Michael Doucett
Diana Adams doesn't like attention. The unassuming owner of Vermillion, the art gallery and bar, would rather work behind the scenes, hustling to hold a space for art in a neighborhood that has increasingly less room for it. Until February 3, you can take in the glowing, techno biosphere of The Luminous Garden group show. But for the full Vermillion experience, you must continue down the hallway to the dimly-lit, semi-secret bar, where on any given evening you might stumble on a hiphop show, a feminist panel discussion, or a synth dance party. It's a community gathering place that Adams has worked hard to build since she opened her 11th Avenue spot in 2007, which is why this self-described introvert is submitting to this glamour shot and questionnaire. "I will trade my comfort to help people be creative," she says.

We're on the cusp of 2017. What do you want to see for your business in the coming year?

A profit. Seriously, I've been doing this for a while, and breaking even has been the only option, which is sad. It's getting harder with the way the economy is changing. When V2 construction starts, get ready for a pity party over here.

What's the most fun part of your job? What's the hardest?

The most fun part is basically feeling like my living room is home to every creative person I never imagined I would meet. The hardest part is the logistics of being in two worlds at once—a dreamy arts world but then worrying about the bottom line and when (not if) someone's going to puke on the floor or stuff a syringe down the toilet.

Music has become a big part of what Vermillion is all about. Heard anything good lately?

I am really proud of the music programming Seth Alexander and Table & Chairs are curating [every first Thursday and second Wednesday, respectively], which is jazz-inspired and innovative. I'm happy to support the local hiphop scene as well, and I will always hold it down for Wizdumb and Specswizard. As for the new kids, Luna God and his crew are all the rage. The live music has breathed a lot of life into Vermillion's existence.

Let's talk about the city. Where's your favorite place for a dinner with friends?

I rarely meet friends for dinner. I prefer to go out by myself and space out or eavesdrop a little. Not in a gossip way, but you wouldn't believe what you learn by dining alone! Holy cow, I could be the next Rona Barrett!

I can probably guess what your favorite bar is. What's your drink?

I have everything I could possibly drink alcohol-wise at my disposal, so I get kind of bored with that. I have a thing for Cran-Grape and hot tea.

What's your strategy for dealing with Seattle's winter gloom?

Love, love, love the winter gloom. If I can sleep through it, even better. But seriously, I get energized by the potential of having time to be creative. My former discipline is photography, so a lot of darkroom time.

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With Capitol Hill changing so rapidly, how does Vermillion keep its connection to the neighborhood?

Right now, people are desperate for art, culture, expression, and community building (I am, too), so they find me. It's built into my business model. I just have to stay open and do my job. recommended