With this acquisition, and through the creation of the El Barrio Community Trust, the two groups will secure the permanent community ownership of the beloved historic cultural space known as the South Park Hall; the community-driven South Park Idea Lab (a co-working space for arts, cultural, and community groups in the neighborhood); and hyper-locally-owned microbusinesses such as Resistencia Coffee, Uncle Eddie’s Public House, South Town Pie, Tasty’s, T Kuttz, and Oswaldo’s Hair Salon. The acquisition also includes over 15,000 square feet of outdoor event space, which hosts community celebrations and markets.For the first time, South Park Hall will be owned by the predominately Latinx community it serves. The acquisition cost $5.8 million (or, as the release notes, "approximately one Steve Austin"), with $2.3 million coming from the city's Strategic Investment Fund. El Barrio plans to make the properties safer, seismically reinforcing them, increasing accessibility, as well as installing fire suppression sprinkler systems. On Saturday, June 18, there will be a ribbon-cutting celebration in South Park. I'll see you there!
The Henry Art Gallery has some new goodies: Today, the museum and University of Washington announced they acquired 348 works for their permanent collection over the past two years. Included are works by Chakaia Booker, Jacob Lawrence, Catherine Opie, Barbara Earl Thomas, Somaya Critchlow, Carrie Yamaoka (one of my favorite exhibitions I've ever written about), and Amanda Ross-Ho, many of whom have recently showed work at the Henry. In a press release, the museum stated they prioritize adding works from Black, Latinx, Indigenous, women, and queer artists into their 28,000 strong permanent collection. "Growing and diversifying the Henry’s collection is a top priority for us,” said Shamim Momin, the Henry's director of curatorial affairs. Check out the full recent acquisition list if you're into that kind of thing.
Winner winner chicken dinner: Museum of Museums' excellent and weird Cat Tower exhibition invited more than a dozen designers and artists to create their perfect version of a cat tower. Visitors were allowed to vote on their favorite by tossing plastic goldfish into a fishbowl (get it) with the winner getting $5,000 to donate to their animal shelter of choice. And after more than 6,000 votes, a champion has been named. Maija Fiebig's "Mirhaaaaanda" took home first, Gray Pants Studio's "Brutally Clawsome" came in second, and Shed Architecture's "Meowlith" and Nicola Vruwink's "Cat Power Cat Tower" (my favorite) tied for third. Congrats to all!
Say hello to Intiman Theatre's new managing director: Wesley Frugé is stepping into the job to lead the theater alongside Jennifer Zeyl, artistic director, and L.B. Morse, board chair. For three years, Frugé—whom you might recognize as the executive director of BeautyBoiz—served as Intiman's development and communications director where he raised over $2 million for the organization as well as shaped the theater's virtual presence and messaging. "Guided by Wesley’s ‘yes, and’ collaborative attitude and strategic mind, Intiman will continue to play our strongest hand well into our next evolution," said Zeyl in a press release announcing the news.
By the way: Go see Intiman's production of Two Mile Hollow while you're at it.
Mark your calendars: KEXP just announced KEXP50, a "community celebration" of the 50 years the beloved radio station has been in business. The free, all-ages event is going down on Saturday, August 6 at Seattle Center and will be host to "live performances, KEXP DJs broadcasting live from the Gathering Space, bar with ID, food trucks, unique opportunities for KEXP listeners to give their input about what the future should hold for KEXP." Nice! If you're reading this from out of state for some reason (please, tell me, what's the appeal), you could win a trip to KEXP for the fête.
The Washington Department of Commerce launches new Creatives Academy: It's a self-directed academy that is "[d]esigned to teach the essential skills needed to turn a creative pursuit into a successful small business." A colleague cynically commented that the state is just teaching people how to open up an Etsy, which is sort of what this sounds like, lol. In any case, it's a good resource for creative people to not get epically screwed by the tax man and make sure your business is profitable. Learn more about the program on the Creatives Academy website.
I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees...go to Belltown Bloom: On Friday and Saturday, the second edition of the festival run by Valerie and Veronica Topacio is taking over the Crocodile and Belltown Yacht Club. For more background on the fest, check out Natalie Vinh's Q&A with the Topacio sisters. The lineup looks hella stacked! I'm personally very excited for the croony headliner Alvvays as well as the indie stylings of Crumb. Other can't miss acts are Ex-Florist, Tres Leches, Lemon Boy, Black Ends, and Them. This event is going to be baller.