Westlake Park is about as close as Seattle has to the soapbox corner of Hyde Park in London, where speakers of various loopy varieties hector passersby daily on subjects of their choice, and where I once participated in an anti-Gulf War rally and march as a naive student. Westlake has seen its share of anti-Balkan War protesters this year, but last week, a much less strident group took hold of the area around the arch to rally around the idea of the new downtown library. For seven hours on Wednesday, August 18, a knot of literary and architectural types held a "dream forum" to collect public ideas for the library. Equipment available included a modest amplification system, 10 typewriters, a slide projector, two bikes, a small library of books, a tape recorder, scissors, tape, glue, paper, markers, and a video camera.

Co-organizer Matthew Stadler says the event generated plenty of unrelated detritus, but during my brief visit I saw a few relevant ideas, good and bad. Several people seemed concerned that the library will continue its current primary role as a daytime hangout for homeless people; several others suggested on-site daycare for users, so they could peruse the stacks without their yowling children. The open microphone proved popular, especially when a knot of aspiring rappers took over. Their ideas tended to revolve more around the female pudendum than dreams for the library, but when prompted by Stadler, they dutifully offered up a freestyle rap, rhyming "the library is so boring" and "snoring."

The most charming aspect of the event was its simple suggestion that something like a library could be the focus of dreams, which is very Jorge Luis Borges of them.

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A familiar face showed up in a new place last Friday. A press release announced that Sara Pasti, until recently Managing Director of On the Boards, would inaugurate the position of Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Henry Art Gallery. Pasti left her post at On the Boards in late July, at the conclusion of a torturous power struggle between her, the board of trustees, and Artistic Director Mark Murphy. Her resume includes stints at many prestigious institutions, including the Socrates Sculpture Park, Thread Waxing Space, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where she served as project director for Artists in Action, an initiative to commission performance works from visual artists, including Vito Acconci, Ilya Kabakov, and Nayland Blake (whose Brooklyn Academy of Music commission was seen as a work in progress at On the Boards).

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From the scrappy artist zine Redheaded Stepchild to the civic activists of Allied Arts to a forum sponsored by CoCA, it seems the biggest issue in the local art scene is the difficulty artists have in finding good cheap legal space where they can both live and work in central Seattle. Not one to wait for government action, one anonymous person has proposed a solution, viewed recently on East Pine Street in front of the ballfield. There, a Chevy van was parked with a sign in its window offering it for sale at $750, and noting that it was a "great live/work space." Trust the free market to come up with creative solutions to thorny problems every time.