People often use words like "energetic" and "innovative" to describe Rhonda Howard and Rebecca Richards of the newly minted organization THREAD for ART. If Fashion Is Art, this summer's Bumbershoot and subsequent storefront-window exhibition that included a fashion runway show and a catalogue, is any indicator of things to come, we have a lot to look forward to.

Artists Yuki Nakamura and Claudia Fitch initially approached THREAD with the idea to put together an exhibition of artist-made clothing. True to the spirit evidenced by their work on the 2002 LAVA exhibition catalogue, Howard and Richards took it, first one step further, then about a thousand miles more. Over the course of a few months, they seized opportunities at every turn and exploded the exhibition to encompass the city.

At a time when major institutions are shuttering their doors (night-night, BAM) and artists have become jaded by the disappearance of nongovernmental organizations promising to support their work (RIP, Fuse Foundation), THREAD looks for free, alternative exhibition spaces and serves emerging artists with the skills they already have.

Richards' and Howard's combined curatorial and graphic-design backgrounds allow THREAD's services to range and encompass the most crucial aspects of showing and selling art, and perhaps their most important work is co-producing exhibition catalogues (LAVA, Robert Yoder's abfall, and Fashion Is Art), which is rare for institutions, much less galleries or small organizations. As the arts community continues to struggle against a rising tide of increasing poverty, THREAD's combined for-profit and nonprofit business model should create a sustainable revenue stream so it can continue doing what it does best by supporting art where it's most needed--the artist. KATIE J. KURTZ

Since 1994, Subtext, which currently has six primary members and is based at Richard Hugo House, has been running a respectable reading series that matches serious writers from New York City, San Francisco, Vancouver BC, and other big cities in North America with local serious writers. Subtext is the real deal; it does not fool around. It has established a distinct direction, ambition, and aesthetic. The collective invites poets and novelists whose works reflect the group's central preoccupation: experimenting with language at every imaginable level (the word, the sentence, the letter). Though successful and dedicated, Subtext has not received the exposure and reward it deserves for its significant contribution to Seattle's literary scene. Without Subtext, our city would be a lonely place for intelligent writers. CHARLES MUDEDE

What would Seattle be like without the North-west Film Forum? This is a cruel question, for without it, Seattle's film community and its very film identity would be severely crippled--not a pretty scenario, by any means. Founded in 1995 by Jamie Hook and Debbie Girdwood (full disclosure: Hook is our former film editor; Girdwood is one of the nicest people we know), built by tireless employees and scores of volunteers, the nonprofit NWFF is a jewel for Seattle; from its classes on film artistry, to its screenings of rare and underappreciated works (at the Grand Illusion and Little Theatre), to its actual film production (through WigglyWorld Studios), Hook and Girdwood's creation has bloomed into the driving force for cinema in Seattle. Next year NWFF has three films--Hedda Gabler, Buffalo Bill's Defunct, and Police Beat--that it will be releasing under its "Start to Finish" program, and which will surely add to the prominence of its position. BRADLEY STEINBACHER