More Sculpture Invasion

Perhaps it was all the fire and music spent over Pigs on Parade, but I entirely failed to notice Soul Salmon. It's another fundraiser, more low-key, but every bit as earnest and unintentionally bland. Chimacum artists Sara Mall Johani and Tom Jay have created three different anatomically correct salmon (male and pregnant female coho, plus an alevin--a baby fish that looks like a minnow with a goiter), which are being sponsored by and then decorated by artists... you know the drill. EMILY HALL


As the Door Revolves

One of the many problems with bureaucracy is its facelessness, and as we bid farewell to Susan Trapnell, the executive director of the Seattle Arts Commission, and reflect on what her year here has wrought... we realize we have no idea what she's done. A very quick and unscientific survey of artists--most of whom are at least marginally involved in local arts politics--drew very similar responses, all variations on "dunno." All the meetings, interviews, press releases don't seem to have amounted to much in terms of money to artists. There seem to be a lot of neighborhood programs, but weren't they already there? What about the addition of 20 percent of Seattle's admissions tax to the arts budget? Oh, wait--that was Mayor Schell's project.

Trapnell is leaving to take the position of managing director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, and as we wish her well, we also wish for more direct action from her successor, and promise to pay better attention. EMILY HALL


...And Revolves

The departure of Managing Director Melissa Hines from Empty Space Theatre is a significant event--particularly since Hines has been there for 24 years (the longest tenure of any administrator at any theater in Seattle). During this time she's worked with four different artistic directors and in four different performance spaces, providing continuity for a theater that's been through some extreme reinventions. While "managing director" is not as glamorous and sexy a title as "artistic director," managing directors (who are generally more in charge of the nuts, bolts, and budgets) are just as essential to the lifeblood of any arts organization. Luckily for Empty Space, Hines will continue to be a consultant for the organization and will join the board of directors.

"She's wonderful," said Allison Narver, the Empty Space's new artistic director. "If I really felt she was going away for good, I would feel desolate--the reason the Empty Space is still alive is due in large part to Melissa Hines." Looking to the future, Narver said, "I'm looking for a great partner, a kind of an entrepreneur with ambition; someone who thinks big and is courageous. I want us to become a center for the creation of plays and new forms of theater. To me it's not just about doing the plays, it's about new ways of working, and large theatrical events--working to expand the definition of what a theatrical experience is."

Meanwhile, Freehold Studio/Theatre Lab in Capitol Hill has just appointed a new managing director: Rebecca Sherr, who has formerly worked with Seattle Opera and Intiman Theatre. She will be working with Artistic Director Robin Lynn Smith in overseeing this combination school and theater. BRET FETZER


Weird Press Release of the Month

"Noted Northwest Artist Overcomes Loss of Eyesight to Paint Again": British-born Cecilia Todd continues to paint despite macular degeneration. According to this release, Todd used to show her work at Foster/White Gallery (home gallery to Dale Chihuly), and then turned to poetry when her eyesight became too poor to paint. But recently she has been inspired to paint again ("a tentative and tearful process"), turning out floral landscapes with kittens with enormous crossed eyes, which you can see at www.toddprints.com. Honestly--some people will send out a press release at the drop of a hat. EMILY HALL

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