City Council Member Margaret Pageler used a parliamentary maneuver last week to try to forestall expansion of the city's One-Percent-for-Arts program. Pageler's move comes in the wake of calls from the Mayor's task force on the arts, Mayor Schell himself, and Allied Arts' Constitution for the Arts to increase and expand the program, which devotes a percentage of all city construction budgets to art. Pageler's weapon is a Budget Guidance Statement, or BUG: an understanding agreed on by the council before entering the next budgeting cycle. Pageler submitted two BUGs to the current council that would inhibit next year's council from looking into increased percent-for-arts funding; both BUGs passed last Tuesday, with two lame-duck councilmembers (Podlodowski and Donaldson) voting for them.

On the other side of the vote was the white-guy bloc of Conlin, Steinbrueck, and Licata, often the minority votes on cultural and urban planning legislation--along with new white guy Jim Compton, who got his first pro-arts votes under his belt after running as a pro-arts candidate.

In any case, the next council is unlikely to hold itself to Pageler's strictures. BUGs aren't legally binding, though they're traditionally adhered to, and two new council members, Heidi Wills and Judy Nicastro, made campaign promises to look into expanding percent-for-arts funding. Joined with the four members who voted against Pageler's BUGs, that could be a strong pro-arts majority.

Case in point: On the same day as Pageler's move, Nick Licata introduced another BUG, calling for the council to look into extending percent-for-arts rules to public-private partnerships, which would make for a much larger pie. It passed easily.

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Artists are getting kicked out of Pioneer Square studios on a regular basis, and despite a couple of new studio developments in the Ballard/Fremont area and the International District, there's not a lot of extra space to absorb them. Artists willing to make a long-term financial commitment to their careers should look into Arts and Lofts, a new condominium project planned to begin construction in late 2000 on a couple of blocks in the International District, just east of Rainier Avenue.

The renderings I've seen look more like a chic Green Lake condo than a chic converted warehouse, but the units are swell, with huge windows, 12-foot ceilings in the work area, and lower-ceilinged kitchens and sleeping areas. Around two-thirds of the condos will be available and affordable to low-income artists (people who make 50 to 80 percent of Seattle's median income--up to $21,900 for one person and $38,250 for a two-person household). The rest of the building, including market-rate lofts and commercial/work spaces, will be sold at market rate to people who promise not to complain about living in a working artists' building.

For more info, go to, e-mail, or call 762-5324, ext 110.

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A frustrating aspect of Frank Gehry's buildings is how hard they are to understand when referring to typical documentary materials: photos, models, plans. I've seen all of those in the case of Gehry's much-lauded design for the Guggenheim Bilbao, but I could barely tell you how it all fits together (though seeing the model on display at the uptown New York Guggenheim a couple of years ago helped). To the rescue is the new Bond movie, The World Is Not Enough, which sets its pre-credits action sequence in the Spanish museum. This may mark the first time I've gone to see a movie solely for its location.

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