidery, and other beautiful combinations that, thanks to their unique designs, put the buyer in a true dilemma of whether to wear a traditional tenango or one that matches more with a room or some piece of their house.

No todas las figuras coloridas van en un fondo blanco, también se hacen bajo una tela negra con bordados blancos o dorados, quizá fondos amarillos con bordados rojos, y otras hermosas combinaciones que–gracias a sus diseños irrepetibles-ponen al comprador en un verdadero dilema de si llevar un tenango tradicional o uno que combine más con la sala o alguna pieza de la casa.

The truth is that a wall is worth putting a work of art on, and a Tenango is that. At the moment, there are exclusive hotels decorating luxurious spaces that give that “Mexican” touch in the decoration.

Lo cierto es que una pared vale la pena poner una obra de arte y un Tenango es eso. Actualmente hay hoteles exclusivos decorando espacios lujosos que le dan ese toque “mexicano” en la decoración.

Horses, birds, deer, daisies, rabbits, trees, dogs, children, donkeys, armadillos, bulls, tulips, dragonflies, fish, hens and other elements of nature perfectly combine with grecas and some other indigenous symbols.

Caballos, pájaros, venados, margaritas, conejos, árboles, perros, niños, burros, armadillos, toros, tulipanes, libélulas, peces, gallinas y demás elementos de la naturaleza combinan perfectamente con grecas y algunos otros símbolos prehispánicos.

Together, they are the perfect canvas that harmonizes the culture and life of the community in different important events like marriage, harvest, some parties, birth and other moments of Otomí-tepehua life.

Juntos, son el lienzo perfecto que armoniza la cultura y la vida de la comunidad en distintos eventos importantes como el matrimonio, la cosecha, algunas fiestas, el nacimiento y otros momentos de la vida otomí-tepehua.

– Isabel Mireles, Childcare Provider, South Park School-Age Care Program

Photos: Natali Wiseman

Community Gallery: WA State High School Photography Competition

Way back in the 1980s, when photographs were made with film, and gas was less than a buck a gallon, the Washington State High School Photography Competition began as the brainchild of a few photography instructors committed to elevating their students’ skills, and celebrating their creativity. Since then, this competition has blossomed into the largest event of its kind in the United States, receiving nearly 4,000 entries every year.

The competition is open to students enrolled in grades 9–12 in a public, private, or alternative high school in Washington State. In 2017, there were twelve categories in which students could enter. The exhibition includes the top three photographs from each category. The categories and rules are reviewed every year and approved by our advisory board of five active high school photography instructors.

Our event relies on the volunteer efforts of high school students and instructors, and the support of a handful of dedicated sponsors including Museum Quality Framing, Kenmore Camera, Canon, Jones Soda, Photographic Center Northwest, Key Bank, and Seattle Sounders FC. We also enjoy a wonderful partnership with the Seattle Art Museum. Since 1995, SAM has showcased our annual exhibit to help celebrate the exceptional talent emerging from our high schools. This collaborative effort helps us achieve our mission to provide a prestigious public platform for student photography.

This year our judges were photographers Chris Bennion, Claire Garoutte and Spike Mafford. They dedicated an entire day to review the thousands of entries. We very much appreciate their time and expertise.

You can see this impressive exhibit at SAM through December 31. For more information contact WSHSPC executive director Kelly Atkinson or visit us on Facebook.

– Kelly Atkinson, Executive Director Washington State High School Photography Competition

Images: Nicole Knittel, Inglemoor H.S. Best in Show. Abby Sandefur, Tacoma School of the Arts, 1st in Portrait.

Visiting Tokyo’s New Yayoi Kusama Museum

Were you one of the more than 130,000 visitors to the Seattle Art Museum’s Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibition over the past summer? If so, then you’ll remember the citywide frenzy of excitement as everyone rushed to get tickets and be the first to post their Kusama selfies. I was lucky enough to visit twice while it was here. So when I learned that the legendary Japanese artist was opening a new museum in Tokyo in October 2017, the same month I would be there, I jumped at the chance to go!

Located in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood, The Yayoi Kusama Museum‘s sleekly curved white building was constructed in 2014, but its purpose was a local mystery until the museum was announced in 2017. The five-story space features paintings, sculpture, and the popular “infinity rooms,” as well as an archive and reading room.

The museum’s inaugural exhibit, Creation is a Solitary Pursuit, Love is What Brings You Closer to Art, focuses on Kusama’s recent work. If you saw the SAM exhibit, you’ll recognize the large, vividly colored paintings of her latest series, My Eternal Soul. Frenetic, pulsing with energy, and almost biological—like gigantic microscope slides of cells and amoeba—there’s an uneasy tension between the bright rainbow of colors that pull you in and the jarring, repetitive forms that repel the eye.

Visiting the Kusama Museum is a surprisingly hushed and peaceful experience. Only four sets of 70 people are admitted per day, so there were only a few people in each gallery. In the museum’s Infinity Room, we were allowed to stay for two full minutes, walking around the glowing cube of orange-gold pumpkins, and we could take all the selfies we wanted. With such a small crowd, it was easy to get into the Infinity Room alone—and now that I’ve done it, I believe silence and solitude is the best way to truly immerse yourself in the illusion of limitless space and light.

Speaking of selfies, you won’t want to miss the museum’s restroom. That might sound odd, but the restrooms and elevators are decorated with wall-to-wall mirrors and red polka dots. Photography isn’t allowed inside the galleries (other than the Infinity Room), but this might just be your best bathroom selfie ever.

Since the SAM exhibition featured five Infinity Rooms, some visitors might feel a bit disappointed that this museum offers only one. But Kusama is a prolific artist in many media, and her museum offers a carefully curated selection representing the themes and styles of her 65-year-long career. While they’re small, the quiet, uncrowded galleries make for a uniquely intimate atmosphere.

If you’re headed to Tokyo and interested in learning more about Kusama’s career and legacy, the Yayoi Kusama Museum gives you a chance to get up close and personal with her art—just as she intended.

IF YOU GO: The Yayoi Kusama Museum is open Thursdays through Sundays and national holidays (closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays). Reserve tickets for four timed slots per day on the first day of the month for the following month (e.g., December 1 for the month of January), starting at 10 am, Japan time.

Stephanie Perry, SAM Member

Photos: Stephanie Perry

Art Champ: Lawrence Cenotto

Lawrence Cenotto, SAM’s multi-talented Events and Group Sales Manager, was selected the crowd favorite in the SAM Staff Art Show that hung in the South Hall Community Gallery, August 30 to September 24. A SAM employee since 2012, Cenotto has been making art for much longer than that. He often feels as if he was born in the wrong era and wishes he could have been a court painter for some king or queen hundreds of years ago (and he would like to point out that if any royalty or rich benefactors are reading this that he is available).

A Washington native, Cenotto grew up in Lakewood (which he reminds us is where COPS was filmed) and went to Gonzaga in Spokane (the other place in the state where COPS was filmed, Cenotto points out). His two passions have long been art and sports, though eventually the art became his focus. He recently combined the two when he got to be on a private, after-hours tour of Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors with Russell Wilson and Ciara and take a picture of them in the Obliteration Room, a highlight of his five-and-a-half years here at SAM. This gets us to today, where we’ll be talking with Cenotto about his creative drive and his winning painting, Santa Maria della Salute.

SAM: When did you start painting? 

Lawrence Cenotto: My first memory of making art is drawing animals I found in books at my grandparent’s house or drawing football players on Monday Night Football while watching with my grandpa when I was about five or six years old. I’m sure there was some tempera or finger painting in there somewhere, but I didn’t really start painting until high school when I started making watercolors of The Beatles and landscapes from photos I found in the stacks of National Geographic magazines we had in the art lab.

Did you study art at Gonzaga?

I started as an art major there, yes, but an early morning class my first semester staring at slides of pre-historic art made me feel like I was sitting in Ben Stein’s class in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off so I switched to a business major while keeping art as a minor so I could still take the studio classes.

I see a lot of paintings of Venice on your website, did something about that specific location inspire you? Did the Seeing Nature exhibition strike a chord with you?

Venice is my favorite city, along with Paris. I‘ve always been a big fan of architecture. The uniqueness of the city, mixed with my northern Italian bloodline, made me fall in love with the city. I’ve always liked building things and my brain  is wired very much like an engineer, but my heart draws me to the art side of things. Had I gone to a different school I probably would have gone into architecture but Gonzaga did not have an architecture program. I respect the art form from a design perspective and all the planning that goes into it (I am very meticulous) and maybe painting buildings is my way of getting that out of my system like I’m George Costanza pretending to be an architect. Seeing Nature was definitely one of my favorite exhibitions that SAM has had (probably right behind Intimate Impressionism) because it incorporated a lot of paintings of Venice with my favorite art movement, Impressionism.

Can you tell me more about the two versions of you painting, Santa Maria della Salute and the 10 years between them? You mentioned that you hope that you’ll think back on this painting in 10 years like you think back on the original, what do you mean by this?  

Unfortunately the older version can’t be seen anymore unless you put it through an x-ray (because I painted the new one on top of the old one) but I do have pictures to show the difference. When I look at the newer version I think it is much better than the older version, so 10 years from now I hope to be able to continue to develop my painting techniques. In the meantime I can indulge myself in delusions of grandeur in envisioning future art historians putting my paintings through rigorous x-ray testing like I’m Leonardo da Vinci or something.

Do you often revisit paintings and paint them again? 

Not very often. This might be the second painting I have re-done, though I am currently working on one that I originally completed around the same time period. One of my biggest problems in painting is that I get too excited to start the painting itself so I rush through the drawing process and often find things I wish I had changed, which is hard to fix once the paint is wet. I think I’m saving myself time but it ends up taking longer than if I had just focused on finalizing the drawing. It’s like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football . . . he knows that Lucy is going to pull it at the last second but he can’t help himself.

What inspires you? 

I don’t claim that my art has any deep meaning or significance. I just try to capture moments and places that I find beauty in. Since I don’t have a knack for photography, painting is the way I best express that. Other artists definitely inspire me—I want to be able to see the world as they do and I want to challenge myself to see if I can compare to their skill. I am definitely more of a realist, although I would like to have more of a “painterly” style like Edouard Manet (my favorite artist). I have a hard time not trying to make my paintings look as real as possible. My other favorite artists are Diego Velasquez and Canaletto (who I am probably the most similar to in terms of style and subject matter and last name).

Lastly, how long have you been playing fantasy football? Because I have lost every game! 

I started the SAM league three years ago but I’ve played with my friends for about 15 years and it’s one of the most frustrating things I have ever subjected myself too. The stars aligned once and I won back in college but other than that it’s a never-ending cycle of disappointment and thinking I jinxed someone when they get injured which is why I never draft any Seahawks. To go back to the Charlie Brown example, I know I’m going to be mad at the end of the year and that the fantasy football gods are going to pull the football away from me at the last moment as soon as I get a glimmer of hope, but I can’t help myself from trying to kick it anyways.

– Chelsea Werner-Jatzke, Copywriter/ Content Strategist

Photo: Natali Wiseman
Latent Home Zero

Muse/News: Art News from SAM, Seattle, and Beyond

SAM News

The Stranger launched their new format last week! The art section’s lead story was on Latent Home Zero by Christopher Paul Jordan at the Olympic Sculpture Park, which closes today—so head over there!

“Equal parts historian and visionary, Jordan uses the overlapping histories of land use, urban planning, and displacement in Tacoma as a microcosm to address the whole history of black migration across the United States. ‘We’ve been everywhere,’ says Jordan. ‘Urban space, rural space, but with every generation comes a new form of displacement, mass migration, and exclusion. Take a step back, how do we take agency of how we construct our belonging away from our homeland?’”

SAM’s Art Beyond Sight tours for visitors with low or no vision were featured in the Seattle Times last week with photos from a recent tour this summer at the Olympic Sculpture Park.

City Arts gets on our level: Priya Frank, SAM’s Associate Director of Community Programs, was interviewed for the October edition of Taste Test. #Radbassador

Local News

The Seattle Times’ Michael Upchurch reviews Humaira Abid: Searching for Home at Bellevue Art Museum, noting that the sculptor “hits a new peak, combining technical prowess with fierce vision to produce charged political drama.”

Via KUOW: Prompted by their daughter’s concern, a Seattle family returned to the Sealaska Heritage Institute a Chilkat robe that hung in their dining room for years, unaware that it was a sacred clan object.

Seattle Magazine highlights Forced From Home, a traveling virtual reality exhibit at SLU’s Discovery Center this week that offers “a more nuanced understanding of the refugee crisis.”

Inter/National News

The New York Times on the Studio Museum’s superstar director/chief curator Thelma Golden and its plans for a new David Adjaye-designed building.

“’So many of the shows she did were not just great shows but reframed art history,’ said Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s current director. ‘Thelma was instrumental in making possible the whole rethinking of not just African-American art but American art.’”

WIRED takes on art in the age of Instagram, asking “where do we draw the line between art and Instagram filler?”

Cabbage Patch Kids, inflatable air dancers, and Shake Shack: Just a few of the wonderful, everyday things that started out as art.

And Finally

Those production values tho! Our friends at Analog Coffee with a helpful tutorial on an art form we at SAM have perhaps overlooked.

– Rachel Eggers, Public Relations Manager

Image: Installation view of Latent Home Zero, 2017, Christopher Paul Jordan, American, Seattle Art Museum Commission, photo: Mark Woods.

SAM Gallery Artists on Seattle: Troy Gua

The life of the artist is often romanticized and misunderstood. Here at SAM we support artists on an international and local level through hanging their artwork in our exhibitions and installations, creating programs led by teaching artists, and showcasing artists in SAM Gallery where visitors can purchase art to begin their own collection. Learn about the experience of being a contemporary artist in Seattle by hearing from our SAM Gallery artists. First up is Troy Gua whose work is currently on view at TASTE Café in SAM through November 9, 2017. You can also see Troy’s work at the Washington State Convention Center via SAM Gallery through January 15, 2018, as well as at Out of Sight through August 2017 and Feast Art Center in Tacoma through September 16, 2017. Learn more about how living in Seattle impacts this pop-culture inspired, multi-media artist.

Of course, I can only speak for myself when I say that the state of being a working artist in Seattle has never been better. There are those who are struggling and would strongly disagree, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have found a path that works for me and that has developed into a sustainable income and way of life (fingers crossed), and it really all started, and continues, with my partnership with SAM Gallery. They’ve introduced my work to so many collectors—seasoned as well as first-timers just starting their collections with my work, to real estate developers and entrepreneurs looking to activate their spaces with art, all adding layers of engagement and connection that I could only fantasize about without them.

When I first signed on to work with Barbara Shaiman and SAM Gallery in 2009, it was huge for me. They sold a lot of paintings and got a lot of eyeballs in front of my work, but it wasn’t until the gallery was moved (at last!) into the museum building that things really took off. Jody Bento took the reins and honored me with the first show in the beautiful new space, which also happened to be the gallery’s first ever solo show, and it was beyond my wildest dreams. That was December 2013, and since then, the city has exploded in growth.

Now, there are two sides to everything, and urban growth and population explosions have their downsides, to be sure, but I’m looking at it from the standpoint of being given the opportunity to provide more folks with personal and cultural enrichment through art, and boy am I grateful for that opportunity. But I’m also sympathetic and not blind to the fact that the population boom is causing many artists to be priced out of the city, forced to move and they are taking their artistic energy with them, friends included. That’s a lose-lose situation and it sucks.

Having more people in your city doesn’t automatically translate into having more people in your gallery, though, and I know what a privilege it is to be affiliated with a space that is as accessible as an art gallery can possibly be, at the center of the city’s cultural hub, with staff that are engaging and nurturing, helpful and attentive, with not a whiff of pretension. I think the secret (which is no secret at all) is inclusivity. As Keith Haring said, ‘Art is for everyone’, and for those looking for it in Seattle, it’s everywhere.

There’s so much constantly going on that, even for those with the energy and wherewithal to try, it’s hard to keep up with. From the monthly gallery art walk nights in Pioneer Square, Georgetown, Capitol Hill, and just about every other neighborhood in the city, to the special (and oftentimes mind blowing) exhibitions at spaces like MadArt and Pivot in South Lake Union, from the city’s public art programming to DIY art spaces and the bounty of coffee shops, cafés, and restaurants that show local art, it really is everywhere—an abundance of favorable circumstances for folks to express themselves and experience creativity in our beautiful but changing city. Lucky us!

– Troy Gua, SAM Gallery artist

Images: Islands, Troy Gua, digital print and resin, 30 x 48 in. Tahoma (After Hokusai), Troy Gua, digital print and resin, 30 x 48 in. Heartland, from the Immaculate Disaster Series, Troy Gua, 24 x 36 in., digital print and resin.


Get to Know SAM’s VSOs: Alexandrew Wong

Alexandrew (Alex) Wong is an artist and native Seattleite, raised in the south end of the city. He attended Franklin High School where he first learned to use wood tools to create art. At the University of Washington, Alex thrived and was accepted into the School of Art as a 3D4M major. He gained skill sets using tools to create multimedia sculptures with glass, wood, steel, and ceramics. Alex joined the SAM as a Visitor Services Officer (VSO) after he graduated. He’s been here for about a year and a half and truly enjoys it.

SAM: Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors opened June 30 and runs until September 10. What is your favorite piece in this exhibition?
Alex: My favorite piece in Yayoi Kusama is The Obliteration Room. The idea of creating a room and sticking colored dots on the living room surface is genius. The concept is so playful and colorful. One thing I struggled with in school was using color, I was terrible at it. But the room itself uses people to contribute to the art and has them color the piece themselves. Genius.

What is your favorite piece of art currently on display at SAM?
My favorite piece at SAM is the Native American house posts. The skill in creating those posts is phenomenal. Imagine the carver themselves, just chipping away at a log for hours to create the four things that hold your house up.

Who is your favorite artist?
Kendrick Lamar, his music keeps me going. When it’s time to get hyped, I start bumping his tunes. For those wondering put on “m.A.A.d City,” “Swimming Pools,” “HUMBLE,” “King Kunta,” and “Backseat Freestyle.” Tell me these don’t get you hyped up too.

What advice can you offer to guests visiting SAM?
The bathrooms in the forum are to the left at the end of John Grade’s Middle Fork (the south side of the tree).

Tell us more about you! When you’re not at SAM, what do you spend your time doing?
I work at an art co-op in Capitol Hill, Blue Cone Studios, where I create ceramic sculptures. So to whomever is reading this, come check my work out. I’ll teach you a thing or two about clay. I’ll provide materials and lessons. We do art walk every second Thursday. Come by and let’s talk art.

– Katherine Humphreys, SAM Visitor Services Officer