Welcoming Larry Mizell Jr.

We are so happy to share the news that Larry Mizell Jr. is our new Digital Media Specialist for the Office of Arts & Culture! You may know Larry from his “My Philosophy” column in the The Stranger, and his Sunday night hip-hop show on KEXP. In addition he has worked social media for a number of musicians and projects, directed music videos and more. He’s going to bring a great skill set to our Office, and we’re thrilled to welcome him to the team.

In this position, Larry will promote and highlight the public benefit of the artistic expression found in the City of Seattle through digital projects. He has been advocating for Seattle arts for years and been instrumental in cultivating community online, founding popular local music forums and blogs. He is probably always listening to and thinking about music—but when not online, writing or DJing, he enjoys food, travel, being near water, and playing with his dog.

Welcome, Larry!



Exciting staff updates!

The Office of Arts & Culture has some exciting staff updates!

We are re-organizing how the public art team is structured, and shifting some roles and responsibilities. Jason Huff is now working as our Project Management lead, supervising the work of the project managers and working on project direction and development. Deborah Paine is the lead for the Collections Management team and is overseeing collections and conservation.

Calandra Childers is also assuming a newly created Deputy Director position. This position is necessary to meet the extended work we have taken on, and take advantage of the opportunities we have available to us. Calandra is being promoted from Communications Manager into this role, and as such will be taking on policy work and relationship building for the Office.

“Calandra is the right person for this role because she has a comprehensive understanding of the work of the office across teams and she has the ability to juggle and be responsive to a diverse set of internal and external requests,” said Randy Engstrom, director.

“I’m thrilled to be stepping into this role – I can’t imagine a more exciting place to be working than at the junction of arts and culture and policy. Artists and creative workers give Seattle its vibrancy and we must support their presence in order to support our city,” said Childers.

Congrats to all staff members!

In remembrance: Rolon Bert Garner

Sadly, Seattle lost another  art icon this week with the death of Rolon Bert Garner; he was 75. Garner attended the Museum Art School in Portland and was founder and visual arts director for the Seattle Bumbershoot summer arts festival and for many years was arts director of the historic Two Bells Tavern in Seattle. He was also a former curator with the Seattle Art Museum and co-founder of Art Tech. Garner served as a commissioner on the Washington State Arts Commission and worked with the Seattle Arts Commission. He also taught in western Washington and Oregon.

While Garner has passed, his legacy and artwork lives on. In Seattle, located along a trail in Sturgus Park on Beacon Hill, the artwork Equality was created by Garner and Ken Leback in 1996. The granite, bronze and poured concrete Equality features 35 granite houses, sitting in a grid on dark gray, polished granite pavers. Facing the 35 houses is a circular path encompassing a grass berm on which sits a concrete pillar topped by one more house. Among the houses in the grid, where a 36th house would stand, there is a space with a plaque bearing a quotation from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America:

Providence has not created mankind entirely free. It is true that around every man a fatal circle is traced beyond which he cannot pass, but within the wide verge of that circle he is powerful and free; as it is with man, so with communities. The nations of our time cannot prevent the conditions of men from becoming equal, but it depends upon themselves whether the principle of equality is to lead them to servitude or to freedom, to knowledge or barbarism, to prosperity or wretchedness.

Equality was funded by Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art (formerly Water Department 1% for Art) funds.

IMAGES: Rolon Bert Garner and Ken Leback, Equality, 1996, granite, bronze, poured concrete. Located at Sturgus Avenue South, east of the 12th Ave South bridge and Pacific Health Hospital, northeastern edge of Beacon Hill.

Congratulations, Kristen!

A cyclists zips through the Burke-Gilman Trail’s cavernous “Ebb and Flow” mural, located in Bothell, under 96th Avenue NE.

We are thrilled to learn that our own Kristen Ramirez has been honored with an Americans for the Arts Year in Review award for her Wayne Tunnel project on the Burke-Gilman Trail, completed under the guidance of 4Culture. Ramirez, a Public Art Project Manager in the Office of Arts & Culture, is also an artist. Ramirez activated the Wayne Tunnel with a site responsive mural, Ebb & Flow. Transforming this gateway between communities and natural landmarks with an immersive experience of color and light,  Ebb & Flow combines blasts of bright yellow, orange, pink, and purple, representing the flora and the fauna of the region. The tunnel’s own architecture is used to make a playful kaleidoscope for trail users to enjoy.


Artist Kristen Ramirez was just presented with an Americans for the Arts Year in Review award for “Ebb and Flow”

Prior to joining the Office of Arts & Culture, Kristen worked at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle in a variety of capacities including: Art Faculty, Manager of Summer & External Programs, and Manager of Academic and Community Engagement. Kristen has also taught at the University of Washington, Tacoma Museum of Glass, Pratt Fine Arts Center, Edmonds Community College, and Path with Art, a non-profit that serves adults in recovery. In addition to teaching, Kristen is an artist, whose artwork explores many media, including printmaking, drawing, painting, installation and public art. Her work is often about place, conjuring an affection for disorienting urban/suburban places by appropriating signs and symbols of commerce. Her studio practice takes her increasingly into the public realm through community-based projects and murals. Ramirez earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz, a MA in Education and California Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University, and a MFA in Printmaking from the University of Washington.


Congratulations, Kristen!


Photo (top): Ebb & Flow, 2014, Photo © Ken Lambert, The Seattle Times

Photo (bottom): Kristen Ramirez in front of Ebb & Flow, 2014. Photo © Bob Suh

Duwamish Revealed, A summer celebration of Seattle’s only river

A creative celebration of Seattle’s only river
June 1 – September 30, 2015

Duwamish Revealed is a series of outdoor art installations, performances, community activities and other adventures to celebrate the Duwamish River. Supported in part by the Office of Arts & Culture, the celebration kicks off this Friday, June 5 from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Estutuary, 4651 Diagonal Ave. S.

There will be activities for everyone the whole summer, for more information visit: http://www.duwamishrevealed.com/