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“GREEN” Eggs and SAM

In the past couple of weeks I’ve heard a lot of talk in the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) offices about an infamous group called The SAM Goes Green Team. The more email notices the Green Team sent out about daily “green” tips or “green” contests between staff members, the more I became curious about who takes part in this coalition, and what it takes to initiate “green” practices at SAM.

 

To investigate further, I decided to interview the head of the Green Team, Liz Stone. Liz holds the title of Operations Assistant/ Digital Media Support Specialist at SAM.  Liz is a spirited, young woman who brings a lot of light to the busy offices here at SAM. When I asked to interview her, she was very excited for the opportunity to represent SAM’s “green” roots and sustainability concerns.

I asked Liz, “When did the Green Team start at SAM?”  She provided the following information:

 

The Green Team was started in 2006, shortly before the Olympic Sculpture Park opened in January 2007. It began with a handful of staff representing different departments who were interested in making a difference. The excitement around Olympic Sculpture Park gave the museum the momentum it needed to develop an environmental face for SAM. Examples of how SAM conducts green operations in many different capacities include:

  • Reduced the museum’s carbon footprint, including cuts in energy use, paper conservation, and waste reduction
  • Switched to 100% recycled copy paper
  • Earned Salmon-Safe certification of land management practices at the Olympic Sculpture Park.
  • Supported SAM’s museum educators in designing art activities that use repurposed, recycled and non-toxic supplies
  • Created a culture of sustainability within SAM, including meeting with departments to identify barriers to “going green”

 

“There have been a few different Green Team leaders at SAM, but I was approached in 2011 and asked if I would take the reins of the Green Team to keep it moving forward,” Liz says.

 

In overseeing the Green Team, Liz presents green tips and activities in media posts and helps maintain sustainability around the offices. Each division at SAM—from IT to Exhibition Design to Engineering—has a representative on the Green Team.

 

SAM is also a Presenting Partner with Seattle Center Foundation and Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas in presenting the performance, red, black, GREEN: a blues. This performance is coming to Seattle Center’s Intiman Theater May 30–June 2 for the Next 50 Festival and brings artists Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Theaster Gates back to Seattle once again! Both artists, as educators and social activists, strive through their work to ignite our collective responsibility towards social and environmental sustainability for every community. This performance shares SAM’s values in combining community engagement with art to work towards a greener, more sustainable community. The Green Team and Liz Stone are working hard to activate everyone’s involvement in “going green”.

 

You can also find more details about SAM’s environmental commitment and the SAM Goes Green initiative, as well as a list of partners joined in this initiative when you visit the SAM website. Some commitments involve joining the City of Seattle’s Seattle Climate Partnership and Seattle Climate Action Now to reduce SAM’s carbon footprint. You can also read more about the SAM Goes Green Team history on previous SAMblog posts, including SAM’s recent participation in the worldwide Earth Hour event.

 

Make Your Own Wonderful Wardrobe at the Seattle Asian Art Museum on Free First Saturday

On Saturday, May 5, bring your family to the Seattle Asian Art Museum for Free First Saturday! Explore the exhibition Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats, and design your own wearable art inspired by gorgeous garments from central Asia.
This fun-filled day will feature special performances by Silk Road Dance Company, which has delighted audiences around the country with traditional and fusion dances from the Middle East and Central Asia. Performing Uzbek, Afghani, Tadjik, Azerbaijani, Kurdish, Persian, and Egyptian dance techniques rarely seen in the United States, Silk Road Dance Company offers a unique glimpse of the life, culture, and art of little known regions.

Please note that a large public event in Volunteer Park will be taking place all day May 5. We recommend that you allow extra time for parking and walking to the Seattle Asian Art Museum. You also may want to consider biking or taking a bus instead of driving.

Free First Saturday at the Seattle Asian Art Museum is presented by Russell Investments with support provided by The Peg & Rick Young Foundation.

-Madeline Moy, Digital Media Manager

From Shy Teen to Arts Leader

Here’s a guest post by Maddie Thomas, of SAM’s Teen Advisory Group!

Three years ago I was strolling through SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park and saw a poster for an event called “Art Attack – Teen Night Out.” The title of the event seemed appealing, but the poster design is what really caught my attention: an abstract, romantic depiction of a teenage Rapunzel-esque girl with billowy swirls of hair. Fascinated by the uniqueness of the occasion’s advertisement, I marked my calendar with the date and time and was excited to attend. I had only been to the SAM a handful of times before and loved it, so going to a teen focused event there seemed great.

There was only one problem. Three years ago also marked my first year of high school. As a freshman I was fairly timid. I’d grown up loving art but none of my friends at the time were artistic. I couldn’t think of anyone to invite who would appreciate the event. The evening Teen Night Out rolled around, I didn’t end up going. I was too scared attend an event of that scale on my own and never found anyone to go with me.

Filled with regret, the following summer I checked SAM’s website to see if there were any other upcoming teen events. I realized Teen Night Out only happens twice a year, once in fall and once in the spring. But while browsing the website I discovered a teen program at the museum called the Teen Advisory Group (TAG). The website described TAG as a group of teen leaders who were “highly opinionated, creative, visionary, loud, committed, etc.” It also revealed that TAG did the planning for Teen Night Out! Mystified, I immediately filled out an application for the program online. A few months later as a sophomore, I got an email informing me about an approaching meeting for teens who were interested in the program. I attended the meeting, and a few other interviews, then received a confirmation email saying I’d been accepted into the program. I was ecstatic!

At the very first meeting, I felt an energy and common ground with the other teens in TAG I had never experienced before. Everyone seemed united. Even though there were over 20 of us, we all had mutual creative interests and a strong appreciation for art. Additional meetings and various “ice-breaker” games revealed that we shared even more collective interests. I was finally making up for the lack of artistic friends that I had freshman year.

Making new friends was a definite bonus of TAG, but it wasn’t why we were there. Members of TAG get to interact with the community through volunteering at local events, be creative with art activities and occasional lessons from SAM Teaching Artists, and are granted opportunities to meet and interview artists. While the Nick Cave: Meet me at the Center of the Earth exhibition was at the SAM, TAG members got a preview of the exhibit. Three days before it was open to the public, Nick Cave himself came to the museum and gave us a personal tour of his work. The tour with Nick was stunningly intimate; wet paint signs covered the walls, various sculptures still needed to be unpackaged and assembled. The raw version of the exhibit was the most fascinating time I viewed that show (I probably saw it over 20 times): I never had been part of something so exclusive. SAM provides amazing opportunities for teens, that moment in the galleries with Nick being a fine example. Though volunteering and special opportunities are wonderful, the major focus of the group is curating Teen Night Out.

I’m a junior this year. I have returned for a second year to be part of TAG, and I’m currently in the process of helping to plan our next Teen Night Out on Friday, April 13. The event is being organized to show off the museum’s special exhibition: the fabulous Gauguin & Polynesia, as well as showcase local musicians, dance groups and artists. The focus of the event will be to bring teens into the museum and prove that SAM breaks traditional museum stereotypes: the notion of museums being boring places with stuffy security guards telling you not to touch things. That image doesn’t fit SAM in any way. SAM is a friendly, modern, energetic museum full of diversity, which will be showcased at Teen Night Out.

As an efficient way to plan for Teen Night Out, we’ve divided our TAG group into specific committees to focus on individual elements of the event. These committees include: promotion, tours & event operation, interactive activities, and performance. I am on the performance committee and will be stage managing the event with my fellow TAG member Chris Cosby. Stage managing will give me the chance to interact with the performers by helping them load in, make them comfortable in their green room spaces, make sure all goes well with sound checks and set up, as well as load out. I stage managed during last year’s Nick Cave focused Teen Night Out; it can be rather stressful, but I know everything will go smoothly this year with help from Chris.

Looking forward to the upcoming event has also caused me to reflect on my entire experience with TAG so far and how much I’ve changed. Being a member of TAG has boosted my self-confidence tremendously. I’m now a better leader and more efficient when working with a team. At our weekly meetings I’m exposed to a wide range of perspectives, which has helped me grow as a person and look outside of myself. Though I get the added bonus of service learning hours for school through TAG, my main motive for being a member is to participate in new experiences. I especially valued being a summer counselor at SAM Camp, and speaking at an Art Education Forum this past March with Mayor McGinn and other passionate youth. Being a TAG member has further increased my interest in the art world. I would love to be on a public relations or marketing team for an art museum someday. Most importantly, thanks to SAM I’m no longer that timid little freshman who felt like she had no artsy friends and was afraid to speak up for herself. I am now a powerful junior with a bright and creative future ahead, and enough confidence to inspire other teens to get involved.

-Maddie Thomas, Teen Advisory Group Member

Art Going Dark: SAM’s Participation in Earth Hour

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about global warming and the issues facing the world due to climate change. What you might not have heard about is a little event called Earth Hour. Earth Hour is a worldwide event that was started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 by the World Wildlife Federation and over the last 5 years has exponentially grown to include135 countries and more than 5,200 cities and towns around the world. It occurs on the last Saturday of March, from 8:30–9:30 pm. The goal of the event is to encourage environmental action and change on a grassroots level. So on March 31st at 8:30 pm people, businesses and cities around the world are encouraged to shut off non-essential lights in their homes, offices and facilities with the hope that people will commit to ongoing environmental change. And SAM will be among the multitude participating! Read More

SAM Scavenger Hunt on Twitter!

At tonight’s KOMO News meetup, there will be a Twitter scavenger hunt through the SAM Collection Galleries.  The three images below are segments of pieces SAM is currently showcasing.  Take a photo of yourself with each piece and tweet it to @iheartSAM with the hashtag #KOMOatSAM.  Everyone who correctly identifies all three pieces of artwork will be entered to win two tickets to see Gauguin & Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise and will receive a free exhibition poster!

The images can be found on the @iheartSAM Twitter feed.  After tweeting your images, come to the meetup registration desk in the Brotman Forum to claim your free poster.  Best of luck!

Lots of Free Fun for February’s First Thursday!

All of these events on February 2 are free and open to the public. For more information, please visit SAM’s website at seattleartmuseum.org.

Ladies Musical Club Recital
Noon-1 pm
Pletscheeff Auditorium, SAM Downtown
Seattle’s oldest arts organization presents an afternoon of classical music performed by club members and special guests. This month’s performance features Selina Chu (piano), Karin McCullough (piano) and Catherine Treadgold (mezzo-soprano).

KOMO News Meetup
6-8 pm
Brotman Forum, SAM Downtown
Join KOMO News at SAM Downtown for drinks, music, prize giveaways and great art! Admission to SAM’s Collection Galleries will be free, including one of our newest exhibitions, Theaster Gates: The Listening Room. Incorporating a vast array of disciplines, Theaster Gates’ solo exhibition at SAM will transform the gallery with cultural ephemera. Coupled with objects and architectural elements that elicit stories through every day practices, the backbone of the installation will be a collection of vinyl records that reflect cultural and social currents of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Every First Thursday, a DJ will be spinning  and a volunteer archivist will be recording those mixes.

Theaster Gates: To Play a People’s Music
6:30 pm
Kane Hall 120, University of Washington Seattle Campus
The Seattle Art Museum and the University of Washington’s College of Built Environments are bringing Theaster Gates back to Seattle for a free lecture. Gates provided the following description for his talk: “This night, we will play and sing songs. We will reflect and breathe together. We will remember why sentiment was a necessary political tactic. The nostalgic, the desperate and the mundane worked perfectly for love, revolution and trans-national belief accumulation. It is melodic word, not just the spoken, that gives soul-power. Sound all alone has done so much. I want to be funk and gospel and soul. I am curious about yourselves and how the podium might move us all if we ride together. 2 turntables and a mic recomposed. Maybe.”

Food and Faith in Japan Lecture Series
Modernizing Mochi: From Divine Mirror to Frozen Treat
7-8 pm
Stimson Auditorium, Seattle Asian Art Museum

Independent anthropologist and artist Julia Harrision will look at the many forms, flavors, and cultural roles assigned to mochi, a traditional Japanese food made of pounded rice, and the technological, historical, and religious factors that influence how mochi is made and consumed.

SAM SHOP: Great for Holiday Shopping

The goal of any holiday shopping excursion is to find something for your friends, family or significant other that is genuinely special and will surprise them. Whether it is an amusing novelty item or an exquisite hand-made mask, it is important to find a gift that will bring a smile to the receiver’s face.

Normally, I wouldn’t go to a museum shop to buy my Christmas gifts, I’ll admit, but I decided to give it a try and it was a good thing I did. I always had it in my mind that SAM SHOP sold only museum paraphernalia, a place to sell catalogues and books on the featured artists and not a place to do my holiday shopping. Instead, I landed on a shop that I immediately knew housed items that my friends and family would love. As I walked around the shop, the first thing I noticed was a common theme. Everything I looked at was unlike anything I’d seen before. It seems clichéd to say, but it is true. Many of the pieces in SAM’s Shop are actually one-of-a-kind pieces made by local artists. Most of the hats and scarves are made locally and about 85% of the jewelry artists live in the area, setting this shop apart from other stores.

After my initial walk-through, I doubled back to the three things that caught my eye. First, there were the Whisky Stones. They were next to the graffiti cocktail shakers, which are fun in their own right but the stones seemed both useful and original. I spent a semester abroad in Scotland and if there is one thing that the Scottish take pride in, it’s the quality of their whisky, so these little guys immediately caught my eye.

In short, these are stones that keep your whisky cold without diluting the taste. You can buy an entire set with tumblers included or just the stones by themselves. Personally, I thought the idea was ingenious.

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