ARTnews' summer issue recently hit the streets, with its annual list of the world's top 200 art collectors. While the magazine's editors aren't terribly transparent about the methods and strictures for this contest (Are these personal art collections? Do corporate collections count? How are they tallying these figures anyway?), it's still somewhat gratifying to see such a slew of Seattle-area collectors listed--with the emphasis on "area," since most of them are from the Eastside; evidently Medina has been annexed, as Bill and Melinda Gates are listed as Seattleites. At any rate, my personal favorite collectors, Bill and Ruth True, made the cut, along with downtown developers (and putative city council pets) Richard and Betty Hedreen, in addition to a few others. And there, in the top 10, is Paul Allen, whose collection runs to "antiquities; tribal art; Old Masters; Impressionism; Pop art."

It must have been a heady couple of weeks for Allen; I do hope making the top of ARTnews' list took some of the sting out of having his Experience Music Project make the top of another list: Forbes' "Ugliest Buildings in the World," which has nothing to do with slums, but with big costly follies, "selected" (so the editors said) "because they cost so much and look so awful." The EMP resembles "an overgrown titanium blemish on the landscape," and is, in the scope of Frank Gehry's career, "a dud."

Well, it's always nice to be noticed.

···

On the other end of the cultural scale--grassroots and DIY, as opposed to gazillionaristic and corporate--is Ladyfest Seattle, due to arrive in our fair city March of 2003. Maybe you've seen the orange fliers calling for volunteers. I have, everywhere, so I did a wee bit of investigating.

Ladyfest is a women-in-the-arts festival, with loads of music, performance, visual art, and panels and workshops on making things, dealing with things, changing things. It began, as did so many alt-girl things, in Olympia in 2000 (featuring music from such fine women as Neko Case, the Gossip, and Sleater-Kinney, art from Nikki McClure and Stella Marrs, and advice from women in business such as Rebecca Pearcy, whose Queen Bee handbags are a Capitol Hill staple), and spawned satellite versions all over the country as well as Europe and Canada. The idea seems to be to stay local, local, local; in cruising the websites for various Ladyfests, I didn't find many artists who had made the national scene--yet. To support these hard-working ladies with money or volunteer time, go to www.ladyfestseattle.org.

emily@thestranger.com

Support The Stranger