Look, this is going to be nuts. It's a 5K with a cause, and the cause is art, and 80 artists will create art for you to experience along the route, and the finish line is a house party. The house will wear a video projection, and critics (including me) will interview individual artists from the bathtub upstairs—and the interviews will be live-streamed down into the living room, where there will be a group show called Soft Desires I Can Trace. If none of that is to your liking, you can join or observe art dealers, curators, and other art-pro types playing poker at the kitchen table. Or you can grab a beer, go outside or to "Larry's garage next door," and listen to the bands of Seattle artists, with names like Hair and Space Museum or East Coast Accordicore—or to the basement for a dance party DJed by a local installation artist inspired by Leonard Cohen, Hurricane Katrina, and the prison writings of Vaclav Havel.
At this 5K, you must not run. Running is the only thing you could possibly do wrong here. The organizers were not able to secure the permits that would be necessary for a running event, so instead of being called the NEPO 5K Run, it is called the NEPO 5K Don't Run.
"NEPO" refers to NEPO House, a private residence on Beacon Hill (1723 S Lander St). It is the home of Klara Glosova, who makes saggy things like old roller skates, their tongues lolling, and dangling iPod earbuds, in ceramic. She lives in the house with her husband and two sons, and quarterly they let her turn it upside down so that art can be everywhere inside it and on its lawn and its siding. I once found works of art on their pillows, in their jewelry boxes, and in lieu of clothes in their closet. Poetry has occurred in the shower. A wine fountain sculpture has appeared in the recycling bin. I have had fun at NEPO, and I have had reflective experiences, too. One large sculpture incorporating a video came in the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami earlier this year. The Japanese-born Seattle artist stood still on the video screen, facing longingly toward Japan from the windy Washington Coast, while a wave of linoleum climbed the room (NEPO's enlarged entryway, where most of the formal art gets displayed).
Glosova wanted more artist friends; that's the simple reason NEPO exists. Before NEPO, she was toiling alone, like most artists. It's not an overstatement to say that because of her, the overall level of alone-toiling in Seattle has decreased. Whiting Tennis, Mandy Greer, Mike Pham—I would give you a list of all the artists who are taking part in NEPO 5K Don't Run, but there is no point. Name an artist, and s/he's probably part of this.
Instead, I will share with you the titles of some of the artworks that will stream by you on the streets between Occidental Park, where things begin in the afternoon, and NEPO House, while you are not-running: Barcode Poem. Mobile Home. Encounters at the End of Hing Hay Park. Thread and Nail. Fish Farm. Extinctable. Boundary of Vacancy (Motorcycle). People Don't Run Through Color. Spider Dance. A Good Reminder to Always Sign Your Work. Flock of Disproven Theories Written as Facts. Tree-Map. Fold-Up Elephant. Babbit.
NEPO 5K Don't Run starts Sat Sept 10 at 2 pm at Occidental Park; house party at finish line (1723 S Lander St) from 6–10 pm; free.