Upcoming gallery shows in Seattle

With more than five million square feet of cultural space in Seattle, it can be overwhelming to track all the art, shows and experiences that this city provides. To make things a little more manageable, we have curated a short list of gallery shows this season (January-March) that we’re looking forward to:

Aurora Commons Community Show

Core Gallery

January 1-31

Aurora Commons is a group that’s dedicated to supporting the underserved neighborhood surrounding Aurora. It provides a place where people can find coffee, a meal, books, a computer, or a nice place to sit down for a while. This show will feature artwork made by visitors to the Commons.


Seattle Municipal Tower

January 6 – April 2

This show will highlight paintings, drawings, sculpture, and photographs from the City’s collection featuring artists who explore the nuances and variations of one color or shades of one color.


The Incredible Intensity of Just Being Human: Mental Illness Explored through Art

Seattle City Hall

January 7 – February 27

In The Incredible Intensity of Just Being Human, curator and artist Kate Vrijmoet, along with contributing artists June Sekiguchi, Holly Ballard Martz, Ezra Dickinson, Valaree Cox, Ann Teplick, John William Keedy, and Lynn Schirmer, shed light on the effect mental illness has on individuals and their loved ones. Innovation and surprise are their methods, for they intend viewers to see the subject—from the personal to the societal—anew. Catch me when I fall by Holly Martz. Photo by Cameron Nagashima.

Artists in Situ by Maylee Noah

Gallery 110

January 8-24

Beyond conveying a simple likeness, Maylee Noah’s photographic portraits of artists in their studios show elements of their inspirations and inventions as she explores the diverse and complex nature of the artistic process.

Untitled by Ken Kelly


January 8 – 29, 2015

Untitled, Ken Kelly’s latest series, consists of five large-scale canvases – bold, abstractions of explosive color and sumptuous texture. These works revisit the more immediate, less cerebral approach to painting that marked Ken Kelly’s early career. “Eyes and Ears” by Ken Kelly



Sharon Egretta Sutton: City Living On and Off the Grid

Ethnic Heritage Gallery

January 14 – April 13, 2015

Orthogonal grids are ubiquitous in the cityscape. Right angles appear in the layout of streets, in the materials of building facades, in the seating of restaurants, in the books of libraries, and even in the mobile devices of urbanites. Grids are efficient because orthogonal elements can be easily stacked, multiplied, and substituted one for the other; they can be excitingly elegant or boringly graceless. The images in this show are explorations in the exciting elegance of grids. CROSSING THE RAILROAD TRACKS— IN WINTER’S STORM (B) by Sharon Egretta Sutton. 

Juan Alonso-Rodríguez: MY SWIMMING POOL

Seattle Presents

January 19 — March 20, 2015

“I recently had a dream my job was designing swimming pools based on my client’s favorite shapes and colors, so I’ve decided to temporarily make that dream come true.

I will be asking for simple drawings of what you (willing participants) would imagine your ideal swimming pool to look like and will create various sized paintings based on the audience’s input. The finished paintings will gradually fill the walls of the gallery.” – Juan Alonso-Rodriguez

Pendleton House Responds to Ann Hamilton

Gage Academy of the Arts, Steele Gallery

January 29 – February 27

Provoking curiosity, stimulating the senses and expanding boundaries, Pendleton House brings their unique vision to the Steele Gallery at Gage, in honor of and in response to the Ann Hamilton exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery.

Tariqa Waters solo show

2312 Gallery

February 3-28

“Nothin’ but blasphemous, iconoclastic fun.”


Check out a bunch of this art (and more!), all at once! Here is a list of the neighborhoods that participate in monthly art walks, and when each occurs, thanks to Art Guide NW.

If you would like your gallery show on our next list, please email us at arts.culture@seattle.gov with the subject line: Gallery Blog Addition, or tweet us at @SeaOfficeofArts

Scott Trimble selected for Seattle City Light service center commission

The Office of Arts & Culture is excited to announce that Seattle artist W. Scott Trimble has been commissioned for a project at the Seattle City Light North Service Center. He will work with Seattle City Light and the local community to create two or more artworks at the facility, located at 1300 North 97th Street in the Licton Springs neighborhood. For this commission Trimble will consider opportunities that reflect the business of City Light, the history of Licton Springs (including the natural springs and their historic use by local indigenous peoples), and the community’s environmental values.

From an early age W. Scott Trimble has drawn, designed and created with whatever resources were at hand. He has a special interest in working with materials and processes to create artwork that is accessible, interactive and presents a narrative. Trimble has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spatial Arts from San Jose State University and a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of Washington, and has exhibited at a number of spaces including Bellevue Arts Museum, Greg Kucera Gallery, Schneider Museum, 4Culture Gallery and Soil Gallery. He has also received several GAP grants through Artist Trust, an Individual Projects Grant from 4Culture, and has participated in artist residencies at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado; Jentel in Banner, Wyoming; Lucas Arts Residency in Montalvo, California; and Bemis Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

Trimble is expected to develop the artwork in conjunction with the Annex building construction completion, tentatively set for fall 2015.

Image of previous work of W. Scott Trimble at PS240 New Settlement School in the Bronx, NY. 2012.  Photo courtesy of artist.


Peter Reiquam selected for Rainier Beach Square project

Seattle artist Peter Reiquam will create a new public artwork in the Rainier Beach neighborhood for the SDOT program Safe Routes to Schools. The Safe Routes to School construction project at this site was initiated by parents and neighbors of South Shore K-8 School. Reiquam lived in the Rainier Beach neighborhood for over 15 years before relocating to his current residence and studio in Georgetown.

As a program of Seattle Department of Transportation, Safe Routes to School aims to make safety improvements on the walking and biking route to school, and to encourage more students to walk and bike safely to school. This particular Safe Route at Rainier Beach is a response to community interests in improving pedestrian safety and traffic calming, while also creating a defining gateway feature that announces one’s arrival at the heart of the Rainier Beach neighborhood. Further improvements to Rainier Avenue will include flashing school-zone lights, pedestrian lighting, curb bulbs, and a traffic island.

Peter Reiquam is a Seattle-based artist who has been creating public works for over 20 years. His site-integrated works often include furniture or use a stylized representation of familiar objects as a device for viewer interaction. His artworks are often both functional as well as imbued with a conceptual narrative. Peter received his MFA in sculpture from Yale University in 1984 and has completed public art commissions for the Washington State Arts Commission, the City of Kent, Sound Transit, the City of Seattle and other locations nationally.


Pictured: A previous work by Peter Reiquam: “Nine Lives” at Fire Station 9 in Fremont, Seattle. Photo by Benjamin Benschneider.

The Listening Loop

By Matthew Richter, Cultural Space Liaison

It is the responsibility of those in power to listen to those without power. (See Moscow 1917, or Boston 1773, or Cairo 2011, for examples of alternatives to listening.) Nonprofit arts organizations would do well to learn the lessons of centuries of deaf political power structures. There are too many cautionary tales, some of them local and contemporary, to ignore. The death of a regional nonprofit theater might not make international news, but with the addition of a simple internal feedback loop, these deaths could be easily avoided.

Recently I had the pleasure of hosting Shitstorm 2014, an open-to-the-public but under-a-cone-of-silence conversation with artists and arts professionals designed to facilitate a freeform open flow of ideas. Shitstorm seeks to avoid the formality and politeness of a panel discussion and feel more like the argument at the bar after the panel discussion.

This iteration of the forum was called “See Something, Say Something” and was convened in the wake of the folding of Balagan Theatre and the wave of “I told you so” armchair quarterbacking that took place on social media in its wake.

The specifics of the Balagan implosion and the related dirty laundry don’t interest me, except to the degree that people in the room, people who worked for Balagan as actors, or stagehands, or volunteers, claimed to have attempted to connect to the power structure at the theater and were, for various reasons, not heard. The people who were doing the work of the theater perceived problems with the theater and found themselves unable to communicate those perceptions back to the theater.

This surfaced as a common thread in the room, not just with Balagan, but with other arts organizations as well, both large institutional and small fringe. Artists, volunteers, and low-on-the-ladder employees repeated the observation that the organizations they cared about were deaf to their criticism. These are the workers who drive these organizations, whose artistic and technical output are the work of the organizations, and those in control of the organizations (executive staff and board members) have no connection to them.

What amazed me about this was the degree to which these arts workers took the responsibility for being heard onto their own shoulders. I swear I heard the phrase “I kept trying to make myself heard” a dozen times. This is insane, completely backwards, and also unfortunately totally normal, par for the course. Those with the least political power in an organization should not be responsible for making themselves heard, and yet that’s the norm.

It’s not the responsibility of those without power to make themselves heard. It’s the responsibility of those with power to listen. They should do this for selfish, mercenary reasons based in a desire for self-preservation. Every organization should have a well-defined, easily-accessed, and functional “feedback loop” built into their hierarchy, connecting those at the top with those at the bottom (and every other level).

Every time a new cast sits down for a table-read, someone from the board or the executive staff should be there to present themselves as a liaison. At every volunteer orientation session, at every first meeting of a new class, at every first production meeting, the organization’s power structure (board or staff) has to be present to point to the organization’s ears. And in order for all of this to mean anything, those ears must be connected to the organization’s brain.

A functioning feedback loop does more than simply make the low rungs of the organizational ladder feel warm and fuzzy for feeling heard. It conveys often vital information through the organization, information that could have saved Balagan, information that could save the next.

Matthew Richter is the Cultural Space Liaison for the City of Seattle and can be reached at matthew.richter@seattle.gov

“Wind and Water” installed at Fire Station 20

At Interbay’s Fire Station 20, artist Rob Ley has installed Wind and Water, an artwork that represents these two classical elements. To create this piece, Ley spent time with the firefighters at this fire station, riding along with them on the job and discussing the nature of fire. It was during this time Ley learned about the delicate interplay between fire, wind and water that inspired this piece.

The artist created Wind and Water using over 100 one-inch stainless steel tubes and stands over 14 feet tall . The artist welded the steel strands -which are individually 10 to 14 feet long – together in a wave formation that brings to mind the flow of water or movement of the wind. The sculpture engages pedestrians walking by, frames the entrance to the building.

Rob Ley was selected in 2011 to create artwork for Fire Station 20. Hailing from Los Angeles, California, he is an artist trained as an architect who often creates multi-dimensional public artworks using sustainable materials. He founded Urbana Studio in 2002, which focuses on developing environments that respond to the human experience. He also has many public artworks across the country, including works in Los Angeles, New York City and Denver.

The Office of Arts & Culture commissioned Water and Wind with Department of Finance and Administrative Services Fire Facilities and Emergency Management Levy 1% for Art funds. Photos courtesy City of Seattle.