Jan. 22nd, 2009

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From Seattle Weekly, here.

Leaving aside the issue of grants and funding, maybe our current recession could be a good thing for the arts. Or at least for sites and venues owned by developers who can’t raise the money to raze or build on them. Look around Seattle, and you’ll see a lot of empty storefronts. Or as I envision them: future exhibition spaces. That’s the notion, too, at Burien Town Square, where planned condo construction has been delayed on a one-acre parking lot. There, for the next year, will sprout the Burien Interim Art Space, an outdoor sculpture garden being seeded with five large pieces this week.

In the future, say Kathy Justin and Dane Johnson, they hope more art and events will be added through community participation. For now, after a year’s volunteer effort, the two are acting as curators-with-a-backhoe, literally tearing up the pavement to create earthen pads for the sculptures. Most prominent among them will be the 30-foot-tall The Passage, by Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito, comprised of a five- and three-ton metal mother-and-child array (previously seen at Burning Man ’05). After being trucked up from Oakland, it’ll be hoisted into place Thursday by the condo builders next door. (A good partner to have in the joint venture, which also includes the City of Burien, expected to open its new city hall/library at the four-block, mixed-use Burien Town Square this April, with more arts events planned.)

Says Burien resident Johnson, “Seattle has its Olympic Sculpture Garden for its art superstars,” while this will be more DIY and inclusive. “There will be no ‘Don’t touch the art’ signs,” he adds. Fire performers, dancers, and music will attend the (snow-delayed) grand opening. After that, artists, new art, and volunteers are welcome.

The opening wil be this weekend from 3pm - 9pm, more details at Ignition NW's home page and at the Interim Art Space website.
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The B/IAS opening really needs some rain, so the flames in the performances and the art pieces are allowed. So, if you've got something rainwise, go for it.

It's been a long, long struggle to get this up, headlined by Dane and Kathy. This has been one of the chief efforts of Ignition NW for many moons, and I'm glad to see the day when its up and running and available to the public.

I'm happy to see that the efforts that all of the INW people put into this project over many years have paid off, and we get to see the increasing scale of the payoff this weekend.

Ideally, as the economic landscape lapses and then recovers, there will be more opportunity to do this sort of thing moving into the future.

December 2009

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