Mollie Bryan’s 15-year dream to open a “creative event space” finally has come to fruition with Mokedo. The former hospitality director for Decibel Festival and accomplished visual artist is holding Mokedo’s grand opening Saturday, October 22. Her mission is to promote “progressive arts and music, one sine wave at a time.”
Set off from Airport Way South and abutting I-5, Mokedo’s a 1,500-square-foot space tucked discreetly in Sodo’s industrial zone, which makes it conducive to afterhours electronic-music events—something Bryan intends to take full advantage of. For example, Mokedo’s upcoming schedule includes the SWAY Optic Echo Tour on November 11 featuring ambient artists such as wndfrm, the OO-Ray, Mike Jedlicka, and Mark Henrickson. Then on November 19, Amsterdam-based techno duo Juju & Jordash will make a rare Northwest appearance, bringing their cerebral, euphoric dance music (it's an invitation-only event). That’s a huge coup for a new venue.
Bryan opened Mokedo—the name derives from an old nickname from Bryan's ’90s rave days ("Mokey") and from what she dubs "the best Fraggle out of Fraggle Rock... The compassionate philosopher of the Fraggles."—with help from investor Srujan Behuria, a “super-cool” Amazon employee who’s also a long-time patron of Bryan’s art. “All the money I pay back to him will go into an account where he's donating that to another artist,” Bryan says. “So he's kind of fueling the artist community. He's one of those quiet techno heads who's always in the back [whom] you never really notice too much.”
Before she could support herself with her art and before Mokedo, Bryan built large-scale art shows for the Northwest Art Alliance's the Best of the Northwest for the last three years. NAA laid her off because, she says, “they became a non-profit that didn't have as much profit. I took that opportunity to focus on my own art and it started to sell. Then Lusio: A Night to Awaken [a light art festival held July 30 this year in Volunteer Park] came about and that turned out magical and wonderful. It all kind of snowballed.”
In her 20s, Bryan, now 36, envisioned opening a book/record/coffee shop, with events on the weekends. The Mokedo concept’s morphed into a gallery/“creative events space,” which she intentionally wants to be vague, “so I'm not bound by any labels as to what the space will or needs to be. Right now it's a wonderful blank canvas and will grow organically as I see what works, what the community needs, and how we can all work together to use this space to create and promote the arts.”
Bryan’s primarily interested in promoting high-quality electronic music and also increasing “awareness and [creating] space for light art and the light artists in Seattle. There is something wonderful that happens to your brain when you combine sound and light in a cohesive way that is so beneficial for the soul.”
She saw a dearth of opportunities for light artists to display their work, save for places like Burning Man, a situation that spurred her to produce Lusio. “I had the SAAM building projection mapped onto for Lusio and that was the first time that has ever happened—which in my humble opinion is SUPER weird. In other cities, like Montreal, for example, they projection map onto babies for fun. I'm just kidding, maybe not on babies, but it's very common to see it used as an art format in parks, symphonies, or for educational purposes. Seattle is such a technology-driven city, but for some reason its art scene has just started to catch up. I want to help change that with opportunities, exposure, and education for light artists—and other artists, too, of course.”
As for the future, Bryan has an open call for artists and for show proposals on Mokedo’s website, as she looks to construct a substantial artist roster and conceive “unique and interesting” art events for 2017. She’ll also be hosting the Conclave Series with musicians and entrepreneurs like Patchwerks’ Cindy Reichel and Further Records’ Chloe Harris (aka Raica); the series combines synthesizer workshops along with ambient-music performances.
Bryan also hopes to hold Modular on the Spot events this winter and offer a “non-gender-specific clothing exchange where the leftovers get donated to the homeless. A Mom and Dad Day Rave where parents can bring their children to a space to dance to good music during the day time while socializing their kids. A Modular Kids workshop where kids can come and check out modulars and synths. A vinyl exchange program, kids art classes, VJ-intensive weekend course, pop-up markets, LED workshops, performance art,” and other creative events.
Mokedo will also harbor FnS, Bryan’s alter-ego event company that produced "Lusio: A Night to Awaken” last July. She’s also organizing "The Sylvan Series," that will happen inside the Volunteer Park Conservatory over four months. She would like to move Lusio to a different neighborhood, possibly Rainier Beach’s Kabuto Garden.
With Mokedo, Bryan wants to cultivate an atmosphere where egos and ulterior motives have no place. “I think it'll be really good for the community. I think people are going to use this space very wisely and in really cool, creative ways.”